Jonathan Anderson gave men sprouting patches in June, now the women get tailflowers
It’s back to nature at Loewe. If you haven’t noticed, Jonathan Anderson has quite departed the craft period of his tenure at Loewe and moving the brand closer to what his own label JW Anderson has been offering. In recent seasons, that means incorporating objects that should not appear on or trapped in clothes. These could be organic and synthetic. Last June, he grew real grass on coats and footwear for the men’s collection. Now for the women’s this season, single-stalk anthurium forms the bodice of the clothes, or turns into bra cups. Strange is putting it mildly, but it is, compared to the early years of studied modernised crafting. When Mr Anderson joined Loewe in 2013 (it’d be a decade next year!), his stylist/collaborator Benjamin Bruno told The Cut recently, “we had to invent a fashion language for it.” Now, not only has that language changed, there is a whole new dialect.
It is hard to pair words with what Mr Anderson dreams up without us creating a new vernacular too. Or, sounding didactic. Perhaps we should put it this way: the ordinary that becomes extraordinary is also exquisite. The choice of a flower for spring is not unusual—not at all, but one that looks more like a leaf and is curved and an elongated heart-shape, and can be used to cover the upper body is of rather special beauty. At this point, we can’t tell what the anthurium in the collection is made of (fibreglass?), but a bloom with a spikey spadix (rubber?) fans the burning of our curiosity: Did Mr Anderson choose it for its potential phallic allure? Or because the real plant is not wearable as the sap is poisonous and may irritate the skin? A toxic flower is as tempting as forbidden fruit?
There is, naturally, quite a lot to see and unpack. But one notable point: Even when the not-quite-delicate anthurium is a bra cup—single or a pair—the dresses do not succumb to the sleaziness some other designers have adopted for theirs. Perhaps Mr Anderson is better at quirky than sexy. And quite far out are the shoes. One pair of them is covered with deflated balloons (a recurrent motif) that, in some, looks like slip-on mops (also called mop slippers). The home maintenance idea (or at least that is how we see it) is extended to four tops that look like massive breastplates, but could have been ironing boards! Can you bend forward in them? A few strapless dresses have front-facing paniers that seem like a side table is hidden beneath them. A quintet of curious bubble-skirted dresses sport necklines that look as if held up by umbrella ribs, but a lace version later shows that the zig-zags and the peaks are really formed by frames.
Of late, Mr Anderson is inclined to visually comment on digital technology that affects us (such as using QWERTY keys in his own collection). For Loewe, he is looking at something that appears at low resolution or is deliberately blurred—indistinct pixels. A T-shirt and a hoodie gets the Minecraft treatment, with the outlines of the garments cartoonishly pixelated. Both are worn with trousers, printed with grided blurring done on purpose. There are look-backs too. Two bib-front shirts, now in leather, recall those from his early Loewe collections, but are more deconstructed (or skewed?) than before. Perhaps the most sort after would be the new bag that is shaped like a well-filled jiaozi (饺子 or dumpling). If that is not goofy enough, there are the open-toe sandals with the upright anthurium (backed by a leaf). With the way the world is now, it really is time to put the bloom in the gloom.