Loewe Store Opening Dinner Milan

A closer look at Jonathan Anderson's Re-branding for Loewe

London’s hottest designer of the moment Jonathan Anderson is well on his way to re-imagine the venerable Spanish leather goods and fashion house Loewe. It was in 1872 when Enrique Roessberg Loewe, a German craftsman specializing in leather goods, arrived in Madrid and decided to join forces with the local workshops and establish the brand. Of course, Achtung will now follow Loewe closely due to its German heritage, and happening new Northern Irish designer, just like our Editor-in-Chief. Owned by LVMH the house seems poised for major growth as Anderson will have his runway debut in Paris next week.

It’s maybe the debut of the season after last season’s triumphant entree of Nicolas Ghesquière into Louis Vuitton. We attended a small dinner here in Milan where Jonathan also celebrated his 30th birthday with a toast by none other than Suzy Menkes. What’s interesting here: Anderson is busy creating a  new mood for the brand rather than a really new image. He has selected an old, late Nineties Steven Meisel shoot from Italian Vogue in which Meisel famously used the New York painter Alex Katz as inspiration. The shoot depicts a group of youths casually relaxing on a Long Island beach, all in perfect isolation from each other. There are hardly any clothes in sight but still the shoot is considered one of Meisel’s all-time classics – which went to inspire a slew of ad campaigns and editorial shoots, notably one by Calvin Klein. Together with his creative agency M/M from Paris, Anderson is juxtaposing these images with stills taken by Erwan Frotin who is known for his clinical and precise work.

But again, instead of showing clothes or products, the images which were shown at the Milan dinner party, focus on an iconic chair by Javier Carvajal – an old friend of the Madrid label – made with Loewe leather. Alongside were some of the logos which were used to emboss the famed Spanish leather. All the images were displayed Jeff Wall-style in giant light boxes, surrounding the elegant dinner table covered with aged roses, where 70 people dined. The meal celebrated the house’s new store on via Montenapoleone, where Anderson’s conceptual take to retailing was in evidence. We find this a highly intriguing though frankly risky approach to brand building. Anderson even had a new logo redrawn used at the dinner for table mats. So let’s see what clothes will go to match this mysterious approach to rebranding. No matter how much fizz and creative muscle one hires in NYC or Paris, the unvarnished truth will only be on the runway.