There’s minimalism and then there’s the Loewe Fall Winter 2023 menswear collection, an allusion to minimalism without having to give anything up.
Jonathan Anderson – he of the grassy denim, the wonderfully warped silhouettes and the TV heads – posed a question with his latest collection for Loewe menswear: how does one define the concept of minimalism. Does it exist on a Kinsey Scale-like spectrum? Minimalism for Donatella Versace is very different to the minimalism of Jil Sander, for example.
Anderson’s approach is to do away with the term altogether. Instead, it’s a reduction. A reduction in materials, in the theatrics of the event and even in some of the visual tricks he has himself become known for. To showcase the Loewe Fall Winter menswear collection, Anderson stripped it back. The space was empty, white walls with no other distraction to take your attention away from the clothes.
The clothes themselves became the sole focus of the experience. Radical, yes, in an age where spectacle equates luxury or grandeur. But it gave the audience time and the (literal) space to digest what they were seeing come down the runway: delightfully playful pieces that were simultaneously simple yet retained that signature Anderson/Loewe irreverence towards tradition.
Ahead of the show, invites were sent out with original artworks created by Los Angeles-based artist Julien Nguyen featuring model and Loewe regular Nikos in boxer shorts and tie. A nod to the illustration of Fortune by Prud’hon, it recalled the sensuality of the Romantics. Languid and just this side of foppish, the artwork was itself an allusion to the erotic nature of clothing and what it covers.
Which leads us straight to the undergarments, ye olde long johns to be precise, which for Loewe became the trousers in a casually slouched style along with boxers in hammered silk that had the whiff of “the morning after” about them.
Matching silk shirting delivered the same lived-in approach to luxury – what is luxury if not the comfort to dress as you like? – while jackets and coats, the true stars of the show, became the canvas for Anderson to showcase the skills of Loewe artisans and craftsman.
From bulbous jackets to to blazers fused into solid seamless shapes or trench coats that looked like wearable cushions, Anderson played on the relationships between structure, softness and texture. Fabrics in burnished bronzes and satin-finish steel created a sleek suit of armour for the models.
The return of functional footwear, an update on the Chelsea boot, was given a sparkling update along with furry slipper-like pieces while the signature Puzzle bag was transformed into a giant Puzzle Tote. The standout? The curious case of the coat with a cutout through which a single hand peeked.