Loewe: From copper to Chalamet
A thrilling display of art-inspired garments, metallic clothing and star appearances with the fashion plate of the planet Timothée Chalamet in the front row of the Loewe show on a chilly Saturday morning in Paris.
Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson telegraphed his intentions by sending all guests a miniature circular reproduction, in limited edition of 600, of the Julien Nguyen’s painting The Guise of Fortune, courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.
Subtitled, 'Ubi Amor, ibi Oculus', meaning 'Where Love is, There is the Eye', it preordained the show’s mise en scene. Two giant LED screens with reproductions of Nguyen paintings, of gilded youths demi-undressed.
A sense of portraiture in the opening looks, where models held their right arm akimbo and resting at the point of where two very long lapels met, practically at the crotch.
Unveiled inside a light-filled interior tennis court, the collection featured some marvellously inventive tailoring - elongated suede dusters that made seemingly out of just four pieces of leather; ankle-length undertaker’s coats and beautiful velvet trenches that looked as if it were made of sealskin, but weren’t.
“Looking at the historical and thinking how you can inject that into present, by using Nguyen’s art
as a backdrop in our show. Menswear can be such an exciting platform to trial things, by pushing the envelope in different materialities,” explained Anderson.
Jonathan also sculpted a series of jackets so stiff they stood right off the torso. Cunningly smart looking, the first example caused an audible ripple of appreciation among the audience.
Though the stand-out pieces were two metallic jackets in solid pewter and copper. Built for Loewe by a maker of computer plates, these jackets took 40 days to produce, since the jackets managed to look like they were moving.
Garments came back-to-front – like little velum tops or woollen V-necks, where the models sprouted stiff wings. As in the Nguyen tableaux, the show featured lots of underwear – from ribbed cotton long johns to silk boxers. Like in his show in Milan, there was an awful lot of undies on display at Loewe, but where it had seemed rather slight in Italy, today it only encouraged more focus on how innovative this whole show was.
“I like idea looking at undergarments being quietly sensual. It’s about challenging idea of menswear. Taking something quite extreme using men’s fabrics, or something quite simple but made in an extreme material,” stressed Anderson, who created tops in thin velum, used by early miniatures painters, and putty sand inside a white T-shirt to give them modular shapes.
Backed up by a great soundtrack featuring UK electronic composer Clark, this was a great show, a living laboratory of fashion, and a work of performance art.
“To my mind, fashion has never felt more exciting. The landscape is changing, and as a designer you have to look at the culture and respond to it. That’s why I wanted Timothée here. I feel he embodies the idea of being embedded into culture. You start with something on the fringe and you become part of mainstream. Hopefully, we are entering a period in design where it is about feeling uncomfortable because if we do that it might lead to a moment of enjoying the clothing and not the brand. It’s good to be willing to reinvent yourself,” he concluded.
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