Alongside David Sims’ images of Loewe Spring/Summer 2022, Jonathan Anderson tells AnOther the story behind the collection, in his own words
Jonathan Anderson remembers going to TK Maxx as a teenager, picking out an orange jacket and some tiger-print trousers, which he then wore to an event at his high school in Northern Ireland. Sadly, he was “destroyed” by his peers; afterwards, he returned to the inconspicuous rugby jersey, never attempting such a look again. But the moment stuck with him. “Ultimately, in the end, everything I do – especially when it comes to men and gender – is an obscure fantasy of what I would love to get up in the morning and wear,” he says over Zoom.
Anderson’s latest Loewe collection – presented in two hard-bound books and a series of posters, alongside a bag of glow-in-the-dark stars – mines this moment of youthful experimentation, one first explored in his eponymous label’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection last week. “This idea of going back to when I first started is, for me, trying to find naivety in clothing right now, so I can reset my own thinking,” Anderson explains, likening his own primal fashion moment – moving to London to attend university – to what we are all going through now as we decide what we want to wear in the world, who we want to be. “We’re going through this taste thing where we don’t know what our own taste is any more.”
The resulting collection explores these eccentricities and anxieties, proposing a rave-tinged pile-up of colour, print and surface texture in response – “clothing is theatre,” Anderson asserts. He likens the bold looks, which might be trimmed with fronds of tinsel or decorated with sequined zebra stripes, to “seeing a crocodile on the street”. “That’s what excites me about fashion – we are still uncomfortable about the idea of the eccentric.”
In one of the hard-bound books, these looks are captured in a series of collages by David Sims – the photographer is a longtime hero of Anderson’s – akin to the posters and flyers handed out for club nights in Ibiza in the 1990s. “I wanted this super-surrealistic approach to the flamboyant male,” he says of his decision to shoot with Sims, backdropping these images with a monograph by the young German painter Florian Krewer, whose strange, colourful figures are often seen hanging out at night. “I saw his work several years ago at a show in London,” he continues. “I have never had a reaction to painting when I look at the work and I want to be in that scene because I don’t understand it. I don’t know that world ... I’ve never had a night out like that.”
Here, Anderson tells AnOther the story behind the collection, in his own words.
“Fashion has a capability to change your mood. It really does something to people. I’ve been looking at the fantasy of going out, but not necessarily doing it. We are in this weird moment where we can but we also can’t. I have no idea what to wear anymore. Usually I wear a navy jumper and a pair of jeans. Now I’m wondering if I need to wear colour to make myself feel happy. We’re all going through this taste thing where we don’t know what our own taste is any more.
“I remember growing up in Northern Ireland, I would go to TK Maxx. I remember buying this orange jacket with tiger-print trousers. It was pretty hardcore, and I remember wearing it to a high school [event], and I remember being completely destroyed. I never wore it again and I went back to the rugby jersey. This idea of going back to when I first started is, for me, trying to find naivety in clothing right now, so I can reset my own thinking.
“Ultimately, in the end, everything I do – especially when it comes to men and gender – is an obscure fantasy of what I would love to get up in the morning and wear. I would love to put on a pair of baby blue shorts and a neon top with a pair of classical leather shoes and feel accepted. Clothing is theatre. If you put one of these looks on the street, there is anxiety around it. It would be like seeing a crocodile in the street. That’s what excites me about fashion – we are still uncomfortable about the idea of the eccentric.
“It’s about a moment of flushing things out. I needed this year and a half to play with anxiety, the things I like and dislike, so when I come out of it, I can start rebuilding a new silhouette or new archetype.”