Loewe’s dreamscape at UNESCO
A tour-de-force display by Jonathan Anderson for the house of Loewe, riffing on its glory days in the 70s; reinventing the menswear wardrobe; and embellishing his house’s codes even as he rips them apart.
Yes, another Loewe show inside UNESCO HQ, though on this sunny Saturday morning the Ulster-born designer took us into a cuboid show space. A concrete bunker, done up like a modernist salon with barely 200 comfortable fabric armchairs and a series of flat screens showing videos by Hilary Lloyd.
From the most iconoclastic of designers, a subtly subversive show. Not that many men wear overalls and ponchos but they will next spring, given the quality of Loewe’s offering: either in raw sandy suede with a stamped logo at the shoulder; or made in bottled indigo and cut with ankle ties.
Anderson is really revolutionizing menswear, most brilliantly cutting a superb elongated, eight-button blazer and then pairing it with an over-sized djellaba made in raw broad stripe hemp linen.
Few men might don knee-length caftans, though once again it’s hard to resist his dramatic versions in tough Spanish suede. Yet, somehow, always echoing a halcyon summer day on a Balearic Island.
"Loewe’s really big moment was in the 70s. And I wanted to go back to that moment and that aura when the brand really became something… We wanted to build a language, as much as it's fashion it is rooted in the traditions of the brand," explained Anderson post show.
It was a show with a curiously spiritual air, with several mono-color all-cotton combinations of curate’s soutane and elephantine pants. And one crammed with ideas; from the tiger-print loafers; espadrilles expanding into summery striped booties; butter-colored raw suede versions of hiker boots, the best we’ve seen anywhere in a season where the outback was all over the European runway. The same goes for his chain-link Roman sandals, another big trend.
Moreover Jonathan’s fabric combinations, like his flat slouchy backpacks in knit wool and raw cowhide were flawless.
In a word, Anderson gives fashion an intellectual slant that few other designers attempt; and those that do tend to fail. His comfortable yet austere set, he termed: "non-reality with the digital screens – like a photograph of someone watching a TV, the hyper normalization.
"We’ve been trying to keep it rooted and rounded but at the same time pushing forward. I wanted that feeling of Alice in Wonderland, where you could just tumble away and go to the beach, or not go to the beach. A child-like dream state that maybe we are in," said Anderson to the rapt attention of a gang of Anglo-Saxon critics.
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