At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson Is Making Clothes to be Marvelled At

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Loewe SS20 Paris Jonathan Anderson Backstage Paul Phung PFW
Loewe Spring/Summer 2020Photography by Paul Phung

A dizzying level of craft made Jonathan Anderson’s S/S20 collection for Loewe his most awe-inspiring yet

“The collection alludes to a patrician elegance,” read the notes for Loewe’s latest show, staged in Paris yesterday. “Where extremes of femininity and luxury are pushed to ethereal heights.”

And so began the latest chapter of Jonathan Anderson’s fashion tour de force – in the latest issue of AnOther MagazineSusannah Frankel propositioned he is “quite possibly the most prolific designer of our proudly prolific times” – with a Spring/Summer 2020 collection where the savoir faire of the Loewe craftspeople was pushed to a precision the house deemed “razor sharp”.

It began with lace – a white-and-black ruff-collared tunic top, with matching trousers, held at the waist with a leather belt which hung with spherical white beads (from afar they read like giant pearls); a pannier-waisted gown, in pale yellow lace, followed. Anderson said he had been thinking about the 16th and 17th centuries, “where the craft was in the tiniest thing, where you had to rely on precision”.

They were the same centuries that lace – whether Chantilly, guipure or marguerite, each in abundance in Anderson’s collection yesterday – was first developed, immortalised in the court paintings of Europe’s most upper of classes. The ghosts of those were conjured here: pointed Vermeer-like collars stretched across the shoulders of shirts and tailoring, there were pannier skirts, billowing sleeves, ornamental satin bows, ruffles, and various delicate white gowns, like those of bygone weddings, confirmations or christenings.

Each was impossibly lightweight: “I wanted [her to look like] she was ethereal, hovering around in something that was light, but at the same time, something that moved as she was walking,” Anderson said. Leather provided a weightier counterpoint: whether the full-length black leather dress, with plissé dropped waistline, or buttery, skin-tight boots which rose well up to the thigh (and, of course, myriad appealing bags, in various sizes). A more seductive note was struck with nods to lingerie (one sheer bra top was dotted with tiny beads and pearls) or marabou-trimmed knitwear – a nod, Anderson said, to “boudoir vocabulary”.

“It’s just about looking. Maybe we should just enjoy the idea of looking, enjoy the experience,” Anderson said backstage at his eponymously labelled show in London earlier this month. This too conjured that same delight: these were clothes to be marvelled at.