A modern twist on Spanish tradition: at Loewe with JW Anderson

My love for the traditional crafts of Spain runs deep. I have written about Spanish azulejos, esparto and cork , as well as the fervent defenders of our wonderful national artistry such as the late decorator Jaime Parladé.

I therefore take my hat off to Jonathan Anderson at Loewe and his accomplishments as the recently appointed art director of the cult Spanish brand.

I recently saw a very inspiring presentation at Loewe in Madrid celebrating a kind of return to the sources with an exhibition of works of the radical Spanish architect Javier Carvajal (1926-1913). Carvajal designed the brand’s flagship stores and Barcelona headquarters in the 50’s and 60’s, as well as the Spanish Pavilion at the World Fair in New York, 1964.

Carvajal  accomplished this in a Spain still recovering from a long post war period. “He recovered craftsmanship, tradition, sobriety and the luxury of the material. He took the house of Loewe back to it’s essential reality :  Spanish culture” ( Enrique Loewe for El Pais )  and this bold move and choice by Enrique Loewe propelled the house to the pages the international architectural magazines. It was a huge step forward in the modernization of the brand and Carvajal introduced this internationally.  From W Magazine:  “His early stores were an interpretation of Swedish culture in a Spanish context,” Anderson says. “Which is kind of wrong but actually works really well.”  So even if the new Loewe is about days on the beach, Anderson feels it needs to be presented in a cultured, domestic, and architecturally literate setting.

javier Carvajal Loewe shop

Above: The Carvajal-designed Loewe shop in Barcelona, 1964. Image courtesy of Loewe.

Below: Detail of the Spanish pavilion designed by Carvajal for the World Fair, New York 1964. Image courtesy of Loewe.

javier carvajal spanish pavillion 1964

Below: Spanish carpets and textiles inside the Spanish Pavilion designed by Carvajal. Image courtesy of Loewe.

javier carvajal spanish pavillion 1964

Below: Chair designed by Javier Carvajal for Loewe and redesigned in 2014 by Jonathan Anderson. Image courtesy of Loewe.

Loewe Carvajal chair

Carvajal loewe chair by jonathan anderson

Below: Chair designed by Javier Carvajal for the Loewe shop in Madrid, 1959.

Carvajal Loewe chair

Below : Another beautiful initiative by Jonathan Anderson for Loewe to celebrate leather, the label’s key material.  The leather bowls are by José Luis Bazán, Spanish craftsman and leather expert, who has been invited to realize the collection, inspired by noted potter Lucie Rie and applying a modern take on traditional techniques. Using an age-old method, each piece is submerged in water and then shaped by hand to create one-of-a-kind vessels both decorative and fully-functional. Three sets of 50 unique bowls will be on sale, each, as the brand describe, “forming an ensemble that plays with scale and perception, blurring the boundary between sculpture and design.”   Photo courtesy of Loewe.

leather bowls loewe

leather bowls loewe

Below: Under JW’s creative direction, Loewe’s first North American shop in the  Miami Design District . A massive 18 th-century granary or hórreo sits in the middle of the space. A visual shock, so modern : the combination of natural sunlight with the raw stone, the pure lines, the tan leather, matte white marble floor, the simple and slightly rustic iron clothes racks and hangers. The hórreo was retrieved from a town bordering northern Spain (Galicia) and Portugal and brought to the boutique as a symbol of Loewe’s cultural fluidity: Past and present, Europe and North America, existing harmoniously in the upscale Miami Design District.

The boutique, large and luminous, is also supremely nostalgic, as one can instantly tell from the massive 18th-century granary at the center of the space.

Admirers of the 169-year-old label will think it normal to find a stone barn from the Middle Ages (which had to taken apart and rebuilt for the space) inside a thoroughly modern structure; think museum lighting, smoke-colored walls, stone flooring and vast windows. In part, it follows the brand’s architectural tradition from the 1950s and ‘60s when radical architect Javier Carvajal designed the brand’s flagship stores and Barcelona headquarters. The bold structure is also reflective of Anderson, whose appointment as the Madrid-based brand’s creative director marked a new direction for Loewe—which evolved from luxury leather retailer to “official supplier to the Spanish Royal Crown” to haute Spanish commodity with a decidedly fresh look. “It’s part of the knowledge of where Loewe is from, transferred to another time and place,” said Anderson. What was once a functional storehouse for grains is now the backdrop for the latest collections, including the iconic Amazona bag (in updated materials) and the Puzzle, Anderson’s completely new contribution to the brand’s repertoire and already a best-seller.

Brilliant !

loewe  Horreo miami design district shop



loewe shop miami design district

3 responses to “A modern twist on Spanish tradition: at Loewe with JW Anderson”

  1. Macarena says:

    Seguira la expo en Loewe? Enhorabuena x tu articulo!!
    Conoci a los hijos de Javier Carvajal y su preciosa casa en Somosaguas con sus propios muebles, como la silla!!

    • fashionsphinx says:

      wow ! que maravilla…….debe de ser preciosa la casa !
      no creo que continue la expo en Madrid…..alomejor en Barcelona? mira en google Fundacion Loewe
      xxxxxx fashionsphinx

  2. Great article, thank you. I went to both the Carvajal show and the leather bowl presentation. The new decor of the shops is wonderful. the iron and wicker cabinets are minimalist and modern and new.

    Someone is doing a great job!


fresh arugula all year

weird wine notes