The giant pumpkin sculptures that sat in the centre of the Loewe Paris Fashion Week runway gave a clear message: this collection was all about surrealism.
Last season, Loewe made a seismic turn towards extremes and thankfully, they continued it this season. For autumn/winter 2022, automobile shapes were outlined into dress hems, high-heeled shoes were hidden under wispy layers of mesh, and hyper-real lips or rose buds were cemented into the busts of dresses with sheer fabric trailing underneath.
Surreal accents appeared in the details throughout the collection, such as balloons as makeshift bras. From afar, it may have seemed to be breasts or perhaps skin flashes. But that seems to be the idea with Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe recently, which looks to be eerily similar to what the early Surrealists brought forth when the movement began in the 1920s.
Surrealism arose as a reaction to the so-called rational logic and ideas that were thought to have sparked World War I at the time.
The Surrealists aspired to fight against “rationalism,” which they claimed was leading European culture and politics to war, converting reality into fiction, or “an absolute reality, a surreality,” in the words of poet and critic André Breton, who released The Surrealist Manifesto in 1924.
Surrealists also drew on the work of Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst who used words and images to expand all possibilities between dreams and reality.
The goal was to use the unconscious imagination to reconsider everyday life. It’s no surprise that this escapist theme inspired Jonathan Anderson for autumn in 2022, when Russia has waged war on Ukraine and a certain level of doubt regarding the future of the continuing pandemic still persists.
Additional to the inspiration of Freud, all of the detached anatomy—from lips to the contour of arms and hands—could easily be a reference to Salvador Dali, René Magritte, or Elsa Schiaparelli, the first surrealist fashion designer.
Anderson also focused on clothing with a more moderate appeal. We saw jumpers with raised circular collars that looked like pillows, as well as flowing robe-like cardigans with padded sleeves, as Anderson continued to explore heavy lines and chunky shapes (both seen in previous seasons at Loewe and his namesake label, J.W. Anderson).
Oversized outerwear was draped over the shoulders in unusual yet enticing orientations and limited colours. Upturned fur waistbands on neutral-hued trousers were rife with allusions, inadvertent or not, to Meret Oppenheim’s iconic fur teacup. Even though we’d seen hints of similar methods previously, such as the extended bulky lines and armour-like sculpted tops, Loewe’s fall collection seemed fresh and timely.
Watch the full show below.