Couture Gets Loewe

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Published July 7, 2011

STUART VEVERS

Yesterday, Loewe launched a bespoke line of clothing and bags, and proved that old-school luxury is alive and well. The label, founded in 1864 in Madrid, is called the “Spanish Hermès”: both houses made a name for themselves with high-end leather bags and accessories, and later imported that craftsmanship into fashion lines.

Today, the weak luxury market leads high-end brands to boost sales with cheaper lines—but Loewe has gone the opposite route, focusing instead on ultra-grandeur. The line, whose cheapest item costs $1700, offers the customer the possibility to customize garments, by choosing between different exotic skins like ostrich, lizard, and crocodile, and a wide color palette.

Yet the most surprising aspect is the chic paring down of design. Far from the crystal-bedecked gowns so typical of couture, the bespoke collection consists of trench coats, pencil skirts, knits. The indulgence lies in the quality and the craftsmanship, creative director Stuart Vevers believes: “This is the essence of the house, and what people come to us for.”

The appeal of the line lies “in pushing the construction further,” Vevers said, indicating the delicate leather lining inside a suede coat.

Are couture clients’ tastes evolving, moving away from bling? “Well, our brand isn’t about that,” says Vevers. “We are about authentic values and craftsmanship, and encourage a subtle novelty, one that is easy, cool.” And Loewe is one of the only brands that can make a head-to-toe leather outfit look more Champs Elysées that Moulin Rouge. “Embrace it all!” said Vevers with a smile, “You should have fun with leather—I definitely do!”