SPOTLIGHT ON: LOEWE
Jonathan Anderson’s reinvention of the iconic Spanish house continues into its third season – and this time, it’s all about Japan.
This article was originally published on MATCHESFASHION.COM.
Jonathan Anderson is something of a magician. Spanish powerhouse Loewe may be 170 years old, but after just three seasons in his charge, it’s metamorphosed to epic proportions – speaking of which, those supersized denim turn-ups are back, but more on that later. For SS16, the evolution continues.
The Northern Irish designer’s supersonic career has seen him graduate from the London College of Fashion, establish his namesake label J.W. Anderson and helm Loewe – all in just eight years. Anderson’s ascent may have been speedy, but it’s the wise-beyond-his-years approach to design that’s won fans – and the approval of LVMH. Clothing and accessories made with unnerving precision and rich in references – historical, geographical and fantastical – are his speciality, and Loewe is being shaped accordingly.
There was a lot of talk of past, present and future as Anderson debuted his new Loewe for SS15, expressed via archive-sourced elements reworked in uniquely crafted fabrics, advertisement campaigns featuring vintage Steven Meisel images and a bohemian, Ibizan spirit that paid homage to Loewe’s Spanish heritage – all to a unanimously positive reception.
Such widespread acclaim might persuade most to stick to the formula, but not Anderson, who approached Loewe’s second spring/summer offering with typical intrepidity. For SS16, the Loewe man ventures further than the Mediterranean, with a little time travel thrown in for good measure – Anderson is anything but predictable, and the future is key to the label’s reinvention. Japan provided the inspiration for this collection, and Loewe’s St. Sulpice showroom was made over accordingly, furnished with a bonsai tree and 17th-century Japanese doors. There’s a fresh take on an uppawari jacket – a nod to the country’s history – perfectly balancing the now-signature fisherman trousers distinguished by cartoon-like turn-ups, as well as karate uniforms reimagined in ultra-thin leather.
Like Loewe, Japan celebrates the future as much as the past, something Anderson acknowledges with enthusiasm. ‘We’re playing with the codes that we’ve already been building and animating things as we move forward’, Anderson tells Wallpaper*. Such animation figures in a more literal sense, in the form of head-to-toe manga comic prints and on staple shirts finished with cartoonish spaceship motifs. A sweatshirt featuring Disney’s Goofy is playfully irreverent next to luxurious suedes, leathers and linens.
Anderson enjoys playing with context, and the images of this season’s collection are proof. Shot by photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, they depicts model assuming Bruce Lee-inspired moves within a bullring. This isn’t untouchable tailoring; these are clothes to have fun in.
Even the label’s leather offering – a mainstay of the house – arrives with renewed spirit, with iconic bags decorated with Japanese toy-making instructions, or patched with sticker-style rockets. Subtler new finishes abound on totes, briefcases and wallets, debossed with Loewe’s redesigned logo. ‘I tried to find newness in leather, no matter how big or small,’ Anderson continues.
Certainly, inventively engineered fabrics are becoming a signature of the new Loewe. This season, an aviator jacket is rendered in lightweight suede and lined in linen – a material that loses its rustic nature in Anderson’s hands, appearing in luxurious form throughout the collection. The colour is painstakingly considered, too; there is a new caramel shade, intended as a modern alternative to the house’s signature Oro hue. Together with the label’s fisherman jeans and galaxy-printed trainers, it embodies Anderson’s new vision for the Loewe man – respectful of the house’s past but fiercely future-glancing.