Loewe and JW Anderson: Double-header box shows
No season in fashion since the pandemic hit is complete for serious insiders without the arrival of an inventive show-in-a-box from Jonathan Anderson, both for his own house and for his evening job with Loewe. Two boxes, and collections, that appeared one week apart, the second, from Loewe, on Friday.
A series of cabinets of curiosities including everything from wallpaper, glue and scissors to art photography, fabric swatches and kids' toys; they have become collectors’ items. So much so that they change hands for hundreds, or indeed thousands of pounds, on fashionable websites.
All this would matter little if the actual collections were not that interesting; fortunately, the clothes at both JW Anderson and Loewe tend to be thoroughly innovative and influential. These two collections, especially Loewe, will be so again.
Take JW Anderson, which was released in February 26, and greatly influenced by Jonathan’s linking up with the noted Kenyan-born ceramicist Magdalene Odundo, and indeed referencing an early show they collaborated on the previous decade.
Taking prints from Odundo drawn in Belfast and translating them into hand-knitted blankets or Scottish woven blankets. All photographed in the designer’s latest “continuing our conversation” tag-team with Juergen Teller.
“In a moment when things are moving in such a strange way it is nice to go back to the idea of a silhouette and the body,” explained the ever-boyish Anderson in his tutorial video, perched on a stool before a huge number of prints by Teller.
Odundo’s female silhouette shapes fused into curvilinear shapes; voluminous dresses; or as the designer put it “totemic shapes and abnormal volumes,” seen in knitted jumpsuits and pearl shaped gowns. Ornithological and raw dark drawings fused into yellow knit gowns and huge capes. All worn over golden glitter boots, bearing Anderson’s signature chunky gold chain buckles.
“The body as vessel holding information,” said Anderson, noting his “experimental route of color blocking.”
More an art show perhaps than a runway collection, yet one that will drive the fashion vernacular over the next year.
On Friday morning , it was the turn of Loewe, for whom Anderson dreamed up a newspaper “to accompany your morning café.” Hemingway would have approved.
A daily paper held within a metal box, which also contained a wood cut with a faintly infantile sketch done by the designer’s fetish art directors, M&M, referencing The Affair by Danielle Steel. Not being a fan of the novelist, one is forced to quote Amazon’s blurb on the novel: “When Rose McCarthy’s staff at Mode magazine pitches a cover shoot with Hollywood’s hottest young actress, the actress’s sizzling affair with a bestselling French author is exposed.”
Shortly after the show video appeared online and on the official website of Paris Fashion Week, one of 92 brands showing on the official calendar, editors also received a bizarre request from Loewe, with the following instruction, printed in red: “Kindly note that in the reviews of the show it is not possible to cite the text of Danielle Steel.”
Hemingway would have been appalled. We are too. Some of us thought we were living in Paris, not Hong Kong? Readers should know that the offending text reads: “Frame (Her Passion And Instinct For Fashion Had Surfaced When She Was Living In Paris.”
After that contretemps, how were the clothes? Hang it all, they looked pretty great: quilted intarsia parkas in bold stripes and color blocks; way-out-there fringed boleros; buckle-embellished viscose fantasy dresses; or leather bustiers worn with cut-out sweaters.
All anchored by bug badass chunky-wedge loafer boots in calfskin or lambskin. In pretty well every look model Freja Beha Erichsen carries an eye-catching bag from nappa Flamenco clutches to a calfskin Amazona 28.
A lookbook photographed by Fumiko Imano, much of it in Le Train Bleu restaurant inside the Gare du Lyon, where – let’s not forget - in A Moveable Feast, Hemingway first recounts everything beginning to go pear-shaped with F. Scott Fitzgerald.
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