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Simplicity was the key-word in Loewe Men's Fall/Winter 2023 Collection, presented in a sparse space, rendered solely by three larger-than-life installations by Vietnamese American painter Julien Nguyen, whose visual references to early Renaissance painting and science fiction defined the iconography of the collection. A portrait miniature, created for the show’s invitations, made reference to a drawing of the personification of fortune by Prud’Hon, and reflected the styles reminiscent of the Elizabethan portrait miniatures by Nicholas Hilliard. Intricately detailed, the portrait is also littered with concealed meanings, the Latin phrase “Ubi Amor, Ibi Oculus” from the philosopher Thomas Aquinas, translates into “where there is love there is light.” The two digital works by Nguyen, also depicted his muse, Nikos, “in a moment of domestic intimacy, his body inscribed with signs and symbols that reflect on the power of love.”

This collection took it back to the basics in every sense of the word. A “reductionist act”, as the press release said matter-of-factly, with a reinforced emphasis placed on “materiality that brings the silhouette into full focus. A reduced colour palette too, based on materials, and how they react to light,” in other words, there would be no appearance of cars inside dresses, and sneakers sprouting with freshly washed grass. That’s not to say that the artistry by which Anderson is electrified, the Creative Director Jonathan Anderson once said in an interview, “I think we are living in a period when art and fashion are informing each other,” and the surrealism, to which he is synonymous were absent in their entirety, they merely relied on the senses of sight and touch.

Trench coats, for example, appeared to be crafted out of butter-soft leather, delicately-hued boxer shorts and tank tops, visibly fluid were cut from satin, and a flared outerwear garment had been forged out of copper, the metallic garment gleaming as its wearer navigated the space. In a moment of serendipity, a loose velvet shirt came into view, intentionally left unbuttoned at the back, to leave space for metal wings to unfold.

Shapes too have been moulded, bent, frozen and tailored, translating themselves through crewneck sweaters, gathered sporadically at the side seams to create orbicular forms while trench coats came padded, inflated to theatrical proportions. This was a collection painted by the Creative Director with an altogether contemporary paintbrush.

Sabrina Roman

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