The first question: how to say Loewe? The answer is “low-ay-ve”, the name of a company whose founding date, 1846, marks it out as one of the oldest purveyors of luxury leather goods in the world.
But before we talk of the superb craftsmanship which can be traced back to the 8th century when Spanish Córdoba leather was first prized by the crowned heads of Europe, before we talk about unique napa as soft as velvet, or even of today's artisans who are so skilled they can make super-soft unlined bags where the interior is as perfect as the exterior, we should speak of Spain.
Spain, and especially Madrid, the stately yet lively capital, is deep in Loewe's soul. Spain is perhaps unique in Europe in that it is still what it was; for while resolutely international and innovative with its chefs, architects and Oscar-winning movie stars, the country's authenticity remains intense and alive.
Modern Madrileños may no longer wear the lace mantillas of their grandmothers or (often) dance flamenco, yet a noble grace remains among those who hold on to their traditions with a fierce pride while embracing the freedom to do whatever they please.
This is a land of great culture; of art's grand masters; El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Picasso, Dalí. It is the nation depicted by Cervantes and García Lorca on the page; Buñuel and Almodóvar on the screen. As for the international glamour of the movies, Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, Sophia Loren all came to Spain (and Loewe). Ava Gardner arrived in Madrid to shoot a movie, fell out of love with her husband, Frank Sinatra, and, after her friend, Ernest Hemingway took her shopping, in love, for life, with Loewe.
Madrid is a city for people who dare, thus it is fitting our story begins with an émigré called Enrique Loewe Roessberg who had travelled more than a thousand miles from his native Germany to found the company that bears his name.
A more recent émigré seduced by Spain is Englishman, Stuart Vevers, Loewe's creative director, who today conjures up contemporary creations for the house that are absolutely of their time and yet informed by what has gone before. Vevers calls Madrid, “exotic, elegant, electric. It can appear austere yet it is also an intimate city of the senses”.
Spanish sensuality is everywhere at Loewe where the leather is so soft, you have to reach out and touch it. For Spaniards, luxury IS Loewe, whether we are talking about heirlooms passed through generations; an iconic Amazona bag that has remained contemporary for over quarter of a century passed from mother to daughter; or leather and suede clothing which gets better the more it is worn.
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