A peculiar addition that complemented today’s Loewe show was a large newspaper with the headline, “The Loewe Show Has Been Cancelled”. While it included looks from the fall 2021 collection designed by Jonathan Anderson, the newspaper also included a 26-page excerpt of novelist Danielle Steel’s latest novel The Affair. The plot centers around a dramatic affair at a fashion magazine called Mode, which occurs as the September issue is being put together. Scintillating, but why was this in the Loewe booklet? The insert came with an explainer that cited the literary tradition of serializing the works of 19th-century authors in newspapers. The notes went on to speak about the democratization of fashion. “That this plot needs no further explanation is an example of fashion’s pop-culture currency: documentaries and feature films have, over the past decade, broadened public perceptions of what was previously considered a niche interest.”
While it might seem like an odd couple pairing from afar—a novelist whose books have sold over 800 million copies and powerhouse designer Anderson—the union between Loewe and Steel was serendipitous. “Somebody spoke to one of my daughters and asked if they thought I would ever be interested in some kind of collaboration. I said, ’God, I would love it,’” Steel tells Vogue via phone from Paris. “I think Jonathan is so talented.” Even more kismet was that the Loewe show was due to come out on March 5th, the same day that Steel’s book was published. “It just really worked and the timing was so perfect,” she says. Especially during the pandemic, she appreciated the creative partnership. “I think everybody needs a boost creatively and spirit-wise,” she says. “It’s so fun to do something exciting and happy and different and I was really thrilled to be included in it.”
Steel attending a fashion show.Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images
Steel has been a longtime lover of fashion. When she was 14, her grandmother gave her a white coat which Steel reinterpreted and worn as a dress. “I think [that was] my first hint that this was going to be a serious romance between me and fashion,” she says. In her adult life, Steel has been attending shows for years and is an unmissable, well-heeled front row anchor. Just last year in January, she was captured by Vogue’s street style photographer Phil Oh wearing a bold fire engine red Balenciaga coat during Paris Fashion Week. She also chronicles the shows on her website. “You can’t go to the fashion shows and I have to say, I really miss them and I love going,” she says. “You just have to find new ways to find fashion.”
During lockdown, she’s been finding fashion through her personal style and wearing more color. Her daughter Zara has been making a line of colorful tie-dye shirts and sending them to Steel, who styles them with Chanel flats and posts them on Instagram. “I coordinate the shoes and the jewelry to the t-shirt. I mean, I take my job very seriously,” she jokes. Steel has also found solace in Loewe’s bright colors this season. “Jonathan made a point of saying that there’s a lot of color involved in this collection,” she says. “Which I think is going to make people happy.”Photo: Courtesy of Loewe
An item that will always be in Steel’s wardrobe is her longtime writing accessories: a rotation of cashmere nightgowns. “I wear cashmere nightgowns, and because I sit in them for a long time [to write], they have holes all over the place. I look definitely unchic.” They comfort Steel, who said that the night before our call she had worked, “23 hours straight” on an outline. “When I’m writing, I do at least a 20-hour stretch and sometimes longer if I feel like I’m in a key place and I don’t want to stop,” she says. “People are always saying to me, ‘Oh, I couldn’t put the book down and I just kept reading.’ Well, that’s because I didn’t put it down when I was writing it.” Steel notes that this sort of boundless energy is similar to Anderson’s, “He does 10 collections a year!” In fact, the duo has recorded a podcast in which they interview one another about their creative process that will be released tomorrow.
In a way, publishing an excerpt from The Affair in Loewe’s show notes was an unintentional teaching moment from Steel. “Writing about fashion is fun because I think people don’t realize how much goes into it, at every level, whether it’s haute couture, or whether it’s ready-to-wear, or luxury brands, or less expensive brands,” she says. “I think right now people need to be creative about their clothes.” Looks like Anderson, with the help of Steel, is doing just that.Photo: Courtesy of Danielle Steel