Jonathan Anderson revels in the concept of sartorial discovery, even when the path there is uncertain. “Sometimes, I kind of feel vulnerable doing a collection, if you don’t know if it’s where you want to go or what you want to do,” Anderson said after presenting his fall Loewe collection on Friday morning. He acknowledged his interest in “building up new silhouettes that can work in a kind of abstract way… ‘dressing to impress.’ I think that’s kind of an exciting thing.” 

Exciting indeed. Willing embrace of creative vulnerability is both rare and essential in fashion; newness can only spring from openness to the unknown. Anderson is a major risk-taker, but because his work so often projects a sense of serenity (albeit an off-beat one), one can overlook the underlying daring. For fall, he looked to Loewe’s Spanish origins, territory he said he’d deliberately avoided until now. He used the inspiration deftly, and the collection bore none of the tropes one might assume from that creative well. What he took: a sense of exuberance and overstatement in terms of proportion.

Anderson got plenty experimental with shapes from the get-go. And if sometimes he went overboard in the name of the artistic flourish — an out-there sleeve treatment or pants with pannier-like hip extensions — so be it. It’s the nature of experimentation that not everything pans out, and far better to see noble missteps, and perhaps the seeds of future wonders, than same-old safe fare. When the clothes worked, which was most of the time, they were superb.

The opening series of dresses with oval fabric breastplates and voluptuous hips had a hard-to-pinpoint oddity; a related look would appear later with ceramic discs by the artist Takuro Kuwata. A beige-and-black multilayered handkerchief hem dress had a waft of last season’s Pierrot chic, as did a pair of blouson jackets and pants so full they looked inflated. Too full for real life? Maybe, but Anderson impressed with his daring. Yet not all constructions were complicated. A pair of giant trapeze coats with contrasting sleeves looked fabulous. Nor did Anderson limit himself to outsize proportions. Among the slim gems: a double-breasted gray coat with tiered skirt and an otherworldly knit dress with extra-long, jeweled, tiered sleeves.

Throughout, Anderson offered endless variety and innovative details, and you had the sense of a creator embarking on uncharted turf. It was a delight to go along for the stroll.    

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