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Jan 23, 2021
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Loewe's latest menswear: Clothing in a literary context

Published
Jan 23, 2021

Fashion’s latest show-in-a-book came from Loewe, in a collection unveiled Saturday that revolves around the estate of Joe Brainard, the American artist who worked in various formats including Pop Art, subversive comic books, faux religious collage and, ultimately, a literary autobiography entitled I Remember.


Loewe - Fall/Winter 2021-22 - Menswear - Paris - Photo: Loewe

 
Pre-show, favored friends of the house were shipped a handsome package with multiple examples of the work of Brainard, a key figure in the New York art underground a half-century ago.
 
Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson employed the artist’s collages of pansies in oversized floor-length wool cardigans and translated his flower series into other Loewe mediums like intarsia leather bags.

Anderson even showed triangular tent-shaped trousers – two huge floral rectangles when pulled out – worn by a model dancing awkwardly inside a photo studio.
 
The best effect was probably the pale blue mega patchwork shearing coats featuring panels of Brainard’s petal paintings, mice sketches and photography. However, the designer got rather carried away with his multiple garments – from a double polo shirt to a triple mohair sweater, riffing on Brainard’s concept of repetition.
 
This was, as Anderson chose to put it, part of creating “a conceptual object within fashion.” The best example of which was the striking leather biker pants, zipped up from ankle to waist and finished with multiple belts up and down the leg. Hyper posh punk looks, in stark contrast to the girly folds of knit shorts for boys.
 
"I like this idea of taking feminine clothes and re-cutting them out of menswear fabrics… showing a double-face cashmere that looks kind of sensual," said the designer, perched on a stand-away stairway, his words seen in subtitles, in both English and Chinese.
 
The show book also contained images of the women's pre-collection and again Brainard’s floral paintings, seen in smocks and baseball caps. All the way to a t-shirt, the print of which incorporates most of the looks.


Loewe - Fall/Winter 2021-22 - Menswear - Paris

 
The key to Anderson’s meteoric rise within the LVMH luxury empire – which owns Loewe – has been based on the striking success of his many bags for this Spanish luxe marque. This season he plastered Brainard’s images – sleeping whippets, or sphinx-like teens – all over leather totes and logo wallpaper handbags to great effect.
 
Above all, the show book captured some of the energy and exuberance of New York in its heyday, fondly remember by those of us who had the pleasure of enjoying our coming of age in the heart of the East Village in the 70s and 80s. That said, though a distinctive voice in the canon of New York modern art, Brainard is hardly a Bacon, Botticelli or Braque.

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