“We have to start loving fashion again,” Anderson declared. “We don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring. So let’s enjoy it!” The best antidote for a crisis is escaping it – to the fullest. So just like this, Loewe‘s Jonathan Anderson came up with one of the season’s best collections, which is all about boldness, creativity and craftsmanship. Also, it’s fashion being fashion. Simply speaking: extraordinary! Just one glance at the exuberant, freewheeling gestures of the women in action in the Loewe spring-summer 2021 look book sends that sensation surging back. From the clothes’ voluminous playfulness to the active involvement of 16 intergenerational women right through to the intricate handwork in the pieces, this was Anderson’s great big blowing up of all the creative limitations that threaten to drive fashion back to dullness in these dark times. “We were all in confinement when we were doing this. We had huge issues getting fabrics, so we used what we had. My brief was: Just make your fantasy of what you want! It was a massive team effort. Each look is to show craft and fashion.” There are mind-spinning, multidisciplinary, multi-platformed layers to unpack here. In a tangible sense, the Show-on-the-Wall was delivered as a kit of life-size posters, with a roll of art-printed wallpaper commissioned from Anthea Hamilton, a pair of scissors, wallpaper paste, and a brush. Hamilton is there as one of Anderson’s poster women, striking a semi-martial-arts pose in a puffy white dress ruched up with parachute tape. The video artist Hilary Lloyd, who collaborated with Anderson for a men’s Loewe show a few seasons ago, and the painter Jadé Fadojutimi both swirl in generously layered black taffeta trapeze dresses. Others portrayed wear pieces that evoke Spanish and Dutch Old masters – a theme Anderson has been interested in for a while – in crisp scalloped-edge broderie anglaise dresses with wires sewn into the collars and skirts. A huge padded and ruched under-pannier is seen through a black chiffon overskirt. Those garments speak volumes about women taking up space in the world. “Poetic armor,” Anderson called it, the idea of “escaping into clothes.” He also talked about “rethinking the models” of fashion – a comment you can take to mean both the expanded inclusivity in this season’s casting and the way he is remaking the Loewe business model to act as a “cultural brand.” Integral to that is the focus Anderson trains on the craft culture of the house and the seamless, socially conscious interconnections he makes with contemporary art and artists. “Through this entire year, the idea of craft and making has never been more crucial,” he says. “It engages with people. It shows responsibility and protection of things that people are forgetting are important in this industry. It employs people and ultimately is about the legacy that we pass from generation to generation.” Summing up, Jonathan Anderson is a genius.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.