From calla lilies to offshore diving, Jonathan Anderson explored new artistic territory
The video at Loewe had swimmers battling with the swell of a deep blue sea. The fabrics often looked raw enough for an Irish farm. The super-long padded sleeves might have belonged to Henry VIII and the models wore at the ankles metallic versions of those calla lilies so adored by Marcel Proust.
This could only be Jonathan Anderson in action for the Spanish brand. But in five seasons the Northern Irish, London-based designer has brought such sophistication to the Loewe brand that he seems to have an overall vision that starts from source with home-spun fabrics.
"It's a textured carpet, so we put it on suede, then we flocked it and then we washed it so you get it flat, yet it still feels soft to the hand," the designer said backstage, although it was not easy to fathom whether he was talking about one of the handsome outfits or about the texture of the bold bags that are at the heart of the Loewe story.
The show notes were even more complex - the "Offshore" rolling waves video by artist Magali Reus; inspirations from a backdrop of ceramics, lamps and objects that all looked like mid-century modern furniture. Against those surroundings, the super organic clothes still seemed sensual, with their exaggerated sleeves and recurrent fringing.
Those outfits included things which Jonathan himself had already thrown like a kite into the fashion air - a suitable metaphor to refer to the puffed-up shoulders and elongated frilled sleeves that have made their mark.
The combination of the bold and the soft is another of the designer's statements, meaning trousers long and with the look of liquid. Mid-calf length skirts were also soft and flowing.
But Jonathan added, that "every look is grounded and articulated around the bags," to which he had given appropriate names such as "hammock" and "canoe".
This gives food for thought. With such a skill for tailored coats, for draped dresses, pleated tops and thick knits, how long will the designer be satisfied with this hybrid fashion life: making a powerful collection for a leather bag brand for LVMH alongside his own label for men and women?
To be continued...