I was not at Loewe this morning when Jonathan Anderson showed his Fall 2016 collection, but I felt an urgency to comment when I saw the pictures start to populate on Instagram. So I got to thinking, as I do, about how important being at a show really is. I played around with this notion last season when I reviewed Céline in a “thought process” piece via Instagram.
Ultimately, all the lingering question marks back then were enthralling. What was going on in that room? What kind of music was playing? Where were the tender moments, when every phone in the room raised for a unanimous look — prematurely identifying the specific garment of the season from an editorial point of view before it’s actually been stated?
But that’s not really how I felt about Loewe. On the contrary, I was mostly just delighted. He had models wearing leather cats around their necks. A ton of them wore gold chokers that looked like caged tubes, some matched with a single drop earring, too. There were paw prints on the shin-length socks that accompanied patent leather pumps and some of the fringe looks, coupled with very elegant carry-on suitcases at best, an homage to the Olsens of yore at worst, were the best I’ve seen. Tie ’em up if you’re bored, let ’em run wild and free if you’re busy. If Instagram has any say, though, the pièce de résistance of Loewe was the assortment of armor in the form of bustier.
If you weren’t at the show, and didn’t bother to take a full look following the show, you’d think those bustiers were paired over everything. They weren’t — they appeared just three times between the rest of the collection, rendered mostly in white, khaki and gray, but with a little bit of red and purple, too. Funny how social media can blow something out of proportion so quickly, eh?
But when I got to the Louvre later that day to see collection #3 since Raf Simons’ departure from Christian Dior, even just sitting down and waiting for the show to start underscored the difference between being there and not. This weird mental jog happens — a visual overstimulation that truly triggers the right side of your brain — when there is such a high condensation of fashion in one room. My head was spinning; the street style was insane. So much Gucci, so many frayed jeans. Where was that coat from? Should I wear a turtleneck with my slip dress? The frame of mind under which you surrender to a fashion show is so different when you’re already in it as opposed to simply scrolling through your phone. You see it through a divergent lens.
And for what it’s worth, by the way, the clothes at the show were good. Terrific in the same way that Lanvin was — it will sell! Sell! Sell!, but where was the fantasy? The escape! The imagination weaving! If I had to guess, this season was especially accessory heavy (each model held a minimum of one handbag, but a maximum of three — each more compelling than the next, all wore sunglasses and the jewelry was everywhere: fingers, ears, necks, arms) because those are the pieces that will move the needle forward until a new designer is announced.
And now I get why the big name designers are so important to some of these houses. They don’t just bring cache with them — they bring their dream boxes. It’s the difference between a room put together by a very competent carpenter vs. a decorator. The former gets the job done, and done well at that, but the latter brings an element of reverie and fancy. I’m ready.
Photographs via Vogue Runway; collage by Elizabeth Tamkin.