Jonathan Anderson, the fashion designer of Loewe and his own line, JW Anderson, is on the phone from Rome, calling from the set of Luca Guadagnino’s Queer, based on the novel by William S. Burroughs and starring Daniel Craig.
“He’s the only person I would do this for,” Anderson says of his costume design work for Guadagnino. “Luca creates an amazing type of escape from the job I normally do, but it also allows me to see a different viewpoint on how clothing can articulate thoughts and emotions in the world today.”
Queer is the follow-up to Anderson’s inaugural foray into costume design on another Guadagnino film, the upcoming Challengers, which stars Zendaya and Josh O’Connor, who appears in Loewe’s ad campaigns. “People are going to be mesmerized [by Challengers]; it really is Luca at his best,” Anderson says.
This year, the designer celebrates a decade as the creative director of the Madrid-based Loewe. He’s a favorite among celebrities (like Rihanna in a custom red bodysuit and breastplate at the Super Bowl), fashion fans and critics alike. Anderson seamlessly employs forward-thinking concepts such as gender fluidity (like a colorblocked JW Anderson cardigan worn by Harry Styles that went viral in 2020) and has an unabashed sense of fun. That’s true of the humorous hand-motif bodysuit Beyoncé wears on her new Renaissance tour, as well as Anderson’s Loewe bags, like the highly coveted Puzzle, seen on everyone from Beyoncé to Ellen Pompeo, and the Elephant, an overtly kitschy style carried by fans like Precious Lee and originally designed to raise money for Kenya’s Elephant Crisis Fund.
“Jonathan is that rare combination: He’s one of the more intellectual designers out there, and you see that particularly in his shows, which are full of references and very artistic,” says Michael Kliger, CEO of luxury shopping website Mytheresa. “But Jonathan also has a fantastic sense of humor, and you see that in his accessories. He can be playful and not take himself too seriously, and out of that he creates joy.”
Born in Northern Ireland, Anderson spent his earliest summers in Ibiza, and his memories of those vacations have inspired a Loewe capsule line since 2016. Dubbed Paula’s Ibiza, it’s named for a hotspot on the Spanish island. “There you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” Anderson says. “You can go there as a retreat, or if you simply want to disappear, you can, which can be hard in some places. I think that’s the beauty of Ibiza. Sometimes you want to be in the middle of it — or in the north you can just vanish.”
For this year’s Paula’s Ibiza collection, Anderson says he dove into researching the linen and crochetwork integral to the island’s craft in the 1940s and ’50s — “and then looked at how we could interpret that and electrify it,” he adds. “There’s also a lot of block tie-dying, in which we isolate the fabric to get these stripes of color. We’ve been trying for many seasons to get it right, and it finally worked.”
Now in its fifth season of carrying the Paula’s Ibiza capsule, Mytheresa is offering exclusives from the collection, including an asymmetrical top and Anderson’s latest take on Loewe’s signature basket bag. “For me this is a very personal expression of Ibiza,” Anderson adds.
On the heels of the collection’s launch in April, Mytheresa hosted an L.A. dinner with Anderson on May 12 at the historic Sheats-Goldstein Residence, designed by architect John Lautner. “This collection needs a beach life and a relaxed atmosphere, and L.A. combines that idea of a creative business with a more relaxed element,” Kliger says. Among the attendees at the Mytheresa dinner were Taylor Russell, Dan Levy, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Mason Gooding, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Ali Wong, Jamie Clayton, Camila Mendes, Kit Connor and Greta Lee.
Anderson’s blend of artful design and humor ultimately has attracted everyone from Cate Blanchett to Daisy Edgar-Jones and Zendaya, who drew nearly 6 million likes on Instagram when she wore one of Anderson’s dresses featuring an anthurium flower-shaped bodice before it was seen on Loewe’s Spring 2023 runway.
“We have a different take on celebrities,” Anderson says. “Typically it’s someone personal to me or has an ethos or a kind of vibe that aligns with what we do. Sometimes it’s about accolades, but there’s also this emotional or spiritual idea. I like to think of our celebrity relationships as an amazing spectrum — like the tableau of a cast.”
A version of this story first appeared in the May 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.