Surreal times call for surreal measures. So went Loewe’s fall ’22 runway show.
JW Anderson has offered an artistic, at times quirky point of view since he took helm of the Spanish luxury goods brand nearly ten years ago, in 2013. But in the past few seasons, the Northern Irish designer’s aesthetic has veered more into the surreal and avant-garde, a turn he has attributed directly to how the pandemic has changed life — and how fashion might reflect that. For spring ’22, Anderson put forth a series of 3D-formed metallic breast plates that read both as armor and something more sculptural, even grotesque in their angles. Along with a series of sandals with red roses and fake cracked egg shells as heels, the looks captured a tension and strangeness of the time.
This time around, Anderson swapped egg yolk heels for balloons at Loewe’s Friday show at Paris Fashion Week. While confidence in an end to the pandemic may be growing, the world has swapped one crisis for another (or added one). Anderon’s egg shell sandals might have hinted at the feeling of walking delicately, whereas the his balloon footwear suggests the whole thing might just go pop very soon.
As it turns out, the designer cited both a “crude primitiveness” and a “thrill of kink,” to lead the collection, which was heavy on a texture and tactile sensations from latex, leather, felt, tweed, 3D-printed fibers, silk and resin.
To add to the chaos of the collection, Anderson added other touches such as draped dresses with lips breastplates, balloon bras, denim boots and seatbelt sandals. But a closer look and a hint from the show notes indicates the collection has perhaps more optimism than surface-level tension. “The chaos of genesis is rebuilt through items that are not defeatist,” read the show notes.