J. W. Anderson doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish. One might draw parallels between this lingual fact and his decision to completely reinvent the 169-year old luxury leather goods brand Loewe, which he has helmed for a little more than a year now. Anderson’s collections for Loewe have divided fashion camps; some argue that he isn’t properly leveraging the heritage of the house, while others argue for the merit of 180-degree rebranding. His Fall/Winter 2015 collection for Loewe has elicited equal parts criticism and praise, as there was little left of Loewe’s signatures to anchor recognition by, but at the same time he was working on a new science-fiction aesthetic that demanded notice. What Anderson brings to the table, besides impressive design skills, is the ability to modernize the house for the digital age. When it comes to arguing about Loewe’s radical makeover, parent company LVMH need only point to the bottom line in answer, which is the objective demarcation point for success in today’s consumer-driven world.
Here is Loewe’s Fall/Winter 2015 collection in a nutshell: bulky shoulders, haphazard draping, oversized trousers, neon graphics, pleated metallics, and lots and lots of shiny liquid leather. It was cool, odd, and futuristic (even though there were glaring hints of 1980s style present), yet challenging to wear. It’s hard to imagine just who among us might don the old-fashioned, taupe, trapeze-cut dress or the strangely shaped pastel sweater with gray sleeves and fold-over collar. Anderson often champions odd fits, but his awesome patterned wool trousers needed to be proportionally balanced by a sleek topper instead. Besides Anderson’s beautifully tailored pants, there are several other looks worth mentioning, namely his geometrically embossed mini skirts, loose ribbed knit tops with plunging necklines and nouveau-bishop sleeves, imaginatively constructed leather jackets, and felted wool separates covered in intersecting squares. The key to the collection, however, was the accessories (which also happen to be the brand’s biggest consumer attraction). Colorful geometric “Puzzle” handbags, retro sunglasses, sculptured ear cuffs, and amazing belts made from interlocking loops of leather were among some of the pieces on offer. No matter what side of the Anderson argument you stand on, this much is clear, the whole world is now talking about Loewe and that wasn’t the case before he took the helm.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree