method of mindset

Loewe FW21
Fashion | 23 January 2021

“There’s a volatility to them,” said Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson of the artworks of Joe Brainard, whose archive forms the centrepiece of the FW21 collection. The American artist’s work is typically hard to pin down. Fundamentally it comprises collages, and poetry in the medium of comics. It is at once soothing, wild, erotic, innocent, frenzied, affectionate and intimate.

With a heritage in artisanal craft, the Spanish house really got to flex with its artistic renderings through leather, jacquard and intarsia. Some bags are assembled by patchworking laser-cut leather pansies – a tribute to some of Brainard’s most famous collages – or bear his handwritten poetic aphorisms: “Happiness is nothing more than a state of mind”. “If I’m as normal as I think I am, we’re all a bunch of weirdos”.

But Brainard’s collages are equally “a method of mindset” in Anderson’s words, and move the collection in more nuanced ways. His typical rhythm of repetition is mimicked with t-shirts pinned to t-shirts pinned to t-shirts, or polos on polos on polos. In their surreal effect, they appear to weep down your frame. From buckled biker pants to Wallabees, various subcultural odes were paid to punks, hippies, beatniks, ravers and grunge rockers. Tent-shaped trousers struck a familiar note from styles presented for Anderson’s eponymous line earlier in the week. Here, they provided a painter’s canvas in their sweeping size, and acted as a performance piece in their movement.

While debuting online, the collection lives on in the centre pages of a hand-bound book, which was produced as a commemorative piece of ephemera. It’s the kind of warm, nostalgic gesture that’s fitting in the spirit of Brainard. It’s a way of saying, “I remember…”

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show