Dress To Impress. Loewe AW20

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.

Men’s – Play. Loewe AW20

At Loewe, things took a fun twist. That gesture of holding something in front of the mirror to see how it looks – we all know it. You could just see it the boys wearing draped lamé dresses fixed to the front of their tailored outfits on the autumn-winter 2020 runway. “I was thinking of ’50s couture—and a child, trying something on. What do you look like in the mirror?”, Jonathan Anderson explained. The two themes which have been running through this menswear season were bound together in one collection: carefree boyhood and the unprecedented presence of ideas about haute couture in menswear. “A fantasy wardrobe,” Anderson called it. “Playful. Optimistic. Pretty boys.” The dresses were a kind of signifying accessory, attached, apron-like, with leather straps. They said a lot about the way Anderson has always worked in the studio, experimenting with garments in free-association. The designer also put guys in coats which had “couture structures, on a woman’s block.” There was a white fit-and-flare shearling, a high-waisted princess-line coat. The zebra-print double-breasted caped silhouette, Anderson imagined, could easily become a superhero look. The childlike-couture perspective (also big at Francesco Risso’s Marni) led him to blow up existing Loewe mini-leather goods’ elephant shapes to become oversized tote-toys, to sprinkle crystal bling on sweaters, dangle diamanté jewelry on black patent boots, to weave a coat-dress from floral-print scarves. Anderson pointed out his own favorite—a shirt appliquéd with a pair of geese. Random and eclectic, don’t care. The point is that everyone, gender-regardless is welcome to pick and choose from what Anderson designs and delivers at Loewe.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – There’s Optimism. JW Anderson AW20

For the autumn-winter 2020 season, here’s where you should go for the best coats: JW Anderson. At his name-sake label, Jonathan Anderson offers gorgeous blanket-wrap poncho-like coats, made in a number of variations: classic grey wool, in paisley print, in hounstooth… some come accessorized with heavy gilt chains swathed as belts (the designer also used them as shoe jewelry and as sewn-on half-necklaces). A pictogram of a house on fire, a print that appeared on knits and in the general imagery of the collection, was Anderson’s take on AIDS activist and mixed-media artist David Wojnarowicz, who sprayed these on derelict East Village buildings in 1982. Anderson is known for bringing almost forgotten art to the ambiance of his shows – both for his own label and at Loewe. But this rediscovery struck a deeper chord for the generations protesting against establishment intransigence in the face of apocalyptic crisis. It resonated in Anderson’s remark at the end of the show. Amid the anguish of the AIDS fatalities in the 1980s and 1990s – which Wojnarowicz documented, fought, and eventually succumbed to – “it felt like the end of the world,” the designer observed. “But it wasn’t. As much as some of it’s really heavy, there’s an optimism. There will be a solution.”

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The 2010s: Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe


Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Jonathan Anderson‘s Loewe.

The most succesful brand rebirth of the decade? Jonathan Anderson’s take on Loewe,  so the story of a sleepy Spanish leather house becoming one of the hottest labels in Paris. Anderson’s vision for the label defines the role of a creative director: everything, from the campaigns (photographed by the designer’s favourites: Steven Meisel, Gray Sorrenti or Jamie Hawkesworth) and branding (revived by M/M Paris) to store interiors and inspiring, visual communication, must be consistent, garden-fresh and, simply speaking, beautiful. But Anderson’s Loewe also thrives thanks to its desirable, yet non-mainstream products. The “Puzzle” bag became one of those timeless it-bags without even one, shouting logo on it. The clothes fascinate with their incredible, artisan detailings. Loewe shoes are the fine balance of pretty and ugly. Eclectic accessories (like Dumbo ears hat or cat face necklace) and capsule collections that rotate around unexpected themes (the best-seller “Paula’s Ibiza” line; the tribute collections to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and William de Morgan). The designer often compares himself to a curator, when explaining his role at Loewe. And this metaphor really fits.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.