Men’s – Rave, Club, Have Fun. Loewe SS22

Jonathan Anderson‘s message for spring-summer 2022 is the following: go out, go clubbing, go raving, dance, have fun! And we listen. Inspired by the joy of nightlife and the freedom of club culture, his ecstatic new collection for Loewe is shot by David Sims and presented in book alongside a sister publication featuring the work of artist Florian Krewer. This season, shapes are both abstract and straightforward, meanwhile colours explode in a riot of saturated hues, high octane neons and acrylic shades. Sports-inspired pragmatism meets fluid forms, setting a party-ready, swinging tone. It’s clear it’s the menswear season of delightful hedonism (just take a look at the cosmic hippies by Rick Owens) – a sort of post-lockdown revenge, with a spiritual, even esoteric twist.

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Be Who You Are. JW Anderson SS22

Partly digital, partly physical, men’s Paris Fashion Week starts today. The JW Anderson spring-summer 2022 (and women’s resort 2022) look-book was shot by Juergen Teller, who perfectly captured what’s on Jonathan Anderson‘ mind this season. “Caught in the moment, when sexuality awakens. There is palpable ambiguity, and provocative wrongness, to his dressing choices“, Anderson described the guy he pictures in this playful, bold offering. The collection hits a juvenile note with colourful and hedonistic clothing as a mean of self-expression that blur the lines between stay-at-home, sports and club dressing: “The kind of glorification of being who you are or what want to be: the idea of privacy of the individual“. The line-up’s instant must-have? All the strawberry knitwear, for both him and her. The designer looks forward to full re-emergence, and is clearly ready to celebrate the good days that are coming!

All collages by Edward Kanarecki. Look-book photos by Juergen Teller for JW Anderson.

Fabulously Eccentric. Loewe AW21

Last season, Jonathan Anderson went for a small collection of ‘un-commercial’, couture-esque dresses and full skirts. For autumn-winter 2021, his Loewe has more of the ‘ready-to-wear’ aspect, yet it still has that signature, fabulously-eccentric-lady style. It’s all about bold colours and mood-changing zigzaggy prints here; the curiosity of avant-garde shapes; perfectly placed, succulently colorful accessories; and what Danielle Steel is feeling about fashion. Say what? Go to Loewe’s website, and there, to be sure, you’ll hear the world’s best-selling novelist in a podcast with Anderson. This is “the ‘why not?’ era,” she remarks. “I’m much more into fun things now…. I like silly stuff. I guess I get more eccentric as I get older…. Life is serious enough!” The collaboration with Steel came about through Anderson’s connection with her daughter Vanessa Traina. In a continuation of his printed-matter lockdown show alternatives, he came up with a Loewe newspaper, within which is a trail of the first chapter of Steel’s new novel, The Affair. Neatly enough, it’s a tale about a New York fashion editor in chief. The paper, with all the pictures of the Loewe collection, is “being distributed to a million readers” including readers of The New York Times, Le Monde, and Le Figaro. In other words, it’s time to embrace the fun and euphoria of fashion again – or at least to be able to imagine ourselves into the time when we can. “As much as people always see the cynical in luxury fashion, there’s something in it that releases endorphins that make you feel good,” Anderson said in a Zoom call with Vogue. For the shoot, he rolled out the yellow carpet in Paris at the Le Train Bleu restaurant, his own office at Loewe, and a private members’ club off the Champs-Élysées. Elaborate settings for Anderson’s skilled composition of bold silhouettes, his subtly wearable pieces and a gamut of bags and shoes that deliver quirk to the adventurous and classicism to the conservative. “I don’t see this as a collection about fantasy. I think it’s about this idea of projecting what a new reality will hopefully be,” he said. “I think fashion is going to be important in the next while, in making people gain the confidence of going back out and dressing up again. The whole point of this collection is: believe it, and it will happen.”

