Holding up a Mirror to Loewe

With some shows you have to wait until the whole collection plays out but with some, you get it with the opening look.  At Loewe, as the soaring build up of the Naum Gabo track ‘Dino’ grew louder, and you saw legs coming at you that mirrored the cellophane wrapped concrete of the UNESCO building, with hands holding what looked to be a vac-packed clutch, I was already applauding Jonathan Anderson for having the audacity to place plastic so prominently within a collection of this Spanish house, well known for its superb leathers and skins.  And also to have the chutzpah to actually sell them.  Click on to Loewe.com and ye shall find a selection of the S/S 16 pieces already available to buy, and lo, there are those transparent trousers, that you thought might have been a styling trick.  As a layering addict, my dream to don two pairs of trousers at the same time may well come true if I get click happy with my credit card in the future.

It’s with these see through surfaces, sheeny shiny tinsel-esque bracelets, mirror embroidery and luminescent fabrics that peppered the collection though that Anderson could see with clarity, the luxurious leathers, suedes and natural materials that the house is capable of shaping and moulding.  Anderson doesn’t look like he’s been delving deep into the Loewe archives but when he does, it comes out emerging like an entirely new statement.  Like a goose print that came from an old scarf print that finds its way soaring over white dresses and as mirrored brooches.

Anderson’s vision for the house isn’t an easy one to get though.  It kind of hits you hard with the odd and the unexpected.  Like Loewe’s logo label made into a repeated ribbon top and trousers.  Or a lone mandarin collared dress in lemon yellow.  Or a cartoonish painted cat turning up on a Flamenco drawstring bag.  Or one singular Karl Blossfeldt black and white botanical photograph printed on paper and superimposed onto cotton.  Unlike his own collections where he often repeats motifs in sets of three, here at Loewe, the rhythm feels deliberately broken up and jagged.  Anchoring it all are the consistency in the bags like the successful Puzzle, rendered in both luxurious croc and lo-fi rubber and clear PVC, and the solid Flamenco, given a zippy Loewe in quasi-futuristic typeface (another archive gem).  They’re the all-important accessories that of course are central to Loewe’s commercial success.

And despite making us ponder pseudo-intellectual contrasts between hard and soft, real and fake, man-made and natural, beneath all of that show critic jargon, there are plenty of things here that immediately grab you.  Hence, why those pre-order selection of pieces on the website look so enticing.  When you find yourself wanting to spunk a ton of cash on a giant piece of mirror to lob on the ear or some silver tinsel fringing swinging from a top, that’s when you know Anderson can really pat himself on the back.  The lucid transformation at Loewe is almost complete.  The vision is further crystallised.  Anderson has made me want to throw down my plastic in exchange for his plastic.  Good bye, new lawn turf.

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14 Replies to “Holding up a Mirror to Loewe”

  1. The only interesting thing from the collection is the use of plastic for trousers, sandals and coats, giving a feeling of wet-shiny skin, i love it! For the rest, I think that Anderson has gone too far with the prints… The collection isn’t Loewe’s at all.

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  2. I’m curious as to whom you think the target demographic for this collection is. I realize Loewe’s bread and butter is leather (plastic?) goods but surely they hope to sell some of the clothes as well. When old prestige houses bring in fresh designers like JWA at Loewe or Decarnin at pre-Rousteing Balmain, are they able to support the upheaval in aesthetic because no one was really buying the old clothes anyway? Not that I dislike the collection, it’s just that the appeal seems pretty niche.

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