jonathan anderson just presented the most perfectly polished loewe collection ever
“The collection was driven by a desire to reduce.”
“The collection was driven by a desire to reduce,” Jonathan Anderson explained during our Instagram Live post-Loewe show exchange. “As we put craft under the microscope, we concentrated on the silhouette,” he added. Over the course of the last decade, Jonathan Anderson has transformed himself from a taste-tightrope-walking 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 he discussed the need to “strip away the noise” to concentrate on fashion for his eponymous showing during London Fashion Week, he turned the volume down even further at Loewe and the collection spoke louder than ever.
“It’s free, it’s sensual, it’s a mass of textures,” Anderson told i-D after last season’s show. “I feel this is what the brand is becoming, the DNA we are working on.” Building on his autumn/winter 18 collection in which he slowed the pace, softened the distractions, and focused the mind on the craftsmanship that powers his house, spring/summer 19 celebrated the beauty of making things. For this collection, he honed in even more singularly on the conversation between craft and silhouette. “Born from obsessions of scrutiny and perfection, the collection approaches significations of desire with laser focus,” the show notes explained. Foregoing the narrative of excess and distraction, this was an exploration of form.
For this refined demonstration of soft power fashion, Anderson moved away from the craft-filled sets that have provided the backdrop for previous shows inside the Maison de l’UNESCO. Here, the collection was simply reflected on black herringbone parquet, the only ornamentation being a collection of miniature oval-shaped portraits hung upon the white walls. Dating from the 16th and 17th century and encompassing paintings of English, Flemish, French, Italian and Spanish provenance, these Post-Restoration works represented ladies and gentlemen (both famous and forgotten) from Mary Queen of Scots to King Charles I. This was the subtlest art installation we’ve seen from Anderson but it reflected the collection perfectly. “They were the selfies of their time,” Anderson explained with a laugh. “I also love the idea of something small yet perfectly formed, something that you have to really pay attention to before the beauty of the art is revealed.” This series of miniature portraits, unified under the title My Best Self in the show notes, were emblematic of a collection that demanded closer inspection. Simplified yes, simple no. From the two-tone silk separates which were either plaited or bias-cut to the 360° constructed tailoring with slotted lapels and sloped pockets, the inflated jeans to the bell sleeve jackets, while Anderson focused on silhouette, every detail had to be scrutinised; to be perfect.
However, as perfect and as polished as the garments were -- those bold-collared checkerboard coats worn over a delicate lace skirt and the leather dresses were perfect -- Anderson was still playful. Inspired by midcentury Coret millinery, the winged satin skull caps were the most obvious idiosyncratic detail performed through artisanal feats and juxtaposition, but the knitted marabou scarves, the pearl armour, silver tinsel and rick rack broderie anglaise were all present to delicately push perfection off-kilter. Each gesture quietly contradicted the season’s rigorous polish. This was Jonathan Anderson’s best self. Sometimes the quietest collections can speak the loudest. As Philophiles continue to question what they’ll wear and look for a new design force to stan, Anderson and Loewe might just have provided the answer.