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Eclectic, Curated, Sustainable. Loewe AW21

Jonathan Anderson‘s Loewe universe is a wonderland of eclectic, curated – and sustainable! – things. And the autumn-winter 2021 collection for men is like a treasure chest of details, curiosities, textures, crafts prints and colours. But to organize what we’ve got: this Loewe lookbook actually feautures two collections, and the one at the bottom is produce from the company’s Eye/Loewe/Nature sustainable-practice department. This time, the communication came as a show-in-a-book, wrapped up in a coffee-table sized monograph on the queer New York artist Joe Brainard, and as a show-on-a-shirt – a huge T-shirt printed with all the sustainable-practice pictures. Why Brainard? “I remember zines he’d done in the ’70s. We remade a book on him which we’ll be selling in bookshops, and the proceeds will go to the charity we work with all the time, Visual Aids, to help artists who have suffered from AIDS,” says Jonathan Anderson. “I felt like Brainard is so important. He was part of a huge movement, with his writing and his pansy collages – his work is now at MOMA and the Pompidou. I like his writing, it has huge optimism, questions sexuality and things like that. But he’s one of those underground figures.” Anderson talks through the collection in an open-access video on the Loewe website, where it’s easy to see the assembly of charming pansy patterns made into big cardigans, or vast rectangular trousers, or inset as leather marquetry on Loewe Puzzle bags. You also get to understand how the panels of a patchwork shearling are pieced together from reproductions of Brainard’s canvases. And how a tote bag is decorated with the artist’s painting of a whippet on a green background. It’s all adorable and completely wantable. And the extra kick to the feel-good sensation of buying it is that your money is also going to do some good in the world. “I think the whole thing now is about clothing and something else,” says Anderson. “I think the customer wants more than just the clothing now. They want to make sure you have a unique viewpoint and, at the same time, a moral viewpoint.” A joyful vision and a bit of a mad-creative take on fashion are also rare luxuries to enjoy vicariously these days, what Anderson calls “being imaginative with clothing.” His current work on extreme trouser shapes delivers all that. Besides the multi-strapped leather and grommeted punk trousers, the pieces that might read as maxi-skirts actually turn out to be pants too. “I did a lot of wide, wide, super-wide trousers. Kind of performance trousers – this idea of being in your bedroom and dancing on your own.” Which we know is an actual social phenomenon in these days of lockdown.

Amongst the collection is also a huge, cosy multi-patterned Shetland-cum-Norwegian type sweater, knitted together from upcycled yarns. It links directly into the work on sustainable research that’s been going on for four years with the Eye/Loewe/Nature collection. It’s much more than an isolated side-project, Anderson explains. “We set it up as an incubator inside Loewe to try to work out a long-term solution to sustainability. It’s where the entire design process is monitored from start to finish. Every year we try to chip away at something – buttons, zips, hardware, plastic clips – so that what was a problem becomes less of a problem. Because it then means that your supply chain can deal with it, manufacturing know how to deal with it, and the design team knows how to design within that framework,” he says. “And from those learnings, working with suppliers, we can disseminate elements into the bigger workings of Loewe.” In practical terms, it’s meant “buying a huge bulk of used knit sweaters, or denim, and working them into garments. The great thing is that the whole company is involved. What I like about the industrial side is the idea of talking to suppliers like YKK about a problem – and actually making it not a problem. The trouble is when you’re impatient, like me, you want to be completely sustainable tomorrow – but you have to realize it takes time. It means turning an industrial revolution into a new eco revolution. Ultimately, the big picture is, we all have to do it,” he says. “It’ll probably be an ongoing thing throughout my entire career.” If luxury goods companies ever worried that customers would baulk at buying products made of upcycled or non-traditional materials, then the testing ground of the Eye/Loewe/ Nature collection is beginning to prove them wrong. “This is the third collection now,” says Anderson. “And, you know, it’s becoming very, very popular.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.

Cuteness Alert! Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro

Cuteness alert! It may only be the start of 2021, and here we are with one of the most charming collaborations ever.  Loewe has revealed that it will be dropping a capsule collection with none other than the iconic Japanese animation film company, Studio Ghibli. The Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro capsule collection sees the animated fantasy film come to life as its iconic characters and landscapes appear on limited-edition ready-to-wear pieces, leather products and accessories. Though released in 1988, My Neighbor Totoro remains a cultural landmark beloved by not only film enthusiasts but also children and adults alike. The capsule collection seeks to celebrate the feel-good story’s beloved characters through a mutual love of craft and artisanal techniques shared by Loewe and Studio Ghibli. Comfort is at the heart of the collection, so expect relaxed shapes and a vibrant colour palette with hints of chrome and Loewe’s iconic tan. The ready-to-wear pieces include T-shirts printed with both Totoro and Loewe’s logo, hooded sweatshirts with The Camphor tree (where Totoro is often found napping) as well as handbags and small leather goods with even more whimsical motifs.

The collection is out today! Here are some of my favourite pieces:

Images courtesy of Loewe; the campaign is photographed by Gray Sorrenti.