The little pot of watercress shoots that served as this season’s Loewe invitation foreshadowed the collection more than anyone could have anticipated.
Seasoned reviewers leaned forward to inspect sneakers with blades of grass shooting upward, wondering if the trembling tendrils could actually be real. When dampened sweatpants bearing clumps of chia greenery started shedding tiny leaves as the wearer walked, the sense of wonder intensified.
Jonathan Anderson orchestrated a gripping spectacle that exalted nature and technology in tender and disquieting ways, while also providing fashion thrills. This was easily his strongest Loewe men’s collection to date, headlined by a wealth of handsome leather outerwear, and eye-grabbing footwear.
The designer laid out a sterile, sloping white set, the models emerging backlit over the horizon and then treading down toward the audience. Anderson embedded screens into some clothes — a set of blinking eyes on a T-shirt where the pockets might be, or a flock of birds or school of fish moving over multiple monitors fronting a roomy topcoat.
The faces of some models were obscured by semicircular screens that broadcast buzzing bees or screensaver fireworks. “In a weird way, we are becoming the screen somehow,” Anderson mused during a backstage press scrum, describing how people sit in cafés or on trains glued to their devices, oblivious to the urban bustle or passing landscapes unfolding IRL. “It’s this idea of how nature can lead technology, or technology can lead nature.”
Anderson reprised the bubble-shaped napa jackets from his Loewe women’s show for fall, applying various degrees of padding to create sensational snap-front leather shirts, hoodies, parkas and bomber jackets, one that extended to the ankles. Ozone-treated cotton, which creates an aged patina, was similarly padded to create cool polo shirts and rumpled trenchcoats.
Most looks were shown with bare legs or logo running tights, lending the whole show an après-workout vibe. Delicious colors — for nubby sweaters and tabards, ball caps and offbeat padded sneakers — heightened the desirability of this confident collection.
Anderson collaborated with Paula Ulargui Escalona, a Spanish fashion designer who has been experimenting with growing plants on fabrics, to create the verdant Loewe clothes and shoes. Readying the looks for the runway took 20 days of supervised growth in a special polytunnel, so they won’t be commercialized.
But Anderson said Loewe plans to install displays about cultivation in its stores, and sell seed packets alongside the fashions. It’s a start.