Jonathan Anderson is embroiled in a one-man battle to out-random himself. At Loewe and JW Anderson, his collections are nothing if not an attempt to twist clothing into its most bizarre forms – reflective breastplates become shiny, moulded anthurium flowers, 3D car dresses become iPad coats, and egg-splat heels become Daisy Duck mules. His campaigns too, feature the kind of auter celebrities with names that most people will never have heard of, like costume designer Sandy Powell or artist Roni Horn, bucking mainstream conventions.
So it was a little surprising to see a lifesize bust of Justin Bieber appear in Loewe’s new Rodeo Drive store when it opened to the public this week. Made by Paul Pfeiffer and Willy Layug in 2018, the “One Less Lonely Girl” singer stares out from the top of a shoe shelf – skin varnished like a religious cast, eyes transfixed on nothing. According to its creators, the artwork speaks to the ways in which mass media and celebrity culture have shaped modern consciousness, interrogating the impact of spectacle and the cult of celebrity. “A lot of artists have looked to Justin Bieber, so I thought there was something to this idea of iconography and being in LA,” Anderson said to industry magazine WWD.
“I saw this piece at Thomas Dane gallery about a year and a half ago, and I instantly thought we have to have it for the Loewe Foundation,” he continued. And, to the delight of shoppers, the eenie, meenie, minie, moe lover’s severed arms and torso have also been put on display in other nooks and crannies within the store – but no buns out, nor weiner. The whole thing gives new meaning to the lyrics “As long as you love me / I’ll be your platinum / I’ll be your silver / I’ll be your gold”, with Bieber now offering himself up to Anderson like a haunted wooden scarecrow. Whether it’s just another randomiser – or perhaps a love letter to “Despacito” – the designer clearly beliebs in The Bieb.
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