They say that there’s nothing new under the sun, but then again “they” have never met Jonathan Anderson. The buzzy, young designer pressures himself every season to invent new materials, some of which are so otherworldly as to defy description, while others place unexpected twists on the familiar. Now safely entrenched at the storied Spanish luxury house, Loewe, Anderson took it upon himself to push the boundaries even further for Spring/Summer 2016, and thereby rewrote the history of the house in one fell swoop. He has cautiously introduced a new, more experimental aesthetic into the language of the brand with his quirky ‘Puzzle’ bags and judo-belted saffron leather trousers, but this season represented a giant leap forward, straight into a kind of future fusion that married the most bizarre and the most wearable pieces together in a single look.
Seating arrangements made from shrink-wrapped cement blocks acted as an avant-gout ahead of the show, and the first look echoed Anderson’s love of inventive materials as a trompe-l’œil drop-shoulder sweater came down the runway paired with transparent cling film trousers. Throughout the show, Anderson repeated the wearable vs. experimental motif with pheasant-printed tops and fuzzy angora sweaters worn with plastic plants and crumpled see-through trousers. For the consummate fashion collector, there were jaw-dropping cracked glass sweaters, trousers, and frocks, with plenty of other fashion-forward looks to round out the presentation. On the hunt for ombré leather pants that fade from lavender to white? Wide trousers done in cool silver and glossy black crocodile skins? Nude leather cheongsams? Corrugated suede track suits? Utility jumpsuits decorated with minimalist pheasant-shaped appliqués? Loewe showed all this and more, including head-to-toe logo splashed looks, and toppers that boasted generous sleeves and kimono silhouettes.
However, Loewe’s best sellers have always been accessories, and the onslaught of desirable statement jewelry and bags absolutely stole the spotlight, which is not an easy feat given the mesmerizing amount of avant-garde outfits on offer. There were bamboo belts, sculptured cuffs, and frosty garland bracelets that dripped down past the fingertips. Clear pouches, massive single earrings, and even gold fish necklaces were on display, making an artful splash on Loewe’s runway and throwing Anderson into consideration as perhaps the best “stylist” at Paris Fashion Week. When you’re risking everything under the umbrella of what is technically someone else’s fashion house, the payoff is imperative, but Anderson can rest easy. He’s nailing it at literally every level. Loewe has never been more intriguing.