The Northern Irish designer Jonathan Anderson is a self-described completist. When he joined Loewe, the Spanish luxury house he’s helmed since 2013, he reworked the brand in obsessive detail — from the logo to the hangers. “I have to design everything,” he’s said.
It’s no surprise, then, that Anderson has long felt a kinship with William Morris, the 19th-century British designer, poet and socialist whose iconic Arts & Crafts textiles figure in Loewe’s latest collection. Morris was known to mix his own dyes from traditional ingredients — roots, flowers, and willow twigs — and is said to have started making wallpaper because he didn’t like any well enough to use in his own home. One critic called his first residence, Red House, “the first house to be conceived and built as a unified whole.”
“It was all or nothing,” Anderson says of Morris’s approach to design, “Almost like a religion.”
For a new capsule, available in November, Anderson adapts four iconic Morris prints in ways both devout (delicately hand-knit onto wool jumpers and scarves; printed on classic Loewe Hammock and Puzzle bags) and irreverent (a hare, lifted from Morris’s Forest print, is painted onto a black biker jacket). “I liked this idea of hybridizing Morris with the punk movement in Britain,” says Anderson. It’s a nod to what Anderson sees as Morris’ radical approach to design. “When he started doing what he did,” says Anderson, “It was progressive.”
A favorite piece of Anderson’s is a parka done in Morris’s ubiquitous Acanthus pattern. Paired with matching trousers, sneakers, and tote — what Anderson calls a “total look” — it “becomes a kind of modern camouflage.”
This is especially true in the look book, photographed at the Morris-decorated Standen House south of London. Shot in the garden and against papered walls, illuminated by late afternoon sun, the collection takes on a dreamy, filmic quality. “There’s something magical about Morris,” Anderson says. “You feel like, if you’re wearing the wallpaper, you could just disappear into the house.”
Though a century apart, Morris and Anderson overlap and blend into each other, too. Both have been described as “obsessed” with craft, and the young designer has spent his tenure at Loewe fostering artisans — he inaugurated the Loewe Craft Prize this year — in what might be seen as a revival of Morris’s Arts & Crafts Movement. Like Morris, Anderson stretches the bounds of what a designer can be. “He changed how we looked,” Anderson says, “The way in which we lived.”
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