Beyond the typical limited scope of a runway show and its curated guest list, Loewe’s Fall/Winter 2021 announcement was heard around the world. There in black and white, literally rendered as front page news: “The Loewe Show Has Been Cancelled”. You would have seen it had you been browsing the weekend edition of Le Figaro, The Asahi Shimbun, The New York Times, or scrolling through Instagram.
Since the pandemic began, Loewe’s Creative Director Jonathan Anderson has been cleverly compiling a new way to experience his collections. Called “a show in a box”, it arrived at the doorstep of the roughly 1,000 guests who typically would have been invited in person to the Loewe show at Paris Fashion Week. Previous incarnations have been devised as a “show on a shirt”, where he printed his entire menswear collection on a colorful oversized tee, or as a “show on the wall” for Spring/Summer 2021 (complete with a craft kit for creating an in-home version of the show).
For Fall/Winter 2021, the “show in a box” contained a newspaper with the collection’s images, a paper cutter, and a leather mat. An additional level of intrigue was added to the mix with a 26-page excerpt of Danielle Steel’s The Affair, bringing to mind the serialized format of storytelling that used to dominate newspapers and magazines.
This is already a lot to digest, but at the center of Loewe’s creativity storm is the collection, which offered an electrifying assortment of whimsical shapes and bright, primary colors in combinations that delighted and provoked the imagination. Anderson circuitously creates things that are hard to describe and easy to love. His approach is spiritually similar to Martin Margiela, in that they both create clothing and accessories that are perfect and perfectly unusual for their time. Injected with bold color and oversized geometric adornments, the Loewe collection feels significant for this moment.
Our lives have contained a dearth of energy, thrill, fun. Worry, concern, and doubt have crowded every corner. With Loewe’s cocooning coats with emerald sleeves, orange separates covered in zig-zagging, multicolored lines, royal blue suits trimmed in utterly massive tassels, eye-popping cut-out knits covered in leather halter/harnesses, and carved shoulder dresses trimmed in lampshade fringe, there is a sense of permission. Permission to dress up, permission to experiment, permission to dream, permission to project oneself into a more optimistic future.
As always, the accessories were impeccable, featuring thick-soled brogues, laser-cut leather totes, court heels with swaddled buckles, colorfully printed ‘Puzzle’ bags, and more. It was a feast for the eyes, and for the soul. The physical show might have been “cancelled”, but the headline buried the lede. The show went on — just in a new, more whimsical way.