“The idea was, kind of take out the noise,” Jonathan Anderson said backstage after his Loewe show. “I wanted something which was like, you know, we’re leaving noise and [embracing] calmness, and kind of comfortable…grounded.” Exactly what noise he wanted to extract — whether that of political statements on the runway, or luxury chasing street, or the obsessive zeal for Millennial affirmation — he didn’t say.
He didn’t have to. Anderson’s show said it all, populated by young women who looked as real-world comely as is possible within their runway-model demographic.
It was one of the season’s strongest shows so far and reminded that beautiful, well thought-out clothes crafted in careful consideration of the women who will ultimately buy and wear them are clothes with noble purpose. In that regard, while watching Anderson’s parade pass, the thought struck that he could fill the void created by Phoebe Philo’s absence — a void that has left countless devotees of hers wondering, “what will we wear?” Anderson obviously can’t engage in the powerful woman-to-woman dialogue that marked Philo’s Céline tenure. He can let his clothes speak for him.
For fall, with the noise extracted, they spoke volumes. The first look out triggered the Phoebe comparison. A checked dress with a silk bra attached on the outside specifically recalled her fall 2015 collection, though had it not been the first look, the likeness might not have registered. But it did, and so, in turn, the feeling that these are some of the most highly functioning, woman-friendly clothes out there. And diverse, to boot. Among the lineup’s several sub-themes: relaxed tailoring punctuated by big, external pockets; fluid dresses and skirts, including supple leathers and airy white silks inset with lace; coats from voluptuous to sleek; shows of skin created by cutting and twisting fabric sections, and wrapping them with raw, colorful yarns. In discreet subversions of men’s wear, an elongated dark gray shirt with sweeping neck scarf topped fluid gray trousers, while the arms of suit jackets in classic tweeds were slit vertically for a cape-like effect.
In fashion speak, to say a collection offers something for everyone often infers blandness. And really, there’s no such thing, anyway. But Anderson came as close as it gets while keeping the clothes compelling, a lineup brimming with many fabulous looks for many different women. He did so in part by being unafraid to embrace certain classics, a point he highlighted with the show favors left on every seat: hardcover editions of five literary novels including “Don Quixote,” “Wuthering Heights” and “Madame Bovary,” each in its native language and with a cover wrap from the brand’s fall 2018 campaign shot by Steven Meisel. The idea, Anderson said, is that “classicism is always there…sometimes you change the cover and make it relevant for today.”