Loewe’s playful vision of fashion, with a naughty twist
Those looking for a playful, yet twisted vision of menswear, with a tincture of transgression and a soupçon of the surreal, need look no further than Loewe, whose latest collection was the very definition of playful youth.
The show was staged on a sunny Saturday morning in Anderson’s preferred local for Loewe, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, though once again the tightly-edited audience took an unlikely side exit into the show space, located in the bowels of this labyrinth of architectural modernism.
Shades of a New England pier in the set, made of a lacquered black boardwalk and pylons, sunk into a concrete sea.
Up on the catwalk, many young men in dresses that looked like aprons – in battered gold, parakeet green, copper or bitter orange – that had mysteriously morphed into ballgowns. Others waked in faux crochet columns, or A-line coat-dresses.
"I had looked at 50s ball gowns and I thought of when you were a child, what would that look like when you tried something on in front of a mirror. Its like 2D to 3D," smiled Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson.
Everything was anchored by very cool and very commercial black patent leather boots finished with ankle chains, or a selection of clever dusted gold ballet slippers.
Anderson has been showing elephant bags and purses at Loewe for six years, though this season he blew them up with hefty proportions, turning them into half-meter-square leather or snakeskin pachyderms, so dusted in Indian medals they were worthy of Maha Shivaratri.
"I was looking at Christopher Dresser, who obviously travelled the world, like Asia and Nepal, and brought things back and then interpreted them and made them for the mass," expounded Jonathan.
Anderson’s most iconic garments for Loewe are arguably his shirts, seen for Fall 2020 with raw organza bibs and cuffs, or composed in baby blue and embroidered with two giant black birds – the latest generation of Irish Wild Geese. These were mostly worn with mysterious pants with roll-ups well up the calf, and completed with soft S&M leather chain belts. Ideal for naughtier moments.
Under Anderson’s guidance, Loewe has flourished from a venerable yet dusty Spanish label to one of fashion’s hippest marques. The Ulster-born designer, whose parents sat proudly in the front-row, will have tripled Loewe’s annual turnover to well over half a billion euros during his six years in charge.
Notably, the actual fabrics in this collection were far more expensive – like double-face cashmere. Even if the the silhouette was more risqué.
"The idea is about when you wear clothes, they can transform your character into whatever you want to be. So this was boyish, optimistic, playful and weirdly like super heroes somehow. Pretty boy with sexual tension, like they may be into something," he laughed.
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