Jonathan Anderson on remaking Loewe
The wunderkind British designer talks about the last five years piloting the Spanish luxury brand out of the doldrums and launching it anew for a 21st-century audience.
Spain’s most storied leather goods brand, which was acquired by LVMH in 1996, brought Jonathan Anderson to the helm in 2013, where he has not only introduced several bestselling bags and critically acclaimed men’s and women’s ready-to-wear lines, but also made Loewe a prominent player in the spheres of art, craft and culture.
In five years, 35-year-old Anderson has remade the very foundations of LVMH’s oldest luxury fashion house. When he joined, he 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.
“I did not want Loewe to be built overnight because it had been tackled before and it still had inherent problems,” the designer says from Loewe’s Paris studio, where he works two days a week. (He spends the other three at the J.W. Anderson office in London.) “At the same time, I wanted something that felt like it had always been there.”
The result is a brand that feels rooted in craft and tradition, but 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.
On balancing continuity with novelty
“I think sometimes when you’ve been in a brand for a little bit longer, you realise those moments when you need to be boring because I’m moving at about 1,000 miles per hour and it takes time for people to catch up. And you sometimes know when you need to electrify things. When I am getting bored I know I have to work into the collection more, or if it’s a bag I need to reinvent it. Plus, fashion is a competition. Ultimately you’ve got to sell the product. And you have to really understand who you want to sell to because you’re not going to sell to everyone.”