In the midst of the pandemic, Loewe’s JW Anderson is one of the few creative directors not itching to return to the traditional runway. Rather than trying to replicate the makings of a physical show, Anderson spent much of the last year continuously devising and implementing new approaches to showcasing his collections; beginning with #ShowInABox for Loewe SS21 menswear and then the #ShowOnAWall for Loewe SS21 womenswear. For Loewe AW21, Anderson makes a return to the tactile, with #ShowInABook, a tribute to the legendary queer artist Joe Brainard.
The collection is presented through a specially-curated retrospective of Joe Brainard – a celebration of the American multi-disciplinary artist and writer who was a pioneer of the Pop Art movement. #ShowINABook begins with a preface from Brainard’s friend, poet Ron Padgett, and an essay from art critic Éric Troncy. Complimenting these moving pieces are life-size photographs of Brainard’s writings and works that aim to replicate the feeling of sifting through the original artefacts.
As the worlds of fashion and art meet in the Loewe AW21 collection, the works of Joe Brainard are translated in their literal form – Anderson directly using a number of the artist’s patterns and motifs. The contemporary representation of Brainard’s 1967 Pansies collage takes shape in a number of garments: blown-up on trousers, knitted into cardigans and scattered across baseball caps. Continuing the collage theme, one of Anderson’s favourite works, an image of a sleeping whippet on a soft green background painted by Brainard, adorn T-shirts and bags.
The result of this union is a celebration of sartorial subcultural motifs. Punk bondage stovepipes paired with loose 70s cardigans; triple stacked t-shirts and sweaters layered to represent the art of the collage. Mixing bright shades of yellow, green, pink, blue all on one garment, Loewe’s latest collection presents “A sense of thoughtful accumulation,” in its truest form.
If like us, you are wanting to get your hands on this archival coffee table book, #ShowInABook will be available to purchase once the collection goes on sale, with proceeds going to Visual Aids (a charity Anderson has worked with for years and one that is particularly poignant in light of Brainard’s death from Aids-induced pneumonia at the age of 52). Until then, we will continue to indulge in the collections vibrant offerings through our trusty friend, Instagram.