Friday 5th March

| BY Claudia Croft

Loewe: Ready-to-wear AW21

Jonathan Anderson has risen to the challenges of the pandemic by reinventing the show concept. With fashion shows cancelled, he’s excelled at getting his message across in alternative ways.

“This is an exciting time for creative people because there is only opportunity,” said the designer who predicted a boom in nightclubs and socialising alongside the emergence of subcultures outside of social media, post-pandemic. For Loewe’s AW21 collection, he created a show in a newspaper format, presented in a time capsule tin. “The Loewe Show Has Been Cancelled” boomed the front-page headline, whilst inside, the generous, broadsheet pages unfolded to show Freja Beha Erichsen in the clothes. The designer also gave us an exclusive extract of the first chapter of Danielle Steel’s new novel, The Affair.

We never had him down as the romantic novel type, (indeed he’s currently reading books about Chippendale and Holbein), but he loves how prolific Steel is and how she inspires millions of people to read. “Why are we so scared of mass or popular culture?” mused the designer, whose designs have erred more towards the studied, arts and crafts cohort. He cleverly reached far beyond that audience with this concept. His Loewe broadsheet was inserted into national newspapers all over the world reaching millions more than a regular fashion show.

The designer referenced psychedelia with his mood-altering bright colours and graphic patterns picked out by embroidery. Voluminous sleeves and dramatic drapes secured by oversized buckles were amongst the bold details. The designer also reworked the classic Amazona bag for a 21st century audience. “Clothing is an amazing thing to work with right now. Especially when things are so restricted, because you can have this idea of a fantasy that can become a reality.” With this collection, Anderson makes the case that now is not the time to replicate old norms or promote a neutral aesthetic.

Photography by Fumiko Imano.