Ambitious, cerebral, and at times confusing, Loewe’s presentation might have lacked cohesion or clear themes — but it did offer a lot of talking points.
The darkness that sent guests reaching for cellular torches to light the way to their seats at the Loewe Fall/Winter 2017 show was perhaps a metaphor for society at the edge of a widening political abyss. And perhaps the sharply fluctuating temperature inside the venue – from hot to cold – was an allusion to climate change. Maybe the tiny bomber jets that were strung along the front of some of the looks signified impending friction between countries, so too the embroidered handkerchiefs that resembled a parting memento from a lover who went off to war. The quilted looks and rumpled checkerboard prints were reminiscent of forgotten picnic blankets left to idle inside of wicker baskets stuffed into basement closets. Jonathan Anderson riffed on dozens of metaphorical and symbolic references throughout the show, but none of them gelled to create a sensible picture.
Ambitious, cerebral, and at times confusing, Loewe’s presentation might have lacked cohesion or clear themes — but it did offer a lot of talking points. Namely, the exaltation of craftsmanship, Loewe’s current stock-in-trade thanks to the mastery of all manner of techniques by Anderson. He hopes to make his brand synonymous with the restoration and revival of nearly-extinct design practices with his inaugural Loewe Craft Prize, which just named its first shortlist of artisans. He also displays it in his own work, with raw-edged appeal that makes his sophisticated looks appear secondhand and well-loved.
There was something romantic about this collection in particular. Where previous collections pointed to a well-bred, art-collecting Loewe woman, this version seemed more touchable and less aloof. For that reason, it was one of his most accessible and commercial presentations to date. Fair Isle sweaters, blouses and dresses with billowing sleeves, sculptural leather pieces, skirts made of intersecting rose pink discs – it all had wide retail appeal. There were fashion-forward surprises as well, like a feathery plume escaping from the cuffs of a checkered jacket and a plissé dress decorated in haphazard stitchwork.
Anderson’s conviction is palpable and his talent unmatched.
Anderson’s success trades in the tiniest moments of shock and awe, but string enough of them together and you have creative work that really means something, or it seems like it does at first blush. His conviction is palpable and his talent unmatched. Part art installation, part social commentary, and part fashion show, Loewe has ascended to become one of Paris’s most important Fashion Week slots. We didn’t need a narrative to see that.