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It seems Paris men’s week is where all the action is. We’ve seen several catwalk debuts from new and established designers, like TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist, Fumito Ganryu, and now, Jonathan Anderson.
The designer not only brought his J.W. Anderson label from London to Paris, but also gave his men’s collection at Loewe a proper runway show, after opting for special events and installations for the past few seasons.
As the PFW energy continues to rise, designers meet the challenge by creating spectacles tailor-made for the social media age. In this case, Loewe’s set was punctuated by an ochre yellow cotton sculpture from German artist Franz Erhard Walther. His work is unique in that it elevates the specator experience to bring a profound value to his art.
“When you take it into your hands, you change its status,” says Walther in an interview with Hans Ulrich Olbrist. “You turn yourself into a pedestal, into a plinth, by holding the piece. Then, putting it back turns it into a traditional sculpture again.”
In that context, Anderson’s plays with proportion, masculine connotations, and materials once again bring up the throughline between art and fashion. Is it worthy of admiration because of the concept behind the design? Or does it have to do with the artful craftsmanship of a piece?
The collection offers a dichotomy between Anderson’s penchant for statement-making garments and traditional menswear tropes. Of course, they’re flipped on their heads in ways like flowy dress shirts with elongated sleeves (a reference to Walther’s peeling forms), and nipped two-button tuxedos in colors like dusty pink and exploded houndstooth, with contrasting satin peak lapels.
In a way, Anderson’s flair for exciting, runway-ready pieces (that will likely become the street style bait of next season) makes it so the more basic items stand out. A bubblegum pink turtleneck with the Loewe crest on the chest, color-blocked shirts in powder blue and white, and even a printed satin shirt featuring Marilyn Monroe function as the kind of accessible pieces “real” guys look at and think, “Hey, maybe I could wear that.” On the other, they’re a gateway to the more advanced garms that titillate even the most elite of fashion snobs.