Cultured Magazine

April/May 2015

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134 CULTURED Fashion darling Jonathan Anderson takes the reigns at Loewe and flexes some serious design muscle in the process. BY MIEKE TEN HAVE SPANISH REVIVAL PHOTOS COURTESY OF LOEWE When Jonathan Anderson was tapped as creative director of Loewe, plans to open the brand's first North American shop in Miami's burgeoning Design District were well underway. That, however, didn't stop the 30-year-old Northern Irish provocateur from adapting the store's architecture to fit his new narrative for the storied, 169-year-old Spanish fashion house. "Why don't we move an ancient building from Spain to Miami?" suggested Anderson. "And then, a couple of days later they called me with the good news." A medieval granary, delicately dismantled from the Spanish-Portuguese border, was shipped across the Atlantic and carefully reconstructed on site. It now serves as a visually disruptive bridge between modern Art Deco Miami and historically-laden Loewe. To an unfamiliar eye, it resembles the inverted hull of a Viking ship, casting a ceremonious, hallowed impression at the center of the store. It is not particularly surprising that Anderson bills himself as a frustrated decorator. His recent collaboration with revered (if little known outside of his milieu) textile designer John Allen on a series of landscape knits for J.W. Anderson and a forthcoming launch of color-soaked beach accessories for Loewe is remarkable simply because so few couturiers work across mediums with contemporaries in design. "I wish I did interiors," he says on the phone from London, shortly after wrapping his well received Fall 2015 collection for Loewe in Paris. "There is nothing more exciting than curating a space, or making things have function. Ultimately the garment needs to sit inside the landscape." Not since Javier Carvajal reinvented the interior and architectural ambience of Loewe has the brand been truly reconsidered from a larger, holistic design perspective. "The company has lots of veneers and identities—to me, the defining moment wasn't in the 1800s, but in the 50s, 60s and 70s. I'm just picking up where Carvajal left off—making a graphical, modern statement." Anderson's ability to pick a relevant point in time and to find what he describes as a "first in a movement" is echoed by his own predilections for collecting. The designer hunts down British ceramics from 20th-century greats like Austrian- and German-born Lucie Rie and Hans Coper—resulting in a personal collection of over 200 pots. His enthusiasm for British ceramics is matched by a passion for Arts and Crafts furniture, particularly works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and William Morris—"Anyone who was a pioneer in that movement. For me, it's about naive modernity; it sums up my ethos and relationship to fashion." In addition to its central medieval relic, the Miami store is furnished with tables he designed, which were inspired by Morris' work, as well as chairs based on Baillie Scott's aesthetic. His intention was to take Arts and Crafts and "turn it into a more secular thing." Anderson, at times, can seem contradictory—yearning for modernity, yet relishing the nostalgia and romanticism of another era. It is those contradictions that shine through in his work, which is best known for playing with notions of androgyny and manipulating the relationship between gender and clothing. He celebrates the tenuous elements of transformation that exude naiveté. Dueling instincts give Anderson an original voice; the concept of landmark moments are tellingly never far from his thoughts: "I remember when I found a Harry Napper chair. I will never forget the thrill of it—that excitement lasts longer than a t-shirt." Anderson sourced this authentic 18th-century hórreo (granary) from a small town in Spain for Loewe's first U.S. store, which recently opened in Miami.

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