An Obscure Origin Point Brings Out the Best in Loewe's Craftsmanship | Savoir Flair
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An Obscure Origin Point Brings Out the Best in Loewe's Craftsmanship
article LOEWE FALL/WINTER 2024 | LOEWE
by Grace Gordon 4-minute read March 2, 2024

"I think we live in a paradise. This is a Garden of Eden. Really. It is. It might be the only paradise we’ll ever know. And it’s just so beautiful. And you feel you want to paint it." - Albert York

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I love Jonathan Anderson’s mind, which is so clearly reflected in his magnificently, wonderfully weird creations. Never over-shadowed by eclecticism but, rather, endowed by it, he is making some of the most interesting clothes in the business both at his solo label and at the Spanish luxury house Loewe – and he is somehow able to take these left-of-center ideas and make them commercially viable. 

At Loewe Fall/Winter 2024, the art of the obscure American master Albert York provided a multi-dimensional inspiration point for the collection. The first dimension is York’s actual art, which features a range of naïf pastorals, still lifes, and landscapes. York, who passed away in 2009, was greatly admired in the art world despite his elusivity, his tiny intense works, and his enigmatic personality (there is only one public photograph of York from The New York Times in which he is depicted looking away from the camera). Little is known about York, but Anderson was interested in one very big fact about his paintings: they were collected by Jackie Kennedy

This sparked the idea of provenance. Who or what bestows meaning upon something (If you really want to stretch your brain around this idea, I highly recommend reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt)? The mark of Kennedy's patronage rocketed York to fame in some circles. Things of deep, abiding provenance come from quality, scarcity, and the essence of importance that comes from things passed around between the wealthy. In collector’s circles, it is provenance that not only creates value for an object but can increase it. If a beautiful antique can be proven as having belonged to a prominent socialite, for instance, its value at auction goes up dramatically.

This translated into the clothes with a flourish of artistic touches. Greatcoats were appointed with huge metallic lapels that were actually made of wood that was carved to resemble the legs of a Chippendale’s chair. Matching tunics and trousers were decorated in wood prints. Eton morning suits were worn with immense ballooning trousers decorated in vibrant floral prints. Slacks were made from great looping swaths of fabric. Cropped knits were covered in wooly tufts, and densely beaded tapestry prints were transformed into bags, shoes, and dresses. One such dress was sent down the runway with a lucite bauble draped over the shoulder and a matching pair of duck boots. Elsewhere, there were pastoral touches that added humorous levity to the collection, like radish prints and bags made to resemble bunches of purple asparagus. Even the beauty looks were artsy, especially in the case of black helmet-like bowl cuts with contrast-dyed bangs.

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One can imagine a Loewe client buying these pieces, loving them, and then passing them on to the next generation. The idea of provenance becomes more of a sentimental gesture than a money-making scheme. One day, decades from now, on whatever form of social media we’ll have then, I can imagine an enthusiastic tween showing off her asparagus bag. Hopefully, she’ll know that it comes from the mind of one of fashion’s greats. 

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WHO or WHAT bestows meaning upon something?

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