On the mood board: William Morris prints and punk influences

One of the key pieces in Loewe’s Christmas collection launching this month is an acid orange calf leather tote with the silhouette of a modest, country-style chair silkscreen printed on it. To most, it’s likely to seem random (which adds to the charm), but to creative director Jonathan Anderson, this furniture is his “love seat”, so to speak.

According to W magazine, it was one of the first things that he acquired for the Spanish label when he joined in 2013. Known as the Morris Sussex chair, the 19th century design – simple beechwood frame, woven seat – is often seen as a symbol of the British Arts and Crafts movement, which saw traditional craftsmanship as the highest form of art. Unsurprisingly, William Morris, the textile designer/artist that the chair was named after (he made and popularised it) is one of Anderson’s heroes, going by their similarities. Both have a strong affinity for nature and beautiful furnishing. (Morris’ posthumous legacy was in home and wallpaper design, and the medieval-inspired, floral patterns by his company Morris & Co. is still produced for sale under licence.)

More significantly, both possess a steely dedication to championing the art of making objects by hand in the face of revolutions: industrial for Morris; digital for Anderson. Cue the Loewe Craft Prize, initiated by the latter, and now into its second year of hunting down modern-day Morrises. It’s not like Anderson – who, like his idol, is often touted as a visionary for his time – to be reverential though. The 76-piece line ($490-$6,190), which includes tees, jeans, dresses and all the signature bags, features four fabric designs from the Morris & Co. archives interpreted through his millennial and irreverently artistic eye.

The Puzzle bag, for example, comes in bleached indigo denim – a brazenly abstract take on Morris’ gutsy blooms. Biker jackets and oversized cardigans are emblazoned with animal motifs extracted from his wall coverings. Like the Sussex chair, they’re functional yet romantic, oozing character that will stand the test of time. Morris would approve.

The Sussex chair on this tote is said to be one of Anderson’s prized possessions.
William Morris’ Acanthus print on a calf leather and canvas Hammock bag
Expect cosy, gender-fluid separates and the brand’s signature bags.

This story first appeared in Female’s November 2017 issue.

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