Loewe: Embracing Spain with brilliance in Vincennes
Reducing fashion to extremely stylish fundamentals was the theme of the latest show by Jonathan Anderson for the Madrid-based house of Loewe, easily the most important collection seen so far this season.
Presented in a pristine white cube built within the central garden of the Chateau de Vincennes, a space decorated with fragile confetti paper cube sculptures in primary colors by artist Lara Favaretto.
Reduction, in the sense of ejecting superfluous details to concentrate on the lines and the silhouette, made in eye-catching new suedes, leather and bizarrely recycled print dresses. Reduced so far that several dresses featured doorknobs or ornate nails at the chest as the fabric was draped, or even tossed over them.
As in his Loewe menswear show in January, Anderson cut holes in the sides of dresses and coats, to better hold up one arm akimbo. A reference in both shows to the artist Julien Nguyen and his painting The Guise of Fortune.
“Blurring, fragility and celebratory. Gestures – from the men’s show of taking the resting arm. An emotional gesture, where it felt defensive but also sensual. Door knobs. Or nails at the chest, suggesting fabric just tossed or draped over it. Robot dolls, somehow. An emotional sensuality to the wardrobe,” explained Anderson post-show in his preferred stream of consciousness syntax.
In a brilliant juxtaposition with the primary color paper cubes, whole looks – pants, shorts and tunics - came in cock feathers, though dyed into muted shades of pale gray, white and azure blue.
Backed up by the beautifully apt track of You Want It Darker, with Leonard Cohen’s sandpaper voice, Anderson opened with a great series of “relic” dresses, referencing Gerhard Richter. None of these printed dresses were originally by Loewe. While some incredible knitwear were literally stickers that one could pull off, as the designer revisited, reinterpreted and reengineered.
Above all, Jonathan embraced the brand’s suede and leather roots in Spain with a great series of calfskin shirt-dresses with band collars that were both very classy and very cool. Or divinely well cut sandy-hued suede Edwardian style coats. Lots of clashing leather textures throughout.
Plus, a great series of uber deep Puzzle totes and small handbags – the latter inspired by Japanese basket weaving – in raw looking leather.
No show anywhere today had as many cool examples of footwear as Loewe. From the slouchy boots worthy of D’Artagnan if ever the musketeer came back as an artist to the scratchy suede Chelsea boots, the stilettos in different skins or the high heels made out of embroidered confetti paper.
“All the bags in the show refer back to 70s designs. When I first joined Loewe I rejected all that. But now since the pandemic I embrace the idea of a historical leather house. A restart, since Loewe is a suede house, that is what it became famous for,” argued the Northern Irish-born designer.
All told, after 22 days of runways, this was the stand out fashion moment so far in the four fashion capitals of New York, London, Milan and Paris. Though no one quite says it out loud, Anderson without much bruhaha has made Loewe into the number one show on the calendar.
Over 100 years ago, they executed the infamous spy Mata Hari inside the Chateau de Vincennes. Today they consecrated Anderson as the single most influential designer in fashion.
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