To experience a true cultural melting pot, look no further than the historic city of Toledo, Spain. Since medieval times, the former capital has earned a strong reputation for its thriving populations of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, who coexist with one another and bring their own architectural and cultural flavors to the cosmopolitan hub. Today, the city is host to Loewe Men's Fall/Winter publication, featuring the bold counter-masculine visions of photographer Tyler Mitchell and stylist Benjamin Bruno. Mitchell, the 24-year-old photographer best known for shooting Beyonce's September 2018 Vogue cover, captured the collection against the background of Toledo, alongside bulbous white and yellow sculptures that echo the designs' playful, futuristic silhouettes.
The Fall 2019 collection marked creative director Jonathan Anderson's first-ever men's runway show, which debuted in Paris last January. Loewe described the looks as a "hybrid abstraction at a human scale, where both a garment's utility and connotation are called into question." The original show placed the collection in front of a deep yellow cloth sculpture by Franz Erhard Walther, but the looks now mingle with the Spanish countryside and historic public art.
One of the standouts of the collection is Anderson's take on the standard cowboy chaps, retooled in ocher and chocolate brown with a silhouette that melts into zip-up wedge boots, evoking a sort of 80's Wellington. Anderson noted that the hybrid design was meant to "take something fetish and de-fetishize it," somewhat removing it from its Western context.
Besides the sophisticated leatherwork, the fall collection stood out for its twist on everyday knitwear. Between rugby stripes, crewnecks, and chunkier knits, Anderson's take on collegiate staples bends the traditionally masculine and offers a looser definition. Toledo's rich mosaic and sculptural history also played off the collection's palette of deep blues and mustards, with the intricate tile work and marble contrasting the heavier, more graphic qualities of the designs.
Choosing a prominent African-American photographer and a diverse range of models in a city known for its cultural diversity further speaks to Loewe's ability to challenge the limitations of traditionalism while still paying homage to history. This was also showcased by Anderson's Marilyn Monroe Oxford button-down, broadcasting a tribute to American mid-century pop culture alongside ancient sculptures of religious icons.
In true theme, Toledo's classical setting proved that Anderson is willing to take on the past in order to look to the future.