Although one of the oldest leather handbag brands, Loewe wasn’t often placed in the same category as other heritage brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci. While Loewe, unofficially known as the “Hermès of Spain,” was beloved in Europe and among those in the know, it was only recently that the Spanish brand took its rightful place among the titans of the luxury world. One of the top 20 hottest brands of the early 2020s, Loewe is responsible for producing some of the most gorgeous and innovative handbags in fashion history.
A Brief History of Loewe
Loewe began in 1846 as a leathermaking collective, and was acquired by German craftsman Enrique Loewe Roessberg in 1872. The workshop in Madrid (which is still in use today) saw generations of leather workers pass down artisanal techniques. Specializing in made-to-order book covers, cases, and small leather goods, Loewe became well known with the Spanish elite. In 1905 the King and Queen of Spain gave Loewe the official title of “Supplier to the Royal Court.”
Throughout the 20th century Loewe expanded into a luxury fashion house, opening boutiques in Spain and launching a Ready to Wear line in 1965. In 1970 artist Vicente Vela designed the iconic Anagram logo. Informally known as “el cangrejo,” or “the crab,” the Anagram is made up of four Ls and was inspired by cattle branding irons. Signifying a devotion to leather goods, the Anagram (which was subtly re-designed in 2014) is a marker of Loewe’s commitment to quality.
Stuart Vevers and the Amazona Bag
In 2008 Stuart Vevers was appointed as creative director of Loewe. Vevers, who had previously worked at brands like Mulberry and Bottega Veneta, set out to emphasize the historic importance of the Spanish house. Stating that, “it’s not about the It bag anymore… What’s next is things that have authenticity and beauty,” Vevers focused on crafting well-made pieces and highlighting bags from Loewe’s archives. The most iconic of these was the Amazona. Created in 1975, the Amazona debuted at the end of the dictatorship in Spain. Named for the mythical Amazons, the Amazona bag was made to represent freedom, glamor, and modern femininity. While the bag’s classic silhouette is deceptively simple, the Amazona, like all Loewe bags, is painstakingly handcrafted from the finest leathers. The Amazona is made from 61 pieces of leather in a 250-step process, requiring the work of four different artisans. Vevers revitalized this bag, bringing it to the American luxury market, and in turn boosting Loewe’s reputation stateside.
Jonathan Anderson and the Puzzle Bag
In 2013 Jonathan Anderson (founder of J.W. Anderson, his eponymous line) took over as creative director of Loewe. Like Vevers, Anderson used Loewe’s long history as inspiration, focusing on the high level of leather craftsmanship that has always defined the brand. Anderson introduced the Puzzle bag in 2014, and the unique handbag was an instant hit. The cleverly designed cuboid bag has an over 500-step construction process, can be folded flat, and be easily transformed into different styles. With a top handle and detachable strap, the Puzzle bag can be worn as a handbag, shoulder bag, crossbody bag, sling backpack, or carried as a clutch. The myriad of styling options and heirloom quality puts the Puzzle bag among the luxury handbag greats.
Commitment to Craft
In addition to being one of the hottest luxury houses, Loewe is committed to fostering the art of craftsmanship. The Loewe Foundation, established in 1988 by Enrique Loewe Lynch, supports the advancement of poetry, dance, photography, art, and craft. The foundation holds an annual Craft Prize, awarding artists who work in the fields of ceramics, bookbinding, leather work, and more. This dedication to promoting expert craftsmanship is evident in everything Loewe creates, from leather handbags and woven baskets to tailored trench coats and suede sneakers.
If you are looking for well-made luxury that will stand the test of time, look no further than Loewe. Browse Luxury Garage Sale’s ever-growing collection of Loewe handbags, shoes, and clothing, or contact a personal shopper who can help you find the perfect piece.
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