Loewe: Unveiling Craft

The pale lilac dress moved slowly and lightly – as if it were indeed a full-blown garment in semi-transparent material – which revealed a pannier, the bustle undergarments of another era, at the hips.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-1

At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson laid out a fascinating historical vision of what might be worn today: a reveal-and-conceal play on what was once hidden under a brassiere or a bustle, but now was no longer separated from the light of day.

The result was not fetishistic or crude but rather beautiful examples of handwork by skilled fingers. They created the clothes as covers for bare skin, each ultra-light and implying they might be peeled away.“I was looking at coats worn as undergarments that create the structure for a bigger one,” said Jonathan Anderson. “It is like the 16th century (or) 17th century where craft was about the tiniest of things, and with beadwork on light fabric, it became nearly like nightdresses.”

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-2

The designer was focusing on the incredible lightness and almost unimaginable decoration that formed the basis of the show, along with the bags that might be just puffs of Marabou feathers. Those featherlight decorations appeared also on knitted boleros, all adding to a glamour from the past that was made appealing for today. is lucky to have Anderson because his imagination is both modern and historical – a rare combination that seems particularly British. Yet the designer was not referring to familiar English upper-class behaviour, but managed to bring in, with exquisite lightness, references to Spain in a horsey waist over layers of white lace, and a silhouette that might have been inspired by a Velázquez painting.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-3

To be knowledgeable about history but modern in attitude is a rare combination. The designer used the silhouette of a bustle, but also made current pieces, like a knitted white cardigan that might have belonged to his great grandmother, worn with ankle-length dresses scattered with tiny florals. Yet barely veiled bosoms were strictly for current times.

Where did all that delicacy come from – and can it be part of a modern wardrobe?

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-4

“We’ve been working a lot in Spain, in France and England – going back to them and asking how we make this for today so that we can industrialise it?” the designer explained. “You can do all these historical things – but then the dress is unattainable. So for me, it’s a balance: using the right talents, making it feel that there’s a living hand, whether it is leather, cotton or embroidery.”

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-5

According to the designer, inspirations for the collection went from historic christening gowns to Irving Penn photographs. His success story at Loewe was to bring all the elements together in an intriguing way.

Rick Owens: Beauty In Hard Times

“Bubbles are about innocence,” said Rick Owens, after proving his own words with the ethereal and airy circles wafting like clouds above the water garden at the Palais de Tokyo – his favoured Paris showplace, rain or shine.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-6
©Getty Images

As a group of garden pros walked around the water, who could have expected that they would be blowing bubbles at the sober, black outfits so long associated with the designer’s cult style?

Nor that colour would invade the collection like blazing gold or a burst of sunshine.

What did it all mean? Much more than expected, as the designer unwound about his childhood and his Mexican mother.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-7
©Getty Images

The exceptional colour pallet – especially for a designer who is wedded to black – included touches of golden yellow that made the event move from severe to joyous.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-8
©Getty Images

“I never really explored my Mexican-ness, but the debate over a border wall made me more conscious of who I would be separated from,” Owens explained.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-9

“When I was a kid, my dad would drag my mom and me to a run-down Mexican movie theatre in our small town that catered to the migrant farm workers who populated our area… he was white and mom was Mexican and he worked in the Porterville public court system as a Spanish to English translator defending the workers rights.”

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-10

To complete the story, even the music was inspired by the Mexican childhood experience.

#SuzyPFW: Loewe And Rick Owens Finding Inspirations From Their Pasts-11

It is the sign of any great designer that life’s tough reality can be absorbed into a collection. Without being in any way specific about skirts sliced away to the high legs or heads shaved to the crown, the designer gave a sense of pride against hard times. Those floating balloons expressed the fragility and beauty of life – and of this show.