Kitsch and kink

Richard Hawkins’ avant-garde artwork decorated Loewe FW24
By Barry Pierce | Fashion | 22 January 2024

You may recall a couple months ago Jonathan Anderson added curator to his CV with his exhibition in London’s Offer Waterman Gallery. One of the names featured in the show was Richard Hawkins, an artist whose recent canvases featured OnlyFans models and tongue-in-cheek references to meme culture. His work, according to the LA Times, is a “mash-up of avant-garde, kitsch and kink”. So it isn’t very surprising to see why Anderson is so drawn to Hawkins’ work, given that his current tenure at Loewe is equally a mash-up of avant-garde, kitsch and kink.

The show space felt like a queer church. Along the walls were huge displays of video art that echoed the shape and aesthetic of stained glass church windows. Except, instead of depicting John the Baptist or St. George, it was Manu Rios in a white vest and Josh O’Connor in a louche shirt. And, as per usual, Loewe managed to wrangle one of the best front rows of the season — Taylor Russell, Andrew Garfield, James Blake, Jamie Dornan, and Jack O’Connell. 

If we followed the rule that a show’s first look acts as an indicator of the success or failure of the collection to come, then that shiny green leather coat, worn with a huge bow hanging from the neck and no trousers, was easily enough for Anderson to earn his applause. Its fiery red sister, which came next, perfectly explained just how much of Hawkins’ work was going to be in the collection and how much Anderson had taken from the artist’s colour palette. 

Trousers and zip-up hoodies recreated Hawkins’ paintings in fleece and somewhat tied together this show with Anderson’s JW Anderson show last week which also featured paintings rendered directly onto the clothing. The usual surreal humour was on display in pieces such as the coats that had running shorts and t-shirts sewn into the lining and a piece that looked like the kangaroo pocket of a hoodie had decided to become its own strange garment. The funniest recurring gag in the collection was all the trousers that had the buckle end of a belt attached but nothing on the other side, creating an eternally open belt that just hung from the waist. 

GALLERYCatwalk images from Loewe MENS-FALL-WINTER-24