LOEWE began as a cooperative of leather artisans in the center of Madrid in 1846. German entrepreneur Enrique Loewe Roessberg consolidated the workshop under his name in 1872, creating one of the world’s original luxury houses. As LOEWE evolved and expanded over the next century, a commitment to modernity emerged as a defining characteristic: In the 1950s and 60s, LOEWE’s offices and stores in Spain became a beacon of progressive international design thanks to the radical architecture and interiors of Javier Carvajal. In the 70s and 80s, LOEWE’s capabilities with leather ensured rapid internationalization, resulting in store openings in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London.
In 1970, artist Vicente Vela created the Anagram, the abstract symbol consisting of four intertwined Ls that has been stamped ever since on LOEWE’s products as an emblem of material and technical excellence. LOEWE’s first ready-to-wear collection was introduced in 1965—bringing fashion into the core of the brand—followed by the debut of the iconic, unlined Amazona bag in 1975. The house was acquired by luxury group LVMH in 1996.
In 1846 Madrid was preparing for a pair of royal weddings, those of Her Majesty Isabel II of Bourbon to the Duke of Cadiz and that of the Princess Maria Luisa Fernanda to the Duke of Montpensier. Due to an increased demand for their services, a collection of Spanish craftsmen founded a leather goods workshop in the commercial district of Madrid on Lobo Street. In 1872, when a German craftsman named Enrique Roessberg Loewe who specialised in leatherwork arrived in Madrid, he decided to join forces with the existing leather workshop owners and establish a brand. The collaboration allowed Enrique Loewe to bring his German sense of precision and craftsman’s technique and mix it with the Spanish workshop’s sensuality and unequalled leather expertise.
During the reign of Alfonso XIII, Loewe was appointed purveyor to the royal household and so began a long association with the bourgeoisie. Twenty years later the name of E.Loewe was seen all over the streets of Madrid, with large posters staking his claim to certain areas. This resulted in his name also becoming known amongst the general public. By 1910, Loewe had acquired a reputation as the most luxurious leather goods supplier in the city and began its expansion across the Spanish territory. When Enrique Loewe Knappe took over the company in 1934, there followed a succession of store openings and expansions and by the end of the 1960s Loewe was beginning to expand internationally.
Renowned for their made-to-order service, Loewe customers are able to order clothes and accessories tailor made to their requirements either in store or from the Loewe website. Pieces are handmade by a team of artisans whose craft has been passed down since 1846. Still a unique family dynasty, Enrique Loewe Lynch is part of the business and is the family’s representative on the board of directors.
Craftsmanship, progress and unequalled expertise with leather, Loewe’s founding pillars are reconfigured with a timely awareness evident in desirable and functional products across multiple categories, including ready-to-wear, accessories, home and lifestyle. Spain is where Loewe was born and remains the brand’s home. While its current landscape contains elements from places near and far, the Spanish legacy is expressed in modern ways, while the heart of Loewe still beats in Madrid, where all of its world-renowned leather goods continue to be manufactured. By the 1970s Loewe broadened its business to include a women’s RTW collection and a fragrance line. Nearing the end of the decade the brand opened its first store in Japan, marking the beginning of a strong development into the Asian market. This expansion was bolstered by a collaboration with LVMH by the end of the 1980s.
In October 2013, Jonathan Anderson was appointed Creative Director.
With new creative director Jonathan Anderson at the helm, Loewe is looking to the future as the label continues to grow. As Loewe approaches its 170th anniversary as one of the world’s most luxurious fashion houses, the iconic Spanish brand has traditions of the past staying strong, delivering heritage and innovation for the next generation.
Under Anderson, Loewe has started a new chapter, presenting itself to the world more multi-faceted and dynamic than ever. Anderson’s first ready-to-wear collections for the Loewe were presented in 2014 at Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2015.
Streamlined, ultrasoft renditions of the famous Amazona and Flamenco are among the most coveted bags available at leading fashion stores today, including the Puzzle bag, a completely new bag design by Jonathan Anderson, his debut for the house. The design adds a novel character to Loewe’s range of iconic accessories, pairing modern functionality and aesthetics with ingenious construction and incredible softness.
Some excerpts taken from online posts and article submissions.