Jonathan Anderson likes to make shapes. He's said so many times, and previous J.W. Anderson collections have borne out his avowed obsession with creating new silhouettes and proportions. At times, Anderson's talk about shapes has come off a bit disingenuous—a way of ducking chat about the complex semiotics of his clothes. This season, though, making shapes really did seem to be the point. And the collection was less powerful for it.

That's not to say there weren't some very forceful looks here. The group of corduroy skirts and turtlenecks, with sculpted sleeves and built-in bustiers, got this show off to a strong start. The triumvirate of funnel-neck tops and long skirts that followed kept up the momentum. But there were also more than a few looks that felt atypically aimless—as though Anderson had stopped at a rather arbitrary point in his experiments with contortion and said, "Well, good enough." To wit, the long dresses with a bit of twisted shearling about the top, or the drop-waist dresses with folded collars. You just weren't sure what woman Anderson was seeing, or what story he was telling, with these clothes.

Which raises a larger question about Anderson's MO. In future seasons, it would be nice to see him working with the female form a little more than he has of late, rather than resisting it so much. There does come a point when tortured silhouettes make you wonder how a designer feels about the women he's meant to be dressing. In some ways, this was one of Anderson's warmest collections; there was an earthiness to the textures that was welcome. But in other respects, this collection seemed so detached and so all about shape-making, it felt a little cold.