Leather unlike any other | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

LEATHER outerwear by Loewe
LEATHER outerwear by Loewe

One touch tells a story.


That’s the dictum at Loewe, the 167-year-old luxury leathergoods company, which is making a comeback in the Philippines after years of absence.


The Spanish brand is proud of its heritage of artisanal craftsmanship and its use of only the finest leathers. Its principle is that it needn’t explain in so many words what makes a Loewe special; one only has to touch a Loewe purse to know the difference.


“Notice that [with our bags], there are always big pieces of leather,” said Adrian Wong, the brand’s PR and media manager for Asia Pacific, at the Manila presentation last week. “It’s because we can give you the best, big pieces of leather. We showcase the leather, to show that it’s wrinkle-free, that it’s really beautiful, and the colors are even.”


No lining


Its purses, notably the signature Amazona bags, have no lining, also to show that the leather is unblemished on both sides, and requires skill to craft as the stitchwork has to be

LOEWE Flamenco bag of embossed skin and leather jacket

impeccable. Wong said some of Loewe’s artisans have been in the company for decades, and their know-how is passed on to their offspring who take over from them.


In fact, Loewe has its own maroquiñera, or leather school, where students are given mentorship, and if they pass the stringent standards, are employed by the company. This is a program, Wong noted, that’s been helpful to Spain, which has been suffering from a high rate of unemployment.


Wong said they’re particularly proud of their napa leather, or lambskin, used in the Flamenco line—fun, drawstring tasseled bags in lively colors inspired by its namesake dance—and is smooth, silky and buttery soft to the touch. Its easy, lightweight form was Loewe’s antithesis to the heavy purses that were quite popular when Flamenco first came out (for instance, the Chloe Paddington bag with the huge padlock).


There’s also their suede in the signature Oro color, literally gold in Spanish, but which also stands for the brightness of the Spanish sun and the color of the vast Spanish plains.


“It’s smooth and velvety, but it also gets a patina and softness [as it ages],” Wong noted, as he showed an old Amazona Oro bag.

TWO-TONE napa leather Flamenco bags


One of the oldest


Loewe (pronounced LOW-ey-ve) was founded in 1846 in Madrid by a German émigré named Enrique Loewe Roessberg, making it one of the oldest luxury houses in the world, second only to Hermès, which has been around longer “only by three years,” Wong noted.


The company—sometime leathergoods supplier of European royalty, and later, Hollywood icons like Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, and literary great Ernest Hemingway—was passed on to several generations of Loewes, until it was acquired by luxury giant LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1996.


It now has over 150 stores globally, and is exclusively available in the Philippines at Rustan’s Shangri-La.


“Since Loewe left the Philippines, Loewe has changed a lot,” Wong said, noting that since people’s perception of the brand has been more classic, the efforts have been to make it “younger and more approachable.” In 2012, for instance, it rolled out a collection of Oro bags in their classic beige color, but pimped out with neon trims or handles.


Citrus shades

THREE-COLOR crocodile Amazona


Customers familiar with the brand will easily recognize the Amazona, first made in 1975 to signify women’s liberation post-Franco era. A lightweight, sporty and flexible bag originally made in gold suede or Ante Oro, the Amazona has had many iterations through the years. This season, it comes in Acids, or vibrant citrus shades.


Clients can also inquire about the exclusive Amazona Atelier service, where they can customize their own Amazona purse using the finest skins, including exotics, with 130,000 possible color, material and size combinations.


Delivery can take from 10 to 14 weeks, according to Sibovy Nguon, LVMH’s wholesale and travel retail manager for Asia Pacific. The owner’s initials can also be stamped inside the purse. A customized 35-mm crocodile Amazona can cost about P1.8 million.

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