For Spring/Summer 2024, Johnathan Anderson taps into our inner child with his cabinet of curiosities
For Spring/Summer 2024, we return to the madcap world of Jonathan Anderson. As quickly as attendees could guess what the Irish-born designer had in store, a mind-bending look of animated proportions stepped out onto the runway. Was it leather? laminated cotton? Some entirely new fabrication? No, in fact, it was plasticine of all things, moulded into a grey hoodie and a pair of white shorts—pinched and shaded to perfection to mimic the slouchy contours of movement. Wearable? Not quite, but a nostalgic reminder of where creativity began for most of us.
Optical illusions are part of the craft for Anderson, who has been known to pull similar stunts in subverting otherwise quotidian wardrobe pieces. Take his outerwear made entirely of copper for Fall/Winter 2023 menswear or the paper tops with prints resembling knit cardigans for Loewe’s Fall/Winter 2023 show. Once again, we find ourselves refreshingly perplexed by the new ways he manages to obfuscate what we know about clothes and their appeal.
This collection was inspired by what Anderson was seeing on the streets. Pushed to find “the strangeness in the mundane”, he cast his whimsical eye over everyday looks. The cargo pants he spotted young people wearing everywhere showed up in this collection, blown up in size, swelling at the ankles with feathers bursting from the seams like they had been over-pumped. Roomy nylon bomber jackets got the same treatment, and sculpted leather motorcycle jackets were spliced with the top halves of hoodies in other double-take looks.
His knack for colour mixing proved as astute as ever in the padded vinyl pops of cerulean, orange and lemon yellow, reminiscent of DIY projects made from garbage bags—buoyant in the best way. Elsewhere from the playpen, Hula-hoops acted like misplaced crinoline at the front of knitted dresses, and even the trend that’s been everywhere this fashion month—decadent skirts—was present with an Anderson shake-up. For two looks, skirts pieced together with glittering strips of leather were woven chaotically like a child’s paper-mâché project. Absurdity never looked so good.
Accessories are always a winner at JW Anderson, and this season is no exception. For footwear, heeled mocassins, woven clogs and fisherman sandals brought balance and texture to looks, while bags were also on the simpler side. The ‘Bumper’ bag is reimagined, this time rendered in crochet, and a slouchy top-handle purse in bright leather hues features his signature exaggerated chain link.
With Anderson’s childlike imagination, we get raw creativity grounded in exceptional craftsmanship. And it’s the precision of his discretion for antics and artistry that makes up his unparalleled genius. How could anyone be anything but delighted by the painstaking work that goes into bringing us joy through fashion? As we’ve seen from both his work at Loewe and his eponymous line, there is something quite pure in the way he creates. The pipeline between inspiration and creation is daringly linear, and ambitiously exacted to great achievement every time.