After having read and re-read the Loewe Spring 2021 “show on the wall” concept, this critic admits to still facing some uncertainty in understanding. “A set of different elements to be individually assembled by the recipient freezes the fashion content on a wall, in real size. If the previous show-in-a-box toyed with the idea of the miniature, the show-on- the-wall explores the possibilities of a paper show at a 1:1 scale,” read the notes. In layman’s terms, Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson, sought to explore volume with his Spring 2021 collection and sent some scissors and glue to friends of the house to help spread the word.
Inside a hotel particulier in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris, a room was lined with mannequins dressed in the collection. The walls were decorated with paper showing inter-generational models in exaggerated poses wearing the clothes and appearing as if they would step out into the space at any moment. Lockdown appears to have had some sort of Alice in Wonderland effect on Anderson’s psyche. At first glance, one questioned if one had taken a wrong turn. Was this ready-to-wear or ready to dress up for the theater as the characters form Don Quixote?
It was, in actuality, an escape. Blown up to supersized proportions, the clothes ensconced the body in a series of folds, flaps, and knots. “I just wanted to push boundaries; put my ideas in a tumble-dry and see what came out,” said Anderson at his showspace. A few month prior, in July, he had discussed that during the global situation he was focused on doing right by his brand, the Spanish heritage house par excellence conceived in 1846. “It’s not about competing,” he noted.
There is nothing similar on view at the Paris Fashion Week shows and that’s because Anderson has totally eschewed trends. He is consistent in maintaining the Holy Grail of craft, with the clothing looking almost couture-like in their detailing. The Spanish woman is the audacious heroine, and one who has no concern for leading or following but rather existing in her second skin. This second skin, is a melange of broderie anglaise dresses that envelope the wearer like a butterfly with leather zips and silhouettes with protruding hips reminding of Las Meninas. There are supersized balloon sleeves but also balloon skirts with crinolines and hoops, and why not, tulle on the outer layer making it even rounder, more dramatic, and well, quite frankly impossible to sit in. But then, who’s talking about sitting when looking at this collection? Dance, leap, fly, do something—anything but lay down and die. For good measure, Loewe’s newest good luck charm is the seashell bag, to be held up to smell the earth and hold next to your ear and imagine the sea; within it, the diary containing the secret notes of your life’s next chapter.