Pixels, Polly Pockets, and balloons. What will Jonathan Anderson think of next?
I love to see a designer’s mind in the collections they create; what they’re thinking about and how they think. In the vast universe of fashion, Jonathan Anderson has one of the most exciting minds out there, and it comes through in his clothes. I’m convinced he is a man with a fascinating interior life. When I received the show invitation from Loewe, it was inside a box containing a single flawless anthurium flower. I held it up and spun it, examining it from every angle. It’s so perfect it doesn’t look real, and yet it is. Funnily enough, it’s categorized as a “perfect” flower because it contains both male and female reproductive structures. I love that the idea of perfection in this flower comes from a harmony between the masculine and the feminine. It turns out, that the anthurium came to play a significant role in the Loewe Spring/Summer 2023 show in more ways than one.
Jutting from the floor inside the show venue was a giant replica of an anthurium in a vivid shade of red. The first look, worn by actor Taylor Russell, was a velvety black strapless frock with pannier inserts that pushed away from the body creating a fantastic silhouette. Then the next series of looks incorporated anthurium flowers across the bust. I was struck by how lurid the anthurium dresses looked in person, how magnetic – at once repugnant and alluring. These verdant replicas bordered on "uncanny valley". A series of severely shrunken baby doll dresses and hard plastic (and sometimes metal) floral pieces came next. In the case of the latter, they possessed the proportions of a dress but because of the material they were rendered in, they were something else entirely; sculptural busts you could wear. On the minidress side, there were also versions with spiked cathedral-like necklines draped in jersey. The spikes reminded me of the spires of Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
From extreme minis to extreme lengths, Anderson introduced tunic-like leather pieces with overlong sleeves. Other versions arrived in sweatshirt materials and cashmere. The proportions were deliciously oversized. Likewise, footwear was either barely there – as in the case of clear plastic flats – or oversized like the inflated Minnie Mouse heels. Some were adorned with a single anthurium on one shoe, while the other remained plain. Another pair, which really solidified the theme, was decorated in a choir of uninflated balloons.
Balloons are a throughline for Anderson, an idea he has also played with in past collections. I think the fact that balloons have two different shapes – oversized and swollen with air when inflated and floppy and small when not – speaks to the collection's contrast between oversized and miniature proportions.
Another idea hailed from pixelation, which showed up on pieces both printed and stitched with little boxes in tapering hues. In photos, they looked like a glitch in the system. The Internet went wild for them. There were also chic parka jackets that looked like any other parka jacket, but when you see them up close they were actually made in a wax-coated canvas so that they held their A-line shape. There’s always a twist at Loewe, always a sense of humor and intelligence. It’s compelling stuff, and you never know what Anderson will come up with next. He always keeps you guessing.