La Artesanía Española Through an Iconically Spanish Luxury House
Updated: Jan 19, 2019
By Monica Hong
Photo credits to: Teresa Vierbuchen & Maria Awad
Casa LOEWE opens its doors to the public as part of LVMH’s 4th edition of Les Journées Particulières, showcasing the art and heritage of its brand.
Fashion, artisanal craftwork, and design. A unique dialogue amongst these elements was immediately present upon stepping into this spacious three-storey establishment. With a demonstration on the making of the famous Gate Bag on the ground floor, an exhibition of Loewe’s past collection pieces one floor above, and artwork infused throughout the walls that line the store, this space represented a place of union and interaction. On the 13th and 14th of October, Casa Loewe’s flagship store in the Salamanca district of Madrid offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the brand’s most characteristic values.
At the Gate Bag workshop, visitors were invited into the serene workspace of an artisan meticulously bringing shape and life to the leather patterns between his hands as he showed us the minute precision and care that go into assembling hand-crafted goods. As a model- and pattern-maker working in the development process, our expert explains how he is energised by el descubrimiento inspired by the constant challenge of realising intricate designs – the discovery and creation of unexpected ways of conveying designers’ ideas.
He then prepares the bag for its finishing touches and, with a beam on his face, attaches the key accessory that gives the Gate Bag its name. Our expert attributes his sense of satisfaction from a very present feeling of ser artesano while at work, and especially takes pride in his dedication to his craft.
Visitors of the open days were equally greeted by the ‘Past, Present, Future’ exhibition, a showcase of pieces from Loewe’s archives dating back to 1846. Rather than following any chronological order, an eclectic mix of collections and images from different periods met and fused to form an aesthetically harmonious display. From gold suede collections reminiscent of the field of wheat in Spain’s Castilla region to more recent desk accessories inspired by the modern, dynamic style of Barcelona’s city architecture, collection after collection are all invariably imbued with a sense of timelessness, of the brand’s hallmarked value of its Spanish origins.
And bringing together this emphasis on provenance with Loewe’s heritage of artisanal excellence extends far beyond the glass shelves of exhibitions. Consisting of over 5,000 pieces, the archives, the presenter explains, serve as an essential source of inspiration for the designs of new collections.
Our presenter of the exhibition, an assistant to Loewe’s museum curator, reflects on how her job remains close to her heart, for working closely with the pieces in the archives reminds her of her own childhood. Perhaps through remembering the importance of looking back at our past such as in Loewe’s exhibition we are encouraged to re-connect with traditions and re-kindle a very human relationship to our history and environment.
Casa Loewe’s edition of exhibiting the passion and craftwork behind final products most certainly paid tribute to the brand’s enthusiasm as a patron of the arts and creativity. As the emerald agate ceiling scattered the October sunlight to illuminate an artistic space, encouraging a renewed appreciation for the human vitality that fuels artisan tradition, Loewe’s open days indeed propose a refreshing approach to the modern – at once marked by optimism and tranquility.