For a young man, Jonathan Anderson’s ability to project himself into the mind-set of a sophisticated, older woman at Loewe is becoming ever more impressive. He’s transformed a brand that was once a minor player without much of an identity into a major attraction on the Paris schedule. His show now places an ever-expanding number of accessories in the context of a holistically believable, put-together look.
He knows where his target customer lives, and it’s somewhere expensive. “I like the idea of thinking about this woman in her apartment,” he said. “And I like the idea of continuity, slowing it down.” The set—installed in the UNESCO House, an avant-garde landmark from 1958—had cream carpet, ceramics, lamps, and massive video screens playing an art film on a loop. This woman, then, lives surrounded by her collection of contemporary objects and art. Her latest acquisition, apparently, is a conceptual video piece, Offshore, by Magali Reus, showing two men swimming out into an ocean, endlessly struggling to bring floating oil barrels back to the beach. Whatever else it meant (man’s ceaseless fight against pollution? a chance to contemplate the sight of two hunky men in wet clothes?), it also brought in a sense of the outdoors—fresh air, summer—all suggestions of the environments these clothes will be worn in.
As for those clothes: Rather than rushing on at a febrile rate, as he does with his own collection, Anderson is letting a single silhouette flow on from his fall show. Wise move—as women are really just getting into the mood of wearing that calf-grazing, fit-and-flare shape. Clotheswise, all the development was instead in the fabric and the textures: linen and burlap, cotton and nylon, patchwork and plissé, raw edges and fringes, jersey and smooth leather. Cleverly, along the way, he hinted at the Spanish heritage of the house: peasant blouses with balloon sleeves and gathered necks, shawls tied around shoulders, a blue-and-white tablecloth-embroidery skirt.
The collection also included almost an entire exhibition of accessories as well. A whole gallery of shoes walked by—low-heeled boots, which fused sock with cutaway loafer; kitten-heeled summer sandals; Victorian ribbon-laced booties. Elsewhere, Ikebana-inspired gilded arum lilies became large sculptural bracelets. And it was nigh on impossible to keep track of the variety of bags, from the capaciously practical, soft-sided totes the models held crushed to their sides, to the horseshoe-shaped ones swinging from their shoulders. As a collection—modern yet ageless, luxurious yet unflashy, complete as an image but easy to pull apart and personalize—it hit every mark.
PARIS, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
by SARAH MOWER