Jonathan Anderson intended Loewe’s Spring/Summer 2022 show to feel like a disruption akin to a rebirth. Abstracted prints, quirky cutouts, and colorful, almost garish sequins — with these details, the creative director encouraged viewers to not shy away from uncomfortable chaos, a habit many likely developed over the past two years of escapism and constant hobby-jumping. Anderson wanted the collection to be the beginning of a new renaissance for Loewe, one that’s as earnest and whimsical as it is provocative and experimental. No look better represented the brand’s artistic awakening than Loewe’s ethereal, rainbow-hued draped dress — a swooping viscose gown so beautiful that actor Tommy Dorfman told Vogue she burst into tears watching it float down the runway. (Dorfman later had the honor of later wearing the diaphanous dress in a pre-Met Gala, Hunter Abrams-lensed photoshoot.)
In a press release from the luxury fashion house, Anderson details how he pulled inspiration from the work of Pontormo, a prominent artist from the Florentine Renaissance, when curating Loewe’s Spring/Summer 2022 capsule. Specifically, the creative director cites Pontormo’s The Deposition from the Cross, saying the painting’s palpable hysteria was hugely influential when crafting the delicate yet oft-kilter collection. Fittingly, Pontormo was most active during the 1520s, a decade in which Italy was suffering from a sweeping plague epidemic. Sound familiar?
Betty Quinn, the historian behind @arthistoryfashion, further details Anderson’s connection to the Renaissance artist to TZR over email. “Just as Pontormo exaggerates the proportions of the women to make them larger than life, the composition of the intersecting drapery in Loewe's collection cleverly elongates the torso of the model — sweeping the eye from the shoulder across her ribs to her hip; from her hip down to her opposing ankle,” illustrates Quinn.
She says Anderson’s penchant for reality-shirking surrealism (see: the novelty deflated-balloon stilettos and car-shaped minidresses from Loewe’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection) makes Pontormo a fitting influence. “Throughout his artistic career, Pontormo experimented with using vivid, unnatural colors, exaggerated poses, jarring spatial perspectives, infusing his scenes with unprecedented vitality and excitement,” she explains. “And the clothing in Pontormo’s work — particularly drapery— is fascinating; It’s not restricted to tactile reality, but instead takes on substantial, voluminous forms in nearly hallucinogenic colors, driving the emotional narrative in his work.”
Loewe’s Anderson isn’t alone in exploring drapery for summer 2022; Richard Malone, Fendi, Rick Owens, and Thom Browne all included sultry, swooping silhouettes in their spring/summer showings. Sensual drapery was prevalent in the seasonal drop from Di Petsa, too, a label known for its inventive wet-look approach to fabric manipulation.
Quinn has two theories for why designers honed in on ethereal draping for this coming season. “Firstly, it's comfortable, and I don't think we will exit the era of maximum comfort any time soon.” Vienna Skye, a fashion content creator, tells TZR she loves draped dresses precisely for this very reason. “They are always incredibly striking on the body and create an effortless sexiness that’s equally confidence-boosting and comfortable,” she says.
Quinn now pivots to her second theory for the summer trend: “Perhaps [drapery] is a romanticized yielding of control to nature,” she postures, saying to shroud yourself in flowing fabrics is to let go of your inhibitions. She also describes a certain type of liberation that comes from giving in to the powers that be — namely gravity — and describes this carefree approach as synonymous with a warm-weather attitude. Skye adds, too, that a draped dress is the ideal summer 2022 party look, as the style is inherently breezy and exudes a sensuality that’s very on trend. Forget Hot Girl Summer: Welcome to Greek Goddess Summer, where Quinn invites you to “throw on a voluminous silhouette, have it settle on your body, and just let it be.”
The fashion historian concludes by saying, “delicate drapery is a seamless interaction between figure and form, embracing your body to be as much of the focus as the fabric.” Loewe’s press release echoes Quinn’s final point: With “a collection that asks to be seen flowing in movement, as experimentation unfolds on living bodies in a real space,” Anderson posits the artist’s muse very much exists on her own accord in 2022. She is not set in stone or frozen in 2-D form. And she herself, in all her living, breathing, free-thinking glory, is as much of a work of art as the clothes she wears.
Now Loewe’s multi-colored Renaissance-inspired gown is, unfortunately, unavailable for purchase. However, you’ll find pieces similar in style and effect that perfectly encapsulate summer 2022’s drapery trend, below.
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