“As Spanish as castanets” is how The Telegraph described Loewe in 2012. The leather-goods brand—headed today by Northern Irish designer Jonathan Anderson—makes all its leather goods in its home country, where it is so beloved it is a supplier to the royal court. Today, it is completely owned by LVMH.
Loewe was founded in 1846 in Madrid by a group of Spanish leather craftsmen, and the fashion brand was officially launched in 1876 when Enrique Loewe y Roessberg, a German craftsman, joined the group. King Alfonso XIII of Spain granted Enrique Loewe y Hinton, a descendant of the original brand founder, the title of Purveyor to the Royal Court. His wife, Queen Victoria Eugenie, frequently visited the store on Príncipe de Madrid street. By the Seventies, Loewe had diversified into perfumes and fashion. Giorgio Armani and Laura Biagiotti subsequently designed Loewe’s womenswear collections.
In 1986, LVMH bought the rights to Loewe’s international distribution and completely acquired Loewe in 1996. That year, Loewe had sales of an estimated $200 million By 1997, Narciso Rodriguez joined the company as creative director and the fashion brand had its first Paris runway presentation at LVMH headquarters in fall/winter 1998. Both José Enrique Oña Selfa and Stuart Vevers followed. During Vever’s tenure, Loewe scaled back fashion to concentrate on handbags, leather apparel and a substantial gift business based on leather picture frames and leather boxes.
There was another significant organisational change and this time Jonathan Anderson became Loewe’s creative director in 2013. His first ready-to-wear collections for Loewe were presented the following year. Per Vogue Business, “In five years, 35-year-old Jonathan Anderson has remade the very foundations of Loewe, LVMH’s oldest luxury fashion house. When he joined, Anderson spent a year revamping every element of the brand — from the logo down to the style of the press release — before he began work on his ready-to-wear debut…. The result is a brand that feels rooted in craft and tradition, but that is simultaneously modern. Its leather and woven bags are luxurious, functional and distinctive. Its fashion vocabulary is defined. A Loewe garment— grounded in classicism, but with a clean, contemporary shape — is unmistakable on a clothing rail.”
The transformative power of Loewe continues to enthral. Per BoF, “Anderson’s work exults in the off-kilter. The dominant look in this show was a coat – or variant thereof – worn splendidly solo. Legs were bared, begging the kilt-shaped question: what does a man wear under his Loewe coat? Shorts, said Anderson. He talked about tricking people into feeling it’s familiar. And, as with his own show the other day, it quickly seemed so. That’s how the 1920s, with all their baggage, slide into a new century…”
Loewe will continue to focus on its core values of creativity and craftsmanship exemplified by the most sumptuous bags, leather and suede clothing for women and men along with silken scarves and ties carrying tales of Spain.
Leather bags, leather and suede menswear and womenswear, silk scarves and ties.
Jonathan Anderson is Creative Director of Loewe while Pascale Lepoivre, CEO, helms the luxury fashion brand.