Loewe mixes fashion with giant confetti cubes at Paris show

PARIS (AP) — Fragile half-ton cubes of colored confetti lay on Loewe’s white runway at Paris Fashion Week. Ushers desperately tried to guide guests including Jamie Dornan, Naomi Campbell and Catherine O’Hara around the blocks fearing the decor would disintegrate at the slightest brush. Sometimes, it partially did.

The highly creative show itself by Jonathan Anderson – that used feathers, and satins and velvet — continued the theme of reduction and ephemeral impressions.

Here are some highlights of Friday’s fall-winter 2023-2024 ready-to-wear shows in Paris.

LOEWE IS SUBLIME

For fall, the brand’s lauded Northern Irish designer continued his exploration of pared-down and reductive styles — where a single garment often comprised the entire look.

Loewe described it as “an idea of elementality: one piece, and that’s it, reduced to the bluntest shape possible.”

The touchstone of the Old Master painters, as seen in Anderson's men’s collection, was felt here again with collapsed leather Renaissance boots and use of satin, silk duchesse, velvet, crystals and feather.

The pastel-rich collection's feathered pieces were the most original: The plumes were unusually wide and placed across garments like a shell. They came as a downy covering on a buttery white top with some feathers jutting out haphazardly, or on thick texture blue-gray flared pants evoking an anthropomorphic bird.

One pale blue gown appeared to be simply a length of satin draped from the chest from a big gold ball. Elsewhere, the idea of fashion or life itself as ephemeral and ever-moving was conveyed through blurred prints on loose gowns, which sometimes resembled an X-ray.

They were, the house said, “about putting into focus what may seem unclear right now.” It's clear that Loewe under Anderson’s creative eye has become one of the most anticipated collections in the industry.

COLOR BLOCKING

In perhaps the most original take on color blocking ever seen at Paris Fashion Week, Loewe collaborated with Italian artist Lara Favaretto to create literal blocks of color. Twenty-one confetti cubes standing 90 centimeters (35 inches) high, together weighing some 10 tons, created in deep reds, blues, yellows and greens impressed guests.

O’Hara, who watched the show beside US Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, exclaimed “Wow look at the blue” as a guest evaded security to pose by one cube — triggering a crumble of confetti flakes.

“I was kind of hoping one would dissolve in the show, as there’s nothing really holding them together,” O’Hara told The Associated Press. “Isn’t that crazy?” O’Hara said Anderson’s designs showed “completely original ideas, fresh, without being new for new sake."

"They were the most unusual silhouettes and shapes but still were flattering,” she added.

ISSEY MIYAKE’S SQUARE

A fusion of music, dance and theater awaited at the Japanese techno-fabric-loving house.

A live marimba percussion performance opened the show at the Chatelet Theater, one of Paris’ most prestigious stages. The show took the idea of a music score, or a canvas, or a piece of fabric being square – and explored this theme of squareness.

“The collection engages with this rational shape ... to develop garments of striking forms," the house explained. It said its aesthetic was based on “a new iteration” of the unfilled space.

Three-dimensional “canopy” gowns folded down like paper origami. Square motifs were knitted horizontally and vertically — hitting a high on a stretchy green gown with a stretch lozenge shaped front. Creative looks included gowns made with cutting edge technology to shrink woven yarn to a unique texture.

VALLI GETS ECLECTIC

A Balkan and Eastern aesthetic permeated a sparkling, and sometimes eclectic, display from Italian designer Giambattista Valli.

Tight ethnic waistcoats mixed with ruffles, gold buttons, 60s minidresses, florals, floaty tulle, thick tweed, black leather biker boots, shades, gold banded waists and even menswear looks.

The best designs were those with a simple Balkan flavor — such as one fluttery, off-white column dress with diagonal banding. It was accessorized with ethnic pear-shaped earrings.

Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press