JW Anderson Spring 2024 Men's Fashion Show

JW Anderson

Spring 2024 Men's Fashion Show Review

Review of JW Anderson Spring 2024 Men’s Fashion Show

Jonathan Anderson’s Weird World

By Mark Wittmer

JW Anderson is asking the real questions, like: “what if there was a cardigan but weird?” And the answer is that it would look pretty good.

The designer’s Spring 2024 men’s collection (though it was a co-ed presentation that definitely embraced non-binary attitudes) continued his exploration of reductionism, surrealism, and material experimentation.

It’s both a compliment and a criticism that one can kind of know what a JW Anderson show is going to look like before one sees it. On the one hand, that means a strong brand identity and design vision, but on the other it means that there aren’t too many surprises; even if we don’t know what the exact quirks and twists will be, we know there will be quirks and twists.

But it’s these unguessable quirks and twists that keep us coming back. This season, eccentric spring knitwear came to the fore. Triangles cut out of sweaters render them cardigan-esque, sleeveless knit tops are made of labyrinthine interlinking panels, knit dresses have bulbous tubes that seem to spiral up the body. A few pieces might be better categorized as un-knitwear, seeing as they are actually composed of connected balls of yarn – a clever, almost dadaist moment.

Once again things are pared back and reductive, and this time there are no random symbols like frogs or tomatoes to try to interpret, with the garment construction itself doing the cryptic communication. Most looks mostly consist of just two pieces (not including funky shoes and an occasional bag), allowing the jutting panel of the shorts or the shimmering quality of the material to confront our eyes.

Anderson seems to be reaping the benefits of overseeing the Loewe’s leather working mastery, and here it was put to unconventionally delicate use in cloud-like mini mini dresses or the final dress that featured a chaotically but impeccably bunched skirt.

While what we saw on the runway is reductionist and singular, existing in a kind of surrealist bubble of its own, the street-style scene outside of the show provides an intriguing counterpoint in JW Anderson’s fashion dialogue. There, outside of the designer’s direct control, his eccentric vision takes on new life as it is incorporated into the expressive wardrobes of his many fans, each of whom has their own take on what the brand means in their hands (which does have something to do with how what the brand actually sells can sometimes differ quite a bit from what’s on the runway).

An experience of the surreal must always end with a return to the surreal, but as a JW Anderson show goes to show, these two sides need each other to have meaning. Injecting strangeness into everyday clothing categories, JW Anderson then joyfully releases this clothing back into the world, inviting us to confront the strangeness therein.