Show Report

Show Report: Loewe S/S 16 Menswear

by Lou Stoppard on 27 June 2015

Lou Stoppard reports on the Loewe S/S 16 menswear show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Loewe S/S 16 menswear show.

After a J.W Anderson collection that felt sombre and serious, Anderson was clearly in need of some playtime. His S/S 16 collection for Loewe was a celebration of all things sweet and childlike. The hand-crafted, sun-kissed purity that has underpinned his previous work was turned on its head. He’d taken Japanese manga as his inspiration, furnishing knitted suits with Japanese toy-making instructions and printing bags with kitsch weaponry. Elsewhere there were little rocket keyrings, a gold brooch in the shape of a crisp, sweet circular leather pouches and a dinky purse that hung like a tassel on a string and drew inspiration from a historic Asian design - so far, so silly. Indeed, when you list it like that it sounds like the results of a toy fair trolley dash - aptly there was a pop-up antiques-cum-junk market happening outside the venue. J.W Anderson’s strategy at Loewe is making lots of ‘stuff’. It’s less about ready-to-wear and more about the little bits and bobs, nicknacks that people can impulse buy. A sweet leather clutch, a cute charm for your bag, a pin - all ways to buy into the brand, thus democratising and spreading the Loewe name. It’s a quick, short-term strategy for hiking sales. Generate enough press by plastering your campaign all over Paris and hope that people will start investing in the little stuff. Because at Loewe under Anderson the smalls bits are easy, it’s the ready-to-wear that’s difficult or adventurous - see the head-to-toe print or the suits with rounded cut outs to display wrists and ankles. Building a business purely on leather goods and letting the ready-to-wear generate press rather than sales is no new strategy in fashion, but Anderson has a good eye and a skill for dressing the body, so it’s a shame to see such an obsessive focus on accessories. Long term this needs to feel like a more rounded proposition. Anderson’s more than capable of doing that - he’s a classic case of ’curator’ as designer. He’s excellent at pulling together ideas to create a world. That’s the reason Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent is flying, it’s such a clear, rounded offering - his mighty sales are so staggering because there’s growth across every category, not just handbags but shoes, jewellery and ready-to-wear as well. Forward-thinking fashion brands should hope to achieve the same.

You can’t help but feel already like Anderson has started to work to a formula. His menswear presentations feel full of the same products with the surfaces tweaked. Pieces that have done well in the past are repeated - for S/S 16 the fisherman trousers are available in a new array of hues. Similarly, the same plethora of imagery supports the collection - awkward, yellowed shots presented in a bound look-book, the same style every time. The process of re-branding takes time, there’s still stores to be re-furbished, old ideas to phase out. It’s smart that Anderson is keen to firmly establish his perspective, but he needs to ensure the conversation isn’t going in circles - he’s skilled enough to keep us guessing.



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