Spanish fashion house, Loewe enthrals us with its Spring/Summer 2023 collection. Nature, ecology and automated technologies find themselves at a crossroads throughout, overlapping and intersecting one another to issue a didactic forewarning.
This season, Paris Fashion Week 2022 assuredly reaffirms its reputation as a global fashion powerhouse. Featuring a myriad of unforgettable runway moments, I can not help but revisit Jonathan Anderson’s SS23 menswear collection for Loewe.
Propelling Paris Fashion Week into a sterile dystopic perspective of the future, the runway becomes the wasteland. Flora and fauna only exist here to be used and abused by the human species.
As Vogue reveals, haute couture is evolving from the stages of Paris toward the digital space of the Metaverse; with our consciousness and sentience increasingly fusing to our digital devices. Anderson defines the transition as a “speculative exploration around the subjects of perceptions, nature and progress”.
The collection creates an amalgamation of nature and technology, intermingling grass and digital interfaces onto textiles. Whilst it’s not necessarily a new theme to hit the runway, the “fusion of the organic and fabricated” is done so by Anderson in an authentic and restorative way.
Spurting from the collaboration between Loewe and Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escaloana, Loewe’s garments literally come to life with greenery.
In a polytunnel greenhouse, Escaloana nurses chia plants and cats wort to life. From here, they make their way onto the long, contracted silhouettes of hoodies, bomber jackets, coats, and denim jeans. The grass from the padded sneakers and the Flow Runner took 20 days to grow in the lead-up to the show. The shape of these garments is taken up and in, both length and longways to achieve a noticeable off-kilter design.
Additionally, many of the pieces result from combining a myriad of materials like ozone-treated cotton and padded nappa, issuing a worn-like feel.
Consistent and repetitious watering of the garments was a must, inevitably leading to a presentation of sodden materials. The green blades of grass left its ‘watered’ mark on the grey jerseys and sweatpants, vibrating surreally as the models committed to an automated march, wearing headphones, positioned amongst a sanitised white arena.
“The idea is that over time the pieces merge with nature,” said Loewe.
It is undeniable that the collection is a visually exciting revitalisation for Anderson and the menswear line of Loewe. And a characteristic colour-blocking and texture-rich aesthetic underpins the pieces.
In the accessories, a fresh perspective affords new life to the luxury leather handbag legacy of Loewe, debuting signature handbags like the Puzzle bag available in solid-coloured iterations. Meanwhile, pre-existing codes like hats and visors from Loewe’s Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear collection were reinvented into plasma LED screen visors sprouting growing chrysanthemums.
An Automated Reality
The organic juxtaposing of the automated is a clear theme punctuating Anderson’s conceptual designs. The designer utilises the set in conjunction with this dichotomy as the catalyst for both design and attentive commentary.
Being no stranger to the realities of a post-digital era, Anderson touches on the metaverse in his Fall menswear show 2022, calling to question the priorities of the human race. It revealed to many that we were more occupied with creating a digital world, the metaverse, instead of improving the one in which we live.
After watching Loewe’s SS23 collection, I couldn’t help but hear the echoes of this sentiment ring out amongst the score of a digital code-like pulsing and the echoes of birds and marine life. You can’t resist the anxieties the looks produce. Models wear garments featuring digital screens, and images of animals appear on the exterior of tops and coats.
Additionally, tech gadgets and accessories including earphones, phone cases and a pen drive fashioned themselves to a leather coat.
It becomes evident that Anderson is issuing yet another warning – and it is grim. Whilst we destroy the world, animals are losing their place in it. Eventually, they will only exist on a screen.
The show is a must-watch for those who haven’t seen it, and for those who have? Why not watch it again! It’s definitely an experience worth reliving.
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