As the last silvered skirt and puddling trousers crossed the stone floor of the Unesco building at the Loewe show, I went backstage to get the designer’s take on his collection.
“Scientific!” exclaimed Jonathan Anderson. “It had to be something that felt new.”
How to suggest to a 30-year-old designer that the bold pants, reflective surfaces, metallic materials and bright colours looked rather Eighties — the decade in which he was born? More to the point, did the collection look like Loewe, the noble Spanish brand with leather in the heart of its soul and indeed the soles of its shoes?
In previous menswear and womenswear collections, Jonathan has been making a good job of capturing Spanish elements — the sandy texture of an Ibiza beach or the stone walls of a Madrid bridge. But if there were references here, I did not grasp them. A metallic silver top and royal blue pleated skirt? A Costa del Sol nightclub perhaps. A softly pleated cream top? Elegant for strolling the Rambla in Barcelona. Black broken lines on a red skirt? A Gaudi reference or a circuit board? Whatever.
I don’t want to assign any outfit, like a long striped coat over patent-leather scarlet pants, to a Spanish monument, but I want to feel Spain, the nobility of its elderly gentlemen; the heat and dust; the horses’ hooves on rough terrain; the green verdure and blue water. I got a taste of that in the Loewe accessories, such as the blue and white racing stripes across the toes of knee-high riding boots.
The colours that seemed so plastic for the clothes were splendid for the bags and ringlet belts. A bright blue squishy bag, a yellow envelope clutch, a green belt and even a beige bag with looped leather handles all seemed right for Loewe. Even the modernist jewellery was striking.
Jonathan Anderson has a real flare for accessories. Maybe he should let the dazzling Spanish sun go down on the eye-popping colours and surfaces of his clothes and let the accessories shine.