jonathan anderson's loewe embraces dreamy romance
Casting back to the 70s, the Loewe men this season are reimagined as romantic, youthful, nymph-like nomads, moving through a dream.
“I wanted this to feel romantic, to feel youthful, nomadic, nymph-like inside a dreamscape,” Jonathan Anderson explained after waking us all up on the penultimate day of Paris Fashion Week. To add fragments of the familiar and the unexpected to his Loewe spring/summer 20 daydream, the designer turned to London-based artist Hilary Lloyd. Inside his favoured show venue, the auditorium of the Maison de l’UNESCO was populated with nine of her video recordings of both natural and man-made worlds. Lloyd's installation imbued the show with sensualism that almost bordered on the erotic, and suitably this fun, fluid, and free Loewe collection flirted with the same themes and feelings.
Over the course of the last decade, Jonathan has transformed himself from a boundary-blurring provocateur into one of the industry’s leading creative directors. At Loewe, the Spanish luxury house which he has led since 2013, the designer is constantly pushing for a shake up of our sartorial senses, asking us to see the world differently. “There was a balance between keeping it rooted and grounded but at the same time pushing it because that’s what we have to do,” Jonathan explained. “There’s this sense of Alice in Wonderland, that you could just tumble away into this childlike dreamscape because I was drawn into this idea of non-reality, the organicness through a screen, the hypernormalisation of watching a moving image, through a screen and behind a look.”
In dialogue with Hilary’s flickering work, the collection was similarly otherworldly and dreamlike, with long and pure silouhettes, disrupted, at times, by the tension of new, unexpected volumes. “I wanted the space to feel that there was an effortlessness to it because this is what the brand should be about, from its sensual lightness through to the signature fabrics and key codes that we’ve been building over the last six years.” Six, transformative years.
The nomadic spirit of the collection also reaffirmed Loewe’s dedication to global craft. Here, the house signature oro ‘cashmere’ suede mingled with locally-woven textiles in tunic and caftan shapes with split placket and buckled yoke details. Hand-embroidered red and white cotton from Bangladesh, hand-dyed and woven indigo cloth from Burkino Faso and ultrafine blue linen denim and punched cotton gauze from Japan. Elsewhere, there were echoes to Loewe’s breakout decade, the 70s. “With the success of the Paula’s Ibiza line, there is this language we can build around where cotton and linen meet,” Jonathan told us. “As much as it’s fashion, it’s rooted in the traditions of the brand. We’ve enhanced the past but I feel as though we’ve created what it should be for the future.”
Complementing the free flowing nautical archetypes, from sailor’s shirts to washed silk dungarees, monochrome short suits in layers of poplin and voile met airy knits and tanks in chevron or vertical stripes. Expanding on the season’s nomadic mood, thatched moccasins, suede link sandals and boat shoes evoked outdoor summer pursuits, as lace-up boots in espadrille stripes channelled Loewe’s Spanish roots. The geometric Berlingo shoulder bag was introduced in a larger size in suede, toile and calfskin, while the iconic it bag-2.0 (the Puzzle bag) was revisited in a deconstructed silhouette in supple smooth calf leather, and a new Shopper Backpack in soft napa calf leather referenced Loewe’s leather savoir-faire. This blending of past, present and future and this orbiting of old and new worlds has been a recurrent theme throughout the Paris shows, but none have been as dreamily pulled off quite as dreamily as Jonathan at Loewe.
“With this dreamscape, there’s this questioning of something that can be so hyperised,” the designer explained of the show before asking the circle of critics a question that silenced us: “Is fashion normal in the context of where we are today?” Has it ever been? Against the backdrop of the climate crisis and state of domestic and global politics, we see his point. “Where does it leave us? We all meet backstage and we’ve normalised the idea of being at a fashion show. Ultimately, that’s why I wanted to slow everything down here and John Maus’s Hey Moon to close the show. We see the collection here but the streets is the reality of it, and it becomes even more abstract, at a time in which maybe abstraction is good,” he added. In the context of today’s troubled world, Jonathan reminded us that we all need to dream.
Photography Mitchell Sams.
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.