Stationed as if exhausted from an energetic rugby match, shirts askew and socks wrinkled, three mannequins sit inside a locker room at Bloomingdale’s, Dubai. The immersive installation – the first pop-up retail activation for London-based luxury fashion brand JW Anderson in the UAE – celebrates the launch of the label’s Pol Anglada menswear collection. This encompasses ready-to-wear, bags and accessories, featuring digitally-printed colour pencil illustrations of rugby players, drawn by artist Pol Anglada.
Inside the Middle Eastern outpost of the luxury department store, black-and-white tiled walls and pillars evoke the interior of a traditional British rugby club locker room and also complement Bloomingdale’s signature checkered colour palette. Mannequins enjoy their post-pitch downtime, surrounded by pieces from the JW Anderson x Pol Anglada collection, like polo-shirts, running shorts and hoodies, which hang above their heads on pegs. Bags and accessories, including shoppers and pouches, are positioned on steps beneath. Two ‘JW Anderson’ neon signs stand on pillars, a nod to the most distinctive element of the brand’s shopfront at its flagship boutique in London’s Soho.
Twelve graphic vinyls of Anglada’s original drawings are also showcased on the reverse of the locker room’s pillars. They mark the artist’s second collaboration with JW Anderson. In vivid tones, players sport gum shields, head guards and bruising skin. Across these columns, muscular bodies entwine in scrums, legs and hands are wrapped in protective tape and rugby balls are clutched tightly to the chest.
JW Anderson x Pol Anglada is on view at Bloomingdale’s, Dubai, from 19 January-20 February 2022.