PARIS, France — “Post-industrial fashion.” Jonathan Anderson has a knack for conceptualising his extraordinarily fanciful work in reductive terms that don’t really do it justice... except that, on reflection, the men’s collection he presented for Loewe on Thursday could actually be construed as something produced by people who had rejected the mechanical in favour of the handmade in all its charming, naïve, irregular glory.
It was almost more pre-industrial fashion in its appreciation of ingenious craft. There were so many arcane bits and pieces, dangling doodads (I particularly liked the flask entombed in black napa), items raw-edged, rough-hewn, loosely knotted, that a spirit of joyous bricolage saturated the whole thing, like an optimistic salvage job on the wreckage of a failed society. So there was an almost fairytale subtext about an old newspaper, The Loewe Street Journal, and the news boy who’d hawk it on the street (modelled in Steven Meisel’s accompanying campaign by Amber Valletta’s son Auden).
And you could extend such a passing fancy into another of those slightly surreal narrative strands that Anderson weaves through all his collections. With Loewe, they often involve a sense of traditional, humble community. Here, there were Aran knits (as a laundry bag and leggings too) and crochets of old sailors, patchworked tartans, a hessian peacoat and a huge fringed blanket reconfigured as a parka. Leather aprons suggested a working man of an idealised yore. There was a baguette-shaped leather bag into which he’d be able to slot his lunch. And then there was the confounding rest — the rainbow shearling coat, the multi-coloured shirt with streaming sleeves fit for a jester’s motley, the silver-toed Edwardian gentleman’s boots — the detritus of a world fallen apart, reconstituted with a humanistic faith in the transformative power of the human hand. And how uplifting is that?