Jonathan Anderson’s debut S/S 2015 collection for Loewe: we speak to the designer about setting a new agenda
’I like the idea that people today are so culturally aware that everything that goes into their homes matters as much as each piece of clothing,’ explains Jonathan Anderson, musing on his pragmatic approach to designing Loewe and the ingenious curation of objects and heritage that goes along with it. Unveiling his first menswear garment and accessories collection to editors at the label’s Paris HQ on Friday, Anderson discussed the painstaking process of salvaging its scattered archives whilst injecting his own JW Anderson touch.
Among his raw and minimalist ideas for the Spanish house - which include a celebration of leather in its untreated, natural state - he spoke about Javier Carvajal, the Spanish architect responsible for Loewe’s mid-century store design and clean, Modernist image. With new stores rolling out worldwide, starting in Tokyo this summer, Carvajal’s spirit is returning in a myriad of ways, not least of which a re-edited 1959 chair in walnut and leather latticework already available on the brand’s website.
For S/S 2015 inspiration, Anderson filed through back issues of Vogue Italia, only to develop a fixation on a 1997 Steven Meisel shoot of beachside boys and girls inspired by the work of painter Alex Katz. ’I’m inspired by fashion imagery and I am not afraid to show it,’ says Anderson, divulging how those pictures quickly became the cornerstone of his entire collection.
He has republished them alongside new work by Meisel and longtime JW Anderson collaborator Jamie Hawkesworth to form the season’s multi-layered visual campaign, shot in studio and on location in Càdiz, southern Spain. It is there that Anderson’s python espadrilles and cotton-lined, turn up trousers find their spiritual home - invoking the utilitarian, coastal ease of fishermen wading in the salty shallows.
Another train of thought, and one more akin to his own Britannic roots, saw Anderson reflecting on children and their building blocks, an idea that informed the cut-out Meccano cogs and sprogs adorning shoes, knitwear and leather goods, and the bright red, blue, green and yellow that pops from the warm, earthy leather base. ’I used Meccano as an abstraction; I thought about the formula a child would use to rebuild something, and that primary colour palette,’ explains the designer.
While retro, kitsch ideas like that are a welcome graphic shake-up for the brand, it is the luxury leather that will be seducing shoppers unfamiliar with Anderson’s avant-garde bent. The washed nappa trench and goatskin polo shirts are feats of 21st century decadence - their concept intangible at first glance, fading far from significance at first touch.