It’s safe to say that Jonathan Anderson’s spring-summer 2023 menswear collection for Loewe was the most mind-blowing moment of the season. Fashion is on the brink of entering the Metaverse, and arguably our human consciousness is already fused with our digital devices: Jonathan Anderson marked the moment with an intriguing exploration around the subjects of perception, nature and progress. “A fusion of the organic and the fabricated,” he called it. On the one hand, part of his collection was seeded, watered and grown over 20 days in a polytunnel outside Paris. Chia plants and cat’s wort, living greenery, were made to sprout from trainers, tracksuit bottoms, jeans, coats. A collaboration which Anderson forged with the Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona. And on the other: there was Anderson, toying with manipulating tech and his set to make this physical show appear to be a non-real, computer-generated entity when viewed via his livestreamed video and lookbook. “I like this idea of high definition, the idea of that you remove everything away from the clothing, and it becomes about silhouette,” he said in his backstage debrief. When you could drag your eyes away from the fascination of boggling at how Anderson had pulled off the verdant decoration, all was simplicity and clarity. Luxurious leather coats and hoodies, sometimes minimally tailored, and sometimes exaggeratedly puffed up. His ultra-desirable oversized sweaters, teamed with second-skin sport tights. Iterations of Loewe Puzzle bags, utilitarian cross-body and basket totes, dangling on logo ribbons: all of the above underscored his enormously successful talent at focussing on desirable items for the house of Loewe.
There was more to this picture than that, though: the ones who walked down the white, metaversial slope of the set with wraparound masks, or coats and T-shirts implanted with screens playing videos of people kissing, flocks of birds at sunset, tropical fish, flowers and winking eyes. “When you’re sitting on a train or in a cafe, everyone is looking at the screen,” said Anderson. “And in weird way, I was fascinated by this idea. What happens when a screen becomes the face?” At its best, stirring up cultural discussion is the job that fashion can take on. Anderson’s show and the waves it will make do just that. What he presented was less of a judgment than a question, though. “I think we should have a place to be able to talk about these things constructively,” he said. Pitting nature against tech isn’t a forward-thinking formula, as far as he sees it: “Maybe out of this through we can find progression somehow.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.