Life, abstracted

JW Anderson FW24: nosy neighbours and grotesque shapes
By Barry Pierce | Fashion | 19 February 2024

“We wanted to do something a bit psychological this time,” Jonathan Anderson said backstage after his FW24 show, “This idea of the grotesque and the pragmatic.” Taking place in (where else?) a leisure centre near Marble Arch, Anderson eschewed his usual Roundhouse show for something a bit homelier. And it all made sense for the collection. 

Anderson spoke a lot about the idea of colloquialism in this collection, speaking of Britain as a collection of little unique pockets where one particular style may be utterly de rigueur, whilst in another it could be, in his own words, grotesque. He spoke of characters unique to Britain: the unkempt grey wigs were a tribute to the nosy neighbour, standing at the front door, slippers on foot and a fag in hand. It isn’t often that you hear a designer use the word grotesque quite as much as Jonathan Anderson did with this collection, but he used it in a way to comment on the purposeful wrongness of many of the silhouettes and cuts.

Take for example Look #11, the comically oversized grey coat that makes the wearer look like a small child wearing their dad’s coat, or Look #31 which featured woolly grey mittens, a hemless vest, cotton sweatpants with a cuff on only one leg and a pair of corduroy slippers on foot. These pieces all purposefully do not go together, but instead they convey this template of the grotesque that Anderson made the heart of the collection. You could see the person who would wear this exact outfit.

Elsewhere, such as in Looks #12-14, the idea of ribbons conveys that colloquial Britishness, of first-place rosettes and garlands around horses’ necks. And Anderson’s love of craft found its way into some huge knotted outfits (Looks #1 & 38).

For a collection that Anderson claimed was grotesque, you have to wonder how it all ended up looking so good. 

GALLERYCatwalk images from J.W. Anderson WOMENS-FALL-WINTER-24