Signaling the hopes stacked on the 30-year-old shoulders of Jonathan Anderson, LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault settled onto a concrete stool at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters to witness the designer’s first runway show for Loewe. It felt like a reset button had been pressed, as Anderson imposed a new template for the brand: lighter, sharper and with an arty slant.
The collection was strong, telegraphing the designer’s unvarnished, almost blunt approach to luxury, exemplified by the opening look on Julia Nobis: a sandy suede column decorated with rough-hewn patches of the same leather. “The Flintstones” had arrived on Avenue Montaigne.
“This brand is about craft, it’s about making things with your hands,” Anderson said during a preview, showing halter gowns with knitted bodices in raw silk, and a black column dress coarsely cut into a patchy, almost shredded composition.
The designer doesn’t disguise the primal nature of leather — the linchpin code of the Madrid-based house. Caveman patches peeled off slim, gold-handled totes and fluttered like torn pages when tacked to the shoulders of leather T-shirts or a slim jersey column.
The mix of earthy textures and organic shapes looked new. Consider a draped, capelike top in blue suede over a free-falling jute skirt with a paper-bag waist and pouch — simple yet striking. Sleeker fare included slouchy, neo-Eighties leather trousers in an array of colors, and a few minimalist trenchcoats in Loewe’s signature Oro camel-colored suede.
Anderson, who hails from Northern Ireland, also knows when to put the scissors down. For example, he simply returned Loewe’s best-selling Amazona bag to its original shape and added a nifty woven texture. “It was already there; there’s no point fixing,” he said.