High Art and Absurd Humor Meet on Loewe’s Spring/Summer 2022 Runway

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From the outside, fashion looks like the most glamorous industry in the world. Beautiful people, beautiful clothes, expensive accessories, glamorous dinners and parties, celebrity gossip… the public’s fascination with fashion is understandable. Yet, from the inside it can be an exhausting race with no recovery time. Those parties and dinners are work, and they happen after-hours, when most of the career-driven are curled up on the couch. Fashion Month is back-to-back, you don’t even have weekends off, and there are four major Months on the calendar. Then you account for editorial shoots, content production, social media outreach, and more, and it’s a job that feels 24 hours long. Burnout is practically inevitable.

Fashion’s authentic emotional moments are few and far between. When’s the last time a fashion show moved you to tears? Made you feel something? For Spring/Summer 2022, Loewe brought heightened emotions to the runway, and the experience was akin to spiritual. In so doing, Loewe’s Creative Director Jonathan Anderson sought to break the mold of his previous work. According to show notes, he was inspired by “the mannerist, hysterical world of Renaissance painter Pontormo, exploring notions of draping, sculpting and color by way of torsions, diversions, and distortions.”

Photo: Courtesy of Loewe

Emerging from a staircase beneath the bleached white wooden floor, models rose to the stage. Every entrance became an enchanting reveal. The first looks were thrillingly odd, akin to Rei Kawakubo’s iconic collection for Comme Des Garçons Spring/Summer 1997, which was colloquially known as “Lumps and Bumps” but was really titled “Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body”.

High artistic concept meets commerce; that is Anderson’s territory.

Instead of Kawakubo’s rounded protrusion, Anderson’s were sharp and angular, jutting out from the body like the model was secretly smuggling a set of tableware – placemat and all. What of this will be commercially produced – or how – remains to be seen. But as odd as it was, it was thrilling. Anderson’s sonorous score and serene setting made these angular silhouettes look even more strange and compelling. It wasn’t long before we were on the edge of our seat, straining to see what came next.

And Anderson, as always, did not disappoint. Prior to the show, the house of Loewe released a few short clips on Instagram featuring a foot smashing down on an egg. Then down the runway came a heel, from which an oozing molded egg was stuck. It was hilarious, and utterly charming. Other comical heels came in the form of soap bars, nail polish bottles, and upside-down roses, each rendered to look like a replica of the real thing. These are going to fly off the shelves. High artistic concept meets commerce; that is Anderson’s territory. As for his diversions and divisions, explored with unique draping techniques, they were done in sweet pastels, and were downright tender, attracting the eye with their strange beauty.

Other items that provoked a strong reaction were Loewe’s backwards-worn trenches and jackets, gilded breast plates worn atop colorful stretchy dresses, puffy separates that resembled track suits that had been injected with helium, and stiff capes that curved down toward the arms like a beetle’s wings right before they settle onto its abdomen. A flight of fancy? Sure. A fashion risk? Perhaps. Yet, by the end we felt enraptured, willing participants in Anderson’s spell that allowed us to remember why we got into this crazy industry to begin with.

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