While some creators have naturally called him this season, Jonathan Anderson hasn’t done everything. Her spring-summer collection for Loewe gives new meaning to the girls in the gallery. Each piece appears to belong to a museum, and the art world is one that Anderson is familiar with.
Since 2015, Anderson has worked with artist Anthea Hamilton, most notably in a 2018 installation for the Tate Museum in London, England. He once again brought in the surrealist to design a wallpaper that accompanied this season’s invitation to give viewers a full experience. Instead of an in-person parade, the Loewe team sent out invitations that encouraged “attendees” to participate in the creativity, titling the collection “Show-in-a-Box”. This box being a package sent to the “participants”, consisting of scissors, powdered glue, a paintbrush and rolls of Hamilton wallpaper. Gimmicky, yes, but in the way high art tends to be, like placing a dot sticker on a Yayoi Kusama exhibit. Expect these broadcasts to crawl your Instagram feeds shortly.
Anderson approached this collection like a historian. “I liked this idea of how we were really going to dive into exploring the art of fashion,” he says in the brand’s collection video, a virtual COVID-19 substitute for a formal walk. “It makes us think of the past, the present and the future. How can you get these three things to communicate without having to ignore the other? ”
And his research shows it. Not only does he note American ceramist George E. Ohr as the inspiration behind new bag shapes, but it’s clear that Anderson bridges the gaps between eras. The collection borrows from Victorian-era couture with its whimsical take on boning and bustle crushed with a puff of rippling shapes from Rei Kawakubo in a playful game of exaggeration. Hamilton’s wallpaper swelled into two pieces. The trellises were dotted with floral appliques, the shoulders padded and the knits were tied.
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With time on her hands in isolation, Anderson pointed out, “This collection glorifies the embroidered hand, the hand woven, the hand.” A structured basket cape in woven leather is both avant-garde, but reminiscent of an Ikea pendant light (we mean this as a compliment). He describes it more eloquently, approaching the silhouette as “that idea of leather craftsmanship that controls silk or becomes more of a poetic armor.” And protecting yourself while embracing the morbid ridicule of life is clever. Somehow Anderson struck a balance between our chaotic reality while designing in tatting. It’s art for the sake of art, but escape might be what we need right now. The collection is powerful yet silent, not unlike Anderson himself, providing balm to chaos, finishing his collection with a crisp white wedding dress.
Some brands are designed for lockdown in the form of left-handed sweatpants, while Anderson wants its wearer to break free from our quarantine chains. We can’t leave our homes, so we might as well be dreaming in bulbous pants. Despite the creation of this entirely remote collection, he wanted to transport the spectators. It pulls straight from history books, recognizes its own frivolity and whimsy in the midst of a chaotic year, but remains a wearable art that looks to the future of fashion. Because Anderson is the future of fashion. “[The collection is] very confident, it really makes the wearer to become Something. It takes them elsewhere. Sometimes it’s good to get away from it all in clothes.
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