Leaving the Loewe Spring/Summer 2023 show on September 30, many guests, awestruck, shared photos on Instagram. On their pictures? Dresses in metal or polymer printed in 3D, in the shape of an anthurium, a white or red tropical plant, with a central spike, called a spadix. Those who were not physically present at the show broadcast other images: passages 19 and 34. Two silhouettes where a model wears trousers and a top (t-shirt or hooded sweatshirt) which seem composed of Lego blocks or pixels.
Seen from the front and through a screen, it looks like the crude virtual clothes of an avatar… In reality, it is in no way an image tweaked by a computer. These clothes, capable of creating this optical illusion, are indeed put on sale at the end of February in a handful of Loewe boutiques, including that of Avenue Montaigne, in Paris.
Silhouettes that cultivate ambiguity
At the origin of this chimera, in which the fabric imitates electronic dots, are the stylists of the studio of Jonathan Anderson, artistic director of Loewe since 2013. One day, they knocked on the door of the development teams and their asked: “How can we do this? », showing them a large piece of paper of a pixelated t-shirt and sweatshirt, printed from a model in Photoshop. No one had to specify that it had to be done quickly and well: the parade took place a fortnight later…
Jonathan Anderson’s teams – both those of Loewe and those of his own label, JW Anderson – have become familiar with these silhouettes that cultivate the ambiguity between the real and the virtual. The artistic director, who oversees up to eight shows a year, has not stopped playing on this tension in recent months, accompanying his collections (coats made up of touchscreen tablets, wallpaper prints, dresses with touches of computer…) of theoretical considerations in front of journalists. “Screens make us mistakenly believe that we live in a modern society” (Milan, June 19). “Today, we think about the metaverse to the detriment of materiality” (Paris, June 25). “Are we not becoming video game characters ourselves? » (London, September 17).
For the pants, Jonathan Anderson required a slightly heavy but shiny fabric: his teams unearthed an Italian duchess satin, slightly hanging. From there, the people in charge of development applied the XXL pixel design to the pattern, taking care to place the squares well on the fly or on the pockets, in order to emphasize them. The selected silk having a tendency to retract, “We had to slightly increase the measurements in order to have safety margins”, we explain at Loewe.
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