Dezeen_ Spanish fashion brand Loewe collaborated with French metal artist Elie Hirsch to create a series of pewter and copper jackets in bulbous silhouettes for its Autumn Winter 2023 collection.
The metal jackets were presented during Paris Fashion Week's menswear season, which saw Loewe return to the indoor tennis court at Tennis Club de Paris, in the Porte de Saint-Cloud neighbourhood of Paris.
The first of the metal jackets to appear in the show was constructed from copper, the second followed later in the collection and contrasted to the former boasting a wholly pewter construction with a grey-patinated finish.
Each of the single-breasted metal jackets was created by Hirsch, moulded and hammered by hand and then folded and draped to achieve a look that mimicked flowing and moving fabric.
The metal was treated to produce a patina that aimed to naturally highlight light and shadow as it hits the metallic surface of the garment. Each garment takes between 25 and 30 days to complete and weighs eight kilograms.
"Crafted in collaboration with metal artist Elie Hirsch, the show's steel jacket has been sculpted and hammered by hand to achieve its undulating fabric-like shape," said Loewe.
"The lightweight shell is then surface treated to enhance areas of light and shadow, resulting in a unique patina."
Hirsch was first approached by Loewe in 2021 where he was commissioned to create reflective breastplates, informed by surrealism, that were incorporated within fabric garments for its Spring Summer 2023 womenswear show.
"It was about surrealist gold-plated brass breastplates," Hirsch told Dezeen. "They loved it, and so did I. We continued for the women's collections in September 2022, and now also for the men's department."
Much like typical garment production, Hirsch explained he treats the metal like fabric, using patterns to cut sheets of copper and pewter which are then shaped and fused together to create the solid metal garment.
"I always work from a pattern as if I were making clothes, but I cut in a sheet of metal and then I shape the volume by hammering, folding and deforming," Hirsch told Dezeen.
"I work with the model makers and the designers," he continued. "We develop the pieces by making my proposal evolve from their drawings, ideas or their models."
As the jackets have no means of opening or closing the garments had to be constructed in a way that provided ease of entry and exit while exuding a light and flexible look that imitated fabric.
"The challenge in realising this jacket was giving the sensation of flexibility and lightness," said Hirsch.
"As there is no articulation, it was necessary to be able to enter and move in the jacket in the most natural way possible, but also to treat the metal as the fabric in the construction details."
Other metal pieces were presented throughout the show including sets of feathered wings that emerged from beneath open-backed shirts and recalled renaissance paintings of cupid.
Craft continued to be spotlighted throughout the show, with makers such as milliners producing plush curving jackets with bulbous hems and cuffs.
"A reductionist act," said Loewe in its show notes. "A stress on materiality that brings the silhouette into full focus. A reduced colour palette too, based on the materials, and how they react to light."
"Parchment, velvet, copper, steel, leather, satin, wool: the same materials used by, or depicted by old master painters," the fashion house continued. "The same angel wings, too. Capturing a moment and a movement in real-time, using traditional means in non-traditional ways."
In 2022, Loewe presented its Spring Summer 2023 collection during Paris Fashion Week that saw plants sprouting from sodden garments and screens used to decorate the bodies of models.
At Paris Fashion Week's Autumn Winter 2023 menswear season, Rick Owens showcased his latest collection at a smoke-filled Palais de Tokyo which recalled Victorian and architectural silhouettes.
The photography is courtesy of Loewe unless stated otherwise.