Jonathan Anderson — while designing for both his namesake label and during his tenure at Loewe — has a fascination with the biting point between fantasy and reality. Or, to put it better, between “realness” and “fakeness.” Artifice is a topic he comes back to again and again, be it last season’s Instagram-breaking shoes, the ones where the heel is a half-deflated balloon, or the velvet dresses from that same season which show two red fingernailed hands draped around the body of the wearer.
For Loewe Spring Summer 2023 he pushed the conversation even further, staging the collection around a remarkable showpiece — a 30-foot anthurium, out of which flowered the stream of models wearing his new-season wares. That floral motif was a thread that continued throughout the 54 looks, worn as an oversized bustier top with sharp black trousers or as the bodice of a flirty little mini dress.
The opening look, an otherwise simple strapless black evening dress, was structured to jut out dramatically at the hips à la the 1700s, and paired with an anthurium statement sandal. Little babydoll and knit dresses were similarly cut to flare out in almost cartoonish silhouettes (“almost” being the operative word, as nothing about Anderson’s designs ever feel silly or unserious). The sleeves of sharp shirt dresses were so long they fell almost to the ground, and a shirt and trouser combination was fitted with a striking pixelated trompe-l’oeil.
This idea, of blurring the line between what looks fake and what is fake, was pushed to new heights this season, and one gets the distinct sense that Jonathan Anderson is really in a constant dialogue (and perhaps competition) with himself alone. This was evidenced by the subtle continuations of threads from past collections — this season the balloons reappeared on shoes, but as graveyard of deflated, empty red sacs, crafted into an oversized pump. What’s clear is that Anderson is a designer operating at the height of his abilities, and it’s a thrill to watch.