And it sets the table for a huge Loewe show, Anderson’s second major design role. You may recall that last year Anderson took a hard left turn away from the handmade roots of the Spanish leather house to bloated surrealism. Following JWA, this collection further tore menswear down to the studs. It was a literal exploration of the DNA of style, an examination of silhouette, material and attitude. The audience, Timothée Chalamet among them, was moved when a model appeared wearing a coat hammered out of a sheet of copper: a sculpture of a trench flapping open just to see the wearer on the move. The piece, the season’s most show-stopping runway look, took about 40 days to complete. “I think menswear can be such an exciting platform, as a method of trying things on,” Anderson said in a post-show gaggle. There’s more aesthetic ground to capture in men, he noted, and it’s also a smaller business—and the lower commercial expectations allow for more room to get weird. “I feel like I’m at this moment where I want to push the envelope in different materials or in the silhouette itself,” he added.
Anderson kept pushing with a few rippling shirts and t-shirts made from stiff parchment or vellum, and huge overcoats molded into floating shapes using traditional hat-making techniques, ancient crafts brought into modernity. “I like this idea that it’s frozen in time,” Anderson said of the vellum pieces. “It’s almost as if you had to throw away a t-shirt in -40 [degree weather].” More coats—there were a lot of coats, and even more boy shorts—were cut without buttons, held in place by the models’ crooked hands in a gesture reminiscent of classical portraiture. (Anderson is an art obsessive and collaborated with painter Julien Nguyen on set design .) Other models wore long knickers or simple sweaters with cherubic wings sprouting from their backs.Large rough suede coats and suits, the only obvious link to Loewe’s artisanal identity, were the pieces you could most imagine walking into a Loewe -store and actually buy, but stayed on theme.“I’m obsessed with this idea of the total leather look, that it makes you have an attitude—that the material tells you what to do,” Anderson said.
Anderson has clearly thought a lot about why he makes clothes, and men’s relationship to it, and whether his luxury projects should fit into the universal act of getting dressed every morning. Which begs the question: how does this show have anything to do with what clothes I should buy next season? Anderson has decided he’s not that interested in answering that. “If I showed you T-shirts, you’d hate it. Or you might love it,” he said. He wants you to ask a little deeper about the things we look at on the runways. “I hope we’re entering a period where it’s about being uncomfortable in design, that we’re trying to find something new,” he continued. “Because if we do, then we like clothes. You know what I mean? Not the brand, but the clothes.”
Anderson has a way of setting trends, and I hope one lesson from these two shows comes through: that men’s fashion needs fewer trends and more ideas.