Although J.W. Anderson’s Fall ’14 collection was rather divisive, the more commercial pieces he distilled from it, which were shown at sales appointments, were pretty much unanimously held up as ratification of LVMH’s investment in the brand, and of Loewe’s appointment of Anderson as its new creative director. This season the ratification was right there on the runway: This was a relatable, wearable collection, yet challenging in ways that advance the fashion conversation.

Anderson wouldn’t own up to it, but there seemed to be a nautical theme here, interpreted in gently surreal fashion. The backward sailor pants were fantastic—slung low, with a slight flare—while sculpted tops and dresses slung with hemp rope suggested masts and sails. You could also detect a salt breeze in the towel-like mini-suits of densely knit cotton, and in the watery leathers that closed the show. Both the mini-suits and the leather looks were, it bears pointing out, body-baring and marked by some youthful joie de vivre. It was nice to see Anderson lightening his tone. And there was a similar playful quality to his out-of-scale buttons, collars, and sleeves. The layered leather camisoles and printed linen jacquard dresses with leather scarf-tied fronts, meanwhile, were a bit more abstracted, but they still seemed like clothes stores could sell. The stuff that should go like hotcakes, though, were this collection’s midi-length leather wrap skirt and leather blouse with suspended, squared-off sleeves. In all red, the look seemed instantly iconic. The honchos over at Loewe must have been quite pleased to see that ensemble come down Anderson’s runway; it bodes well for his Paris debut.

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