“Dressing to impress—I think that’s an exciting thing,” Jonathan Anderson declared backstage of his latest Loewe show. “Looking at building new types of silhouettes that can work in an abstract way. Trying to take a risk, maybe in my own self.” Taking risks is a trouble for many designers in Paris, so it’s great to see at least someone addressing that. What he began with – the volumized “entrance-making” shapes he showed in his JW Anderson collection in London – was followed through with inspirational conviction at Loewe. The collection at some points looked odd, but in a good, refreshing way. This line-up wasn’t obvious. What were these brocade dresses, gathered by Takuro Kuwata’s ceramic works? How to capture the shoulder-extending device from which caped-back sleeves were suspended? Anderson said he didn’t quite know exactly how he’d arrived at those ideas. “But sometimes it’s nice to feel vulnerable when you’re doing a collection – that you don’t know what the outcome is going to be before you start.” In pushing across the frontiers of the norm, Anderson relies partly on spontaneous curation. “Exaggerating by illusion” is one way he described the process. Yet the thing about Anderson is that his creative push is also part of his incredibly prescient long-term strategy to turn Loewe into what he’s called “a cultural brand” (he’s reconstructed it into a fashion home for the art-owning and gallery-going international clientele). This as well gets reflected in Jonathan’s fashion. Echoes of 17th century Spanish art – especially Zurburan and Velasquez – come in the subtle Spanish semiotics Anderson embeded in the collection. Maybe there was a hint of flamenco in the raw-edge tiers in a gray flannel coat and the triple-fluted sparkle-dusted sleeves of a ribbed-knit dress. But then, some of the dresses had volumes that made you think of medieval-wear we know from miniature illustrations.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.