Jonathan Anderson has made the power of perception, the art of warping it, something of a modus operandi for his time at Loewe. Whether that’s been the angular distortion of dresses and trousers; the manipulation of reversible prints or simply turning denim into an organic garden, clothing becomes Anderson’s wearable version of one of those magic eye pictures.
At the heart (or feet, as it were) of the Loewe Spring Summer 2024 was this toying with perception and its subsequent play on proportions. According to Anderson, he wanted to give the impression of looking at clothes from the ground up.
Pants were hitched up under the ribs contracting the torso while the length of legs elongated, cuffs on sleeves enlarged and even differentiating the herringbone pattern on a coat played with to confuse the eye of the viewer.
Across denim, shirting, jackets and completely covering the surfaces of footwear were thousands of crystals. A detail, says Anderson, that was to look like a filter. But it also had the added effect of looking like glistening water droplets – a nod to the presence of three water fountains created by sculptor Lynda Benglis alongside the runway.
Beneath all the display and subterfuge however, the clothing was specifically familiar: rugby shirts, knitted polos, blazers and banker shirts plus argyle knitwear and the must-have cardigan. This is something that Loewe, and Anderson, do best: make the familiar unfamiliar.
Of course there was the more conceptual pieces, too. Large fabric swatches complete with pin worn as a top; suede tunics that also had built in bags; a leather jumpsuit that looked like upholstery.
A thread seems to connect the quirks Anderson employs so often in his work both privately and Loewe is the manner in which he shifts the gestural elements of clothing. In other words, where our hands go.
(There’s a fascinating field of theory on the relationships between the art of gesture and queerness, the latter being something that Anderson repeatedly infuses in various ways into his work at both his namesake brand and Loewe).
Our our hands are a language in themselves and Anderson’s particular tools of the trade. Seeing them articulated seems to be a unique quirk he enjoys. Cut outs from beneath the actual sleeves of sweaters, the styling of a coat where the hand rests in the deep cut V in the front. This season, one example was hidden pockets above the official version in a blazer.
Perhaps the most entertaining part was Anderson introducing the concept of a ‘dressy top’ into menswear. If you’re unsure what this is yourself, ask a female friend or partner. She’ll be happy to enlighten you.