Earlier this week, Loewe debuted its S/S 18 campaign shot by Steven Meisel. On the way into the show, there was an installation of some ceramics by artist Mo Jupp lined up on a shelf. Nowadays, at Loewe, we see an awful lot before the clothes actually arrive. Sitting in the round, whilst waiting for the show to start, the audience faced a wall hung with draped canvases printed with images of black and white photographs - as well tapestries of Meisel's forthcoming campaign images.
By the time the first looks came out, we kind of knew what we were going to see - in a good way. Feeling utterly held by J.W. Anderson's tenure at the house, this designer's commitment to this Spanish luxury house is so steadfast and easeful that one would almost think this label belonged to him. Of course, he is answering a brief, but he is answering it very well. First out were some longline dresses with a squiggly panel of tabletop gingham. Then there were ditsy florals, panniers and cut outs. The lilac gingham interior of one plain mac was enough to make the item desirable. A logo t-shirt, plisséd like curtains created a trompe l'oiel disappearing effect. It oozed sophistication - and threatened to leave the vernacular of branded goods altogether.
The music was crackling, ominous, and reminded one of the Vangelis score for the original Bladerunner. This collection of clothes couldn't have been further away from futuristic if it tried. But it was definitely the future. Cloche hats in hessian, checkerboard ruffles, flamenco-ready upholstery tassels, fringed t-shirts like the ones you would buy in a tourist shop next to the beach, and a jumper with a pack of Loewe playing cards embroidered upon it were all here. The show notes talked about this season being 'an interpretation of femininity' and 'highly textured garments.' Sure there was humour and entertaining design here, what with fringed trenches and intarsia knitted patterns of sunhats on a beach. But nothing about this collection was online or 'of the moment' - which made it very of the moment. There is a thin line between fashionable irony and charm - and Jonathan Anderson's artisan kitsch is making its transition into charm. At many a design house one can become aware that one is seeing the latest bid for the now and next. Here it was just Loewe doing Loewe.