Odd Elegance. JW Anderson SS20

For the second season now, Jonathan Anderson seems to be experimenting with odd elegance at his name-sake label. There’s something both ritualistic and futuristic about his draped tunics with jewelled bras tied on with rope straps, and chunky, crystal studded belts worn to one side of the hip. Who is this woman? Where is she heading to? There’s something unexplainably refined about her, and definitely elusive. Tailored jackets and coats with contrasting lapels where also embellished with rhinestones, in circular patterns, while the mainly earthy colour palette was contrasted with the least expected detail: silver and gold lamé. Non-chalance is the new norm for spring-summer 2020, that’s visible across countless of shows we’ve seen up to date. The fringed, knitted and highly crafted elements felt Loewe-ish, which is actually new to J.W. Anderson (the designer never mixes his codes between the two brands he designs at). Still, they work in this collection very well, even though they might not match at a first glance.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Dream State. Loewe SS20

Jonathan Anderson continues his escapist formula at Loewe and it keeps on surprising. Spring-summer 2020 collection for men was like a picture of spiritual escape into what he called “a childlike dream state”. The outing felt like a peaceful march of modern day hippies, wearing the intentionally unmatching accessories, flowing, gender-fluid kaftan-dresses and fleecy, feather-light knits. Eclecticism and handmade crafts are one of the most important qualities Anderson nurtures at Loewe, and with his collage-y sensibility for styling, he makes it sophisticated, yet desirable at the same time. You want to dress in this spirit, all year round. “We have to be aware of what’s going on in the world, but sometimes it’s good to dream. Why should people not be in a fantasy state? Maybe they’ll find something.” Words to live by.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Design Exercise. JW Anderson SS20

For his spring-summer 2020 collection for men (and resort 2020 for women), Jonathan Anderson took an approach he applies at his Loewe. While discussing J.W. Anderson‘s latest collection, the designer mentioned that it’s “not about a styling exercise, but a design exercise.” Part of it was working on cutting away the sleeves of trench coats and tailored jackets to construct geometric wings and leave a drape in the back. He said he’d developed that silhouette after the “ideas about the ’40s and billowing shapes” that he’d shown previously in his womenswear collection. The deconstruction of the tuxedo dressing continued into lapel scarves and dress shirts. There’s no gendered distinction in these clothes. “All sizes can wear that,” he said. Meanwhile, the less ‘formal’ part of the collection consisted of patchworked knits, cable-knit head-bands, shoes made of multi-coloured felt (depicting a sort of pointilist landscape) and flowing, crotchet shawls and dresses. All this feels very warm-hearted, artisanal,  beautifully folkloric even. While Anderson nails each season at Loewe, lately I wasn’t that convinced about the work he did for his namesake brand. But this collection is one of his best.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Favourite. Loewe AW19

Jonathan Anderson‘s Loewe is never straightforward. While the designer loved Yorgos Lanthimos’ incredible The Favourite film, he didn’t just knock off historic costume-wear. How genius is the pearl-beaded sweatshirt? It’s a soft nod to Queen Anne’s fixation with gorgeous jewels, and pearls of course. The white lace and black silk finale dress was also quite close to the film’s aesthetic, but transformed into something very contemporary looking. I’m always in awe with the unparalleled levels of creativity and craftsmanship that underpin Anderson’s collections – but his real genius is found in how he elevates easy, wearable fashion. Big coats with fur inserts; a dress that looks like a knit with sheer skirt; feather boas that don’t look ridiculous; crotchet jackets and tasselled skirts… oh, and of course the ‘elephant’ hat that might make absolutely no sense, but looks right in this collection. Jonathan is the king of curation. The accessory that wins the season? The new Lantern handbag that isn’t actually that new – it comes from Loewe’s archives. It’s classy shape with a lady-like clasp is so elegant. I bet if Queen Anne lived today, she would order one (or two).

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Time for Fantasy. JW Anderson AW19

Jonathan Anderson’s autumn-winter 2019 collection was a play with construction. From the architectural grey coats and statuesque shoulder pads to fluid-like drapes and airy, over-sized frocks, this was a JW Anderson line-up, where you can actually turn to a number of completely different things. Also, as it turned out, Anderson wanted to go ‘fashion’ this season, in this today rare, uplifting, statement-making manner. “The idea of a woman walking on clouds – this idea of fantasy and imagination in fashion,” he backstage. “I mean, that’s why we do it.” While the last few shows he presented for women at his namesake brand felt overly sophisticated, this one was a like a much-needed, carefree moment. Not ridiculous or pretentious, but joyous and with a bit of distance.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Eclecticism. Loewe AW19

