- TextJack Moss
Five people – from photographer Tyler Mitchell to musician Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness – share their memories of wearing Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe, and just how it makes them feel
Jonathan Anderson is one of contemporary fashion’s most resonating voices – in just over a decade the Northern Irish designer has trodden an uncompromising path from wunderkind graduate to the utmost echelons of Parisian fashion. At both his eponymous label JW Anderson – founded for men in 2008, expanding to womenswear in 2010 – and as creative director of Spanish leather-goods house Loewe, a role he began in 2014, he has pushed a generation-defining aesthetic which nonetheless remains entirely unique. At the former, his transgressive, off-kilter designs cross-pollinated masculine and feminine tropes long before such gender-skewing collections became the norm; at the latter, he creates expressive, poetic clothing rooted in culture and craft, where garments might be willfully imperfect, or stretched to the very extremes of technique.
This past weekend, in Paris, Anderson showed his Autumn/Winter 2020 collection for Loewe, seeing the designer pivot towards male glamour, “scorched” and “opulent”. Blousy lamé prom dresses were strapped to models’ chests, like aprons – Anderson noted the transformative thrill of holding dresses to your body as a child – jackets were cut with cape-like sleeves, or with bubble hems, drawn in part from the silhouettes of mid-century haute couture; knitwear was decorated with candy-like coloured crystals or edged with pom-pom-like fronds of fabric. Accessories were typically esoteric, from seal-charm necklaces to the house’s signature ‘Elephant’ bag, supersized and entirely covered in mirrored beads and pailettes. “A fantasy wardrobe,” as Anderson deemed.
The result was a collection which will no doubt thrill the designer’s most devoted followers, of which there are many. Here, in the aftermath of the show, five of those people – from photographer Tyler Mitchell, who recently collaborated with the house on a publication, to musician Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness – share their memories of wearing Anderson’s Loewe, and just how it makes them feel.
Loewe Autumn/Winter 2020
“I first encountered Loewe through those amazing Jamie Hawkesworth campaigns of the boys who looked like they were twinning on the beach. It was so new and fresh. Honestly, the first piece I wore was on the set of my first shoot for them last year, it was their yellow leather wader chaps – they’re so sick – and the first show I went to was the menswear show in Paris in June 2019. It was at Maison de l’UNESCO and it was absolutely so fun. It’s an honour to shoot for a brand that aligns with my ideologies of the expansive ways in which men can dress and present themselves. I love the craft of the clothing, the kookiness of the characters of the world of Loewe, and the fact that you feel like you’re wearing something luxe, timeless, and effortlessly cool all at the same time. It makes me feel BEAUTIFUL!”
“I love clothes that make a lot of sense when I wear them. I live in London and it rains a lot but never gets too cold – my green Loewe long leather parka with my Yzzuf cardigan underneath I wear almost everyday. I also have a red, green and black leather coat from a few seasons ago; I don’t wear it too often but it’s definitely one of my favourite things in my closet. It’s like my past and future in one... very Caribbean in a way that it doesn’t age. The first Loewe show I attended was in February – they posted a picture of me on their Instagram page and someone said in the comments I looked like JoJo Siwa who I didn’t know but when I googled they are kind of right, and it made me laugh – I’m still laughing today. What I love about Loewe though is that it can be bold and noticeable but it’s not loud; it gives people the space to find me rather than me announcing myself. I like being under the radar but when you see me, you see me – Loewe sits right in that zone for me, I never have to think too much when I wear it.”
“The first piece of Loewe I wore was a feathered top: there’s a photo of myself and Michel Gaubert where I’m wearing it – I remember making a huge feathery mess in my hotel room putting it on and taking it off, and to the hotel staff I truly apologise. They may have wondered what exactly had gone on! But the piece that means the most was a custom piece that the Loewe team made for me to wear in New York recently. It’s a version of one of the looks from the Spring/Summer 2020 womenswear collection, and was something I’d loved in the show. It’s an honour to have something that’s been created with you in mind, and which opened up the possibility of a few conversations with amazing people. I’m not sure Skin [Skunk Anansie] would have said hello had I not been wearing something so exceptional! I’m really grateful that Jonathan and the team are so open to combining men’s and women’s collections, and that their ethos already clearly embraced a huge amount of gender fluidity and transgression. Genuinely, I’ve had some transformative musical experiences wearing Jonathan’s work, whether the aforementioned feathered top on stage in London, or DJing in my custom looks. It’s inspiring to me that he’s also a music fan, and makes sense that these collections seem to heighten those experiences for me.”
“I knew of Jonathan’s Loewe through different mediums, but what raised my interest the most was the artistic take in each of the collections: the publications, the campaigns, the show installations and so on. The first thing I bought was from the 2015 womenswear collection – a skin-tight t-shirt with an illustration portraying a dog in the forest pointing at flying ducks on the front. My most treasured piece is a snakeskin aviator blouson, ox-blood; Loewe’s are the leather jackets I wear the most. They are beautiful, elegant, yet have an ease to them, and they’re so comfortable. Jonathan’s clothes make me feel sexy and desired.”
“The first piece of Loewe I ever bought was from Jonathan Anderson’s debut menswear collection, Spring/Summer 2015 – a pair of fisherman-style trousers with wild turn-ups that are now instantly recognisable from the brand. Since then, I’ve bought furry bags, slinky silk tops, and shirts and I love wearing all of them, particularly in the summer. Wearing Loewe makes me feel incredibly chic and luxurious and the quality is second-to-none. More than that, there’s something about the way Jonathan balances both masculine and feminine qualities within his collections that draws me to wearing it. I’ll undoubtedly be wearing the pieces for years to come.”