Jonathan Anderson has questioned how to best respond throughout the pandemic. With normal show schedules shelved, Anderson spent much of 2020 developing an approach to presentations that didn’t attempt to replicate what had gone before but offered something both new and pleasurably tangible.
First, there was his “show in a box,” featuring paper-block lookbooks, letters, and fabric swatches. Next came a “show on the wall,” which included a roll of wallpaper designed by artist Anthea Hamilton and life-size posters of models wearing the women’s spring 2021 collection. Now, for Loewe’s fall 2021 men’s show and women’s pre-collection, he’s turned his attention to another tactile object: the book.
Like previous Loewe presentations, this one comes in an intriguing cardboard box. Inside, Eye/Loewe/Nature (the arm of the brand devoted to recycling and sustainable textiles) is present in the form of a “show on a shirt,“ a T-shirt printed with all the designs from the latest collection.
The main star, however, is a huge, gorgeous coffee-table book, coverd by AFRICA, 100% cotton tissue by Manifattura del Seveso, devoted to writer and artist Joe Brainard (who lived from 1941 to 1994), who forms this season’s central influence. With a preface by Brainard’s friend, poet Ron Padgett, and an essay from art critic Éric Troncy, inside are life-size photographs of Brainard’s writings and works that aim to replicate the feeling of sifting through the original artifacts.
“If I go to an exhibition, I usually buy the catalogue, and three or four postcards, and end up sticking them inside the book. Then you go home, put it on the bookshelf and forget about it,“ Anderson says. “I liked this idea that, in a weird way, the collection would just fall out of the book.” Consequently, there are sleeves built into the AFRICA’s textile dust jacket, housing two tracing-paper booklets presenting the men’s and women’s pre-collection.