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19 de outubro de 2011

How Spanish Brand Loewe Woos China

The bag display at the Loewe show in Hong Kong. Photo: Blue Carreon

Less than a month after its spring 2012 runway show in Paris, the Spanish luxury brand Loewe (famous worldwide for their leather) mounted a recreation of the full show in Hong Kong today, October 19. The full line up from the Paris show was flown over for the event.

When you really think about it, the Hong Kong Loewe show was a much bigger affair than the one held in Paris because it had three different sessions for regional press (a large contingent from China), buyers, and VIPs and socialites. It also incorporated a trunk show where clients can order pieces right away and they also showed their sumptuous made-to-order clothing and black leather collections. And if that weren’t enough to make one gush over the clothes designed by its creative director Stuart Vevers or those new incarnations of their iconic Amazona bag or the lust-inducing display of steamer trunks, Loewe had one of their veteran craftsmen from Madrid demonstrate the skills, know-how and tradition that goes into making their products.

While the event was primarily to show the collection, Loewe also took the opportunity to educate those who are unfamiliar with its rich heritage. This is especially important for the Chinese consumer—one of the label’s fastest growing market—whose taste level and appreciation for a brand like Loewe, taken in context with say Louis Vuitton or Chanel, is not as mature as that of the European or American or even Japanese luxury goods consumers.

Loewe trunks and Amazona bag. Photo: Blue Carreon

Between the fashion show sessions, I caught up with Stuart Vevers, who previously held stints at Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton and Mulberry before moving to Madrid to join the Spanish house, to talk about luxury, fast fashion, making mistakes and becoming a celebrity.

Why recreate the Paris show in Hong Kong?

Because we have been making a lot of changes at Loewe. I find that it’s quite a slow process to get the changes across to people. And this is a great way to tell people where we are at, what we have been doing, all the different collections, the different projects.

How is it different from when you started with Loewe in 2007 to now?

It’s really different. When I first started it was about defining what Loewe stood for, what its strengths were. And now that that is clear, it is more about telling the story to people. It’s evolved in a way because a lot of perceptions have been changed. It’s just a matter of getting it out there more broadly.

Leather trench coat from Loewe

How do you find a balance between your own aesthetic and Loewe’s heritage?

It’s not always easy. It’s one of the more challenging parts of my job. I see Loewe as a noble, heritage brand and my taste is a bit younger. I like color and a sexy look. I find often that my style can sit well with the classicism of Loewe. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t.

How does the China market factor into your design process? Does their taste level have an effect on what you produce?

We go and visit. We do research. We know what materials and color palettes work for them the same way we do research on the Spanish, European or American markets. But mostly it is about sticking to what I like and what I believe in.

Is there room for creativity in fashion when it seems to be all about business?

Yes. I don’t think business and commerce work without creativity in fashion. They need each other. I don’t think commercial is a bad word. Commercial means people desire the things you make. So in that sense I don’t feel that commercial is negative. I would never compromise what I do for short-term gains.

What do you think of the fast fashion phenomenon?

I don’t understand it. I never worked in it and I don’t shop it. To be honest it’s a world I am not familiar with.


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