It’s only natural that fashion should reflect illogicality when reality becomes outrageous and nonsensical, especially at the art-inspired brand Loewe. Backstage comments about Jonathan Anderson’s fall show included “pushing things toward something that could be irrational” and “primal.”
There were balloons everywhere: red ones between shoe straps, brown and beige ones blown up as bras, the knots bobbling along as obscene parodies of nipples.
The tension a balloon creates. “It pops. It won’t last.”
Pre–WWII mass psychological tension became art in the late 1930s, and surrealism has never been more unexpectedly relevant. It’s already under new scrutiny: The Tate Modern in London recently opened “Surrealism Without Borders”. In the absence of fashion rules, Anderson did things instinctively.
Without reason, last season. It echoes a time when it was natural to react irrationally to chaos. But Anderson’s madness has a method. His first collection of short leather cap-sleeve dresses with swaying skirts reminded me of Réne Magritte. Colors like chestnut and pale pink reflected Loewe’s basic materials and skills as a leather-based house.
The show had a few hints about leather as a luxury. There was a juicy leather balloon-shaped bomber to consider if you weren’t distracted by the rubber balloons (hard). This season’s long, elegant tube dresses have a cool-headed continuity Anderson started last season and is smart to continue, especially when he wrapped one of them around Julia Nobis like a Schiaparelli-like embrace.
Anderson mentioned looking at feminist art. There were footnotes to surrealist Meret Oppenheim (furry shearlings?) and latex artist Lynda Benglis (rubber tanks?) The show’s biggest art-Anderson-Loewe connection was Anthea Hamilton’s series of squashes. It was already a team effort on Hamilton’s Tate performances. The leather squashes were made for her by Loewe artisans.
These connections, these compliments to the intelligence of avant-garde, art-loving Loewe women everywhere, are clever marketing. They buy Loewe for gallery openings and art fairs: it’s their uniform.
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