jonathan anderson de-fetishised fetish for his loewe men’s catwalk debut
“After five years, I felt like we needed to show it moving,” says Jonathan Anderson.
Loewe autumn/winter 19 men's
Over the course of the last decade, Jonathan Anderson has transformed himself from a boundary-blurring provocateur into one of the industry’s leading creative directors. At Loewe, the Spanish luxury house which Jonathan has led since 2013, he has always exhibited a more refined take on his idiosyncratic aesthetic. “After five years, I felt like we needed to show it moving,” Jonathan said, “as the menswear has quadrupled since we began.” So, for autumn/winter 19, the designer opted to show a standalone men’s collection that demonstrated just how far it’s come, and hinted at where it’ll take us tomorrow. “The question we ask ourselves is: how do you take basics, and make them fashionable? For us, it’s about exploring the border between these two. How do you get a customer to buy just a knit, and get the full impact of it all?” The answer is in the way Anderson pairs craft with imagination, as he applies his lens of distortion to staples.
Inside his favoured Loewe show space within the Maison de l’UNESCO, a luminous cotton sculpture by the German artist Franz Erhard Walther provided the ideal backdrop for the first-ever men’s catwalk show by the London-based creative director. Mirroring his own cut and paste designs, the sliced and segmented jackets and trouser legs questioned what could and should be placed where.
In kickstarted a conversation with the autumn/winter 19 men’s collection, highlighting the themes of abstraction, hybridity and a constant questioning of utility and taste. By re-thinking fabrication and scale, Loewe craftsmanship materialised in unexpected ways -- uniting incongruous ideals of masculinity allowing the worlds of sartorial tradition and team sports to collide. In shearling and camel cashmere, outerwear pieces elevated the everyday and the familiar became almost otherworldly. Like Walther’s peeling forms, hyper-extended shirt sleeves peeked from beneath the new Loewe tuxedo, first introduced for women, as a nipped two-button suit with asymmetric lapels. Trompe l’oeil arrived in tufted shearling and stamped croc, culminating in plush pastel leather quilting or a greatcoat fashioned from fringed cashmere scarves. Distended jerseys and tunics recalled trail blankets and rugby stripes. Long knits collected relics: beads like pebbles, and naïve erotic life drawings, while bound thread-work cardigans evoked raw process. Throughout, there was a sense of the garments being alive, constantly evolving, responding to the world around them.
The hybrid calfskin chaps/whimsical waders that were half-zipped so their luxurious leathers cascaded down thighs to create a shape-shifting silhouette encapsulated this mood. “We were looking at gaiters and fishermen,” Anderson explained. “When we decided to unzip them, they had this 80s feel that we loved. It created kind of flaps -- western, but non-western. It was about taking something fetish and de-fetishising it.” So Jonathan Anderson, so Loewe. Alongside the boots, the hyper-saturated picture postcard print of Marilyn Monroe that appeared on one of the shirts was used to test the collection’s balance on the tightrope of taste. “I just had to do it,” he confessed. “I just thought of something so beautiful, but so incredibly tragic too. I like that kind of postcard in the show, just to throw the entire thing off. I mean, why not?” Why not indeed?