Loewe’s decision to show its menswear during Paris fashion week couldn’t be better. Jonathan Anderson’s exquisite work for the Spanish brand has to have the motion of a runway. A look-book/showroom presentation doesn’t necessarily work that way, so the previous seasons for men felt a bit under the radar, and even… still? But the autumn-winter 2019 line-up was exactly that: vibrant, bold, full of energy, and optimism that was beautifully reflected in the joyously eclectic elements of the collection. Let’s start from the beginning. A yellow, canvas sculpture by Franz Erhard Walther was the focal point of the show space at Maison de l’UNESCO. Fragments of clothing were strapped to the freestanding piece (‘Gelbe Modellierung’ from 1985), which resembled the cross-section of a wardrobe. Walther’s artwork influenced Anderson’s designs this season, as they were all about mixing, matching, deconstructing and, lightly saying, playing. As usual with Jonathan’s work at Loewe, everything was very artisanal and made with great affection. Whether we’re speaking of the XXL, rough-looking cardigan made of different yarns and threads, heavily patch-worked sweater or a trench coat constructed out of wool scarves. But the collection’s ‘show-stealer’ award goes to the boots. Well, not just regular boots. We’re talking of unzipped boots, going all the way up to a belt. “We were looking at gaiters and fishermen. It was early-’80, kind of, when we unzipped them. It created kind of flaps – Western, but non-Western. It was how to take something fetish and de-fetishize it.” This sort of ‘odd’ seduction was as well applied to tailoring. Looks were slim in the torso, with flared pants. Some of the suits were in houndstooth (styled with a pink puffer jacket), some had a one, satin lapel. “We’d done the suit in the women’s collection – we kept the waist, and extended the back,” said Anderson. “There’s something quite chic and suave about it.” The tailored pieces reinterpreted the nearly forgotten, cosmopolitan elegance of men. Others felt like they were suited for an adventure, or were brought back from some remote destination. Collected and curated into an outfit – like the huge ‘fishnet’ knit or the multi-coloured, fringed bags. Summing up. Together with Marni, Loewe is my ultimate favourite of the season.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Moving Bodies. JW Anderson AW19

Undoubtedly, Jonathan Anderson‘s leap from London to Paris resulted in an even more uninspiring men’s London fashion week this season. Well, good for the latter. J.W. Anderson kicked off the Parisian schedule with a brilliantly diverse collection, made up of the boys’ autumn-winter 2019 and the girls’ pre-fall 2019. At a first sight, ‘chaos’ is a word that comes to your mind while going through the collection. The models wore medieval-esque hoods with over-sized bermuda shorts, boldly striped tops and huge bracelets. Another look had fringed trousers, an exaggerated sailor collar and an absolutely distorted knit that no longer can be classified as a sweater. The women’s part was rich in polka-dots, XXL shirting and equally voluminous dresses worn over hoodies or with huge pussy-bows. The venue, filled with Paul Thek’s art installations, was a mash-up of vintage rugs, floor drawings. And of course, there was this huge, balloon globe. Everything here seemed to be full of some unidentified energy. Those garments had the vibrance that instantly reminds of Bodymap, the London-based brand that was on everybody’s lips in the 80s. Whatever stood behind the collection this time around, one thing’s clear: Anderson does it again. The strange and odd looks familiar and desirable. I’m extremely looking forward to get those zebra-print socks.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Never Enough. Loewe SS19

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“It’s free; it’s sensual; it’s satin; it’s a mass of textures. I feel this is what the brand is becoming—its DNA,” said Jonathan Anderson of his latest Loewe collection. “I had the idea about people walking through a gallery space who are individuals but connected by a common thread.” How complex that might sound, Anderson’s spring-summer 2019 looked much, much more spontaneous and relaxed. At some points, even too random. A hand-weaved ankle-length dress work with a leather harness necklace and combat, suede boots; peasant shirt in cotton over a voluminous skirt; loosely fitted tuxedo in beige (Philo fans, take a look at it); a thick-looking, knitted sweater in orange styled with cargo pants. There’s no specific direction in that collection and it actually looks seasonless. The designer always implements a lot of craftsmanship that makes Loewe’s clothes so incredible and beautiful in touch, and this season he kept his priorities untouched. I’m 100% sure that each of the new season pieces, from the fringed bags to asymmetrically cut gowns, looks stunning when viewed in person. But after browsing the entire show, each outfit one by one, something just didn’t entirely click for me. Maybe that intended ‘lack of edit’ makes the overall effect, simply speaking, too messy?

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.