#SuzyPFW: Your Better Selves – Loewe Heralds The Return Of The Coat
“There is nothing better than a coat with nothing underneath it, on a man or a woman, because it’s incredibly graphic, it makes you feel that the garment can cope on its own,” said Jonathan Anderson after revealing a captivating collection for Loewe.
It was elegant, intelligent and a return to body-conscious tailoring, as opposed to shapeless padded coats – and it will surely strike a new mood in fashion.
Anderson’s ability to strip the surroundings (as well as the clothes) to almost nothing – instead of the arty pieces he had formally chosen to decorate his sets – was also dramatic and effective. All that was left were circles of pictures on a chain – the calling cards of the high and mighty in the 16th century.
The conjunction of past and present – but never in an over-dramatic way – had the depth of history and the charm of modernity.
The show opened with a black coat tracing every curve of the female body with not an angular line in sight, including the collar and a black leather bag with a rounded strap. The hats worn throughout were also drawn with a compass and were redolent of all those headpieces designed for church and the high class, especially in the Flemish region.
These simple, decent clothes included a white pleated court cloak, a black leather top ending in a frothy white hemline, and a white cotton nun-like apparel under a slip-on waistcoat. The show was all about strictness, worn with ease so that a coat might be a magnificent gilded and grey checkered piece. For every outfit patterned with Paisley, there was another plain, rather grand one, decorated with white lace trimming.
The magic came with the integration of history and reality. From the distant past came colours that were the pigment shades of the 16th and 17th centuries – the period from Mary Queen of Scots to King Charles I. Did they look old-fashioned? The opposite was true. And the mini portraits were doubly charming. What was their story?
“When I went to the National Gallery, I’d seen in the prospectus that they are doing a retrospective of Hillier, who was the court painter for miniatures,” Anderson explained. “I thought there may be something in the air about us looking at ourselves – the contrast of the portrait. Maybe this is where we are now: taking pictures. We always wanted to depict ourselves.”
“My best self” was the perfect way to re-brand selfies in the digital world. It also expressed the designer’s skill at sweeping through history and nurturing what is appropriate for today.
What about the bags? In style, there was a search for simplicity, mostly in soft shades of buttermilk, ivory, camel and olive, leading on through cerulean blue to navy, and from saffron to vermilion – so many shades chosen from artworks of the past refreshed for today.