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Buying Straight off the Runway at Loewe During Paris Fashion Week

Not all the pictures snapped by front-row fashion people go up on Instagram. When VP of designer apparel Jennifer Wheeler has her phone out and is firing away, it’s so that she can review her favorite looks later and reference them in the showroom. On Sunday she and Sahar Sokhandan and Lauren Zimmermann, from the designer buying team, arrive at Loewe‘s showroom with several key runway looks at the ready.


All images by Jessa Carter

In particular, the black-and-white look we actually did Instagram. (See, those ringside snaps aren’t necessarily for social media, but the really amazing ones are bound to end up there.) While Jennifer scrolls through her digital image bank and Sahar pages through the thick, glossy pages in a spiral-bound book that the brand provides, the beautifully appointed room provides context and inspiration and they begin to put their buy together.


The look of the moment—the flair of those extra long sleeves, the bustle and volume of that hemline, the dynamic proportion they achieve together—is given to one of the models to put on and as we all admire it in close range, our Loewe rep explains that the sleeves will be made 50 centimeters shorter when it goes into commercial production.


It’s a good example of how the runway varies from the real way. Throughout the appointment, we are told that several items will be altered just slightly. Fashion shows require a certain certain kind of drama, but real life has its requirements too. These are clothes to live in, and creative director Jonathan Anderson (also beloved for his SPACE line J.W.ANDERSON) wants women to feel elegant and special and completely at home.


We’re told in the showroom that when Jonathan came on in 2013, a single vintage image from Vogue served as his inspiration. It was of young sunbathers on a foreign shore, and they weren’t wearing much so it wasn’t about the clothes or even really the specific era. It was about nature, the luxury of leisure time and the slow stillness of reveling in the outdoor world.


At the heart of the Spain-based brand is fine leather construction, but Jonathan brings in other organic materials—linen features prominently—and then throws in an accent or two from the manmade realm as well to modernize things. He does the same with color; it becomes a beautiful disruption. This season in particular, neutral tones and soft shades get amped by sudden and wonderfully jarring hits of brilliant blue and electric green. 

Sahar notes that this sense of ultra-vivid color as an interruption of nature’s hues is something they’ve been seeing this past month. As a trend on the streets and on the runway, it’s like a loose and floating metaphor—and in the showroom, it’s a sort of guideline.


Take for instance the irresistible cat image imbedded in knit rainbow stripes (it’s also offered with more sedate charcoal stripes). Since Jonathan Anderson took over, Loewe has been full of charming and graceful surprises.


In that same time, Loewe has also been all but overflowing with excellent accessories.

“The shoes were amazing and there were so many great handbags,” says Jennifer about the runway show. The buy for those items will happen separately; the shoe and handbag specialists have their own showroom appointments. The teams will communicate about what each is selecting, but this way each crew of experts can do their best work to bring you the most covetable and loved pieces—straight off the runway.


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—Laura Cassidy