HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
More than 175 years ago, in 1846, Loewe began as a leather making collective in Spain. Enrique Loewe Roessberg, a Hessian merchant, joined a group of leather craftsmen in Madrid and introduced the idea of the Loewe label.
In the early 1900s, Queen Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (aka Queen Ena of Spain) became a regular customer of the brand. In 1905, the brand obtained a “Royal Warrant of Appointment” and became an official purveyor of leather bags to the Royal Household of Spain. With a reputation for high-quality leather craftsmanship and this royal cachet, Loewe began to emerge as a luxury fashion brand.
Given its provenance creating desirable luxury, Loewe is sometimes now known as, “the Spanish Hermès.” Early famous customers included the writer Ernest Hemingway and famous film stars such as Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, and Sophia Loren.
Loewe introduced its first “ready-to-wear” collection in the 1960s. The Loewe logo, introduced in the 1970s, was first designed by Karl Lagerfeld. The brand then expanded into perfumes and fashion. Designers Giorgio Armani and Laura Biagiotti created early womenswear collections for Loewe.
LVMH acquired the brand in 1996. Since then, there have been several well-known creative directors leading the house, including Narciso Rodriguez (1997-2000), José Enrique Oña Selfa (2000-2007), Stuart Vevers (2007-2013), and Jonathan Anderson (since 2013).
Known today to be “obsessed with craftsmanship,” Loewe states that its focus is on:
• Artisanal techniques
• Modern design
• Refined manufacturing
• High quality, low impact materials
Loewe celebrates innovative designs and employs innovative master artisans who demonstrate only the highest levels of expertise and skill with leather goods.
THE JONATHAN ANDERSON ERA
Since 2013, Jonathan Anderson (JW Anderson) has been creative director of the house of Loewe. Anderson led the company to refresh its brand identity and further reassert itself as a major luxury retail brand.
Anderson has created collections for men and women that have been dubbed, “surreal,” “unconventional,” and “thought-provoking.”
He designed the original puzzle bag in 2015, which has become one of Loewe’s most recognizable designs.
THE CRAFT PRIZE
In 2017, under the direction of Jonathan Anderson, the company created the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize–the “world´s first international award for contemporary craft.” This prize recognizes artists and makers who create one-of-a-kind objects of superior aesthetic value.
The Foundation accepts entries from applied arts such as ceramics, bookbinding, enamelwork, furniture, glass, jewelry, lacquer, leather (of course!), metal, paper, textiles, and wood. The prize showcases how exceptional craftsmanship still contributes to contemporary culture.
Some iconic Loewe handbag styles include:
• The Puzzle
• The Gate
• The Hammock
• The Loewe Basket bag
• The Loewe Elephant bag
• The Loewe Flamenco Knot tote bag
• The Loewe Bunny bag
• The Loewe Barcelona small bag
• The Loewe Missy small bag
The Puzzle in particular is one of the most famous “Spanish it bags,” transcending seasons to become an evergreen choice for a posh, functional, and beautiful handbag.
THE PUZZLE BAG
The brand’s most recognizable and iconic handbag comes in a cuboid shape, with roughly nine pieces of leather sewn together. The construction allows the bag to lay flat. Or it can be worn at least five ways: shoulder bag, elbow satchel, clutch, messenger backpack, and crossbody sling.
Originated by current creative director Jonathan Anderson, it was introduced at the men’s spring 2015 show in Paris and quickly became an “it bag” both on trend and timeless in nature.
It’s available in pebbled calfskin, goatskin, and calfskin. It’s offered in sizes ranging from nano to mini, small, medium, and large.
Nano puzzle (the smallest of the puzzle line) starts at around $1645.
SUSTAINABILITY & THE WOVEN BASKET BAG
Loewe says that it seeks out “low impact materials sourced and produced with our planet in mind.” The brand lists “traceability of origin, fair conditions for farmers, animal welfare and the protection of biodiversity” as factors considered when procuring raw materials.
In 2021, Loewe introduced The Surplus Project in order to reuse materials from previous collections. A good example of this initiative is the Woven Basket Bag.
The Loewe Woven Basket Bag reinterprets traditional woven bags, creating a checkerboard effect with carefully woven calfskin strips and rolled calfskin top handles. Created from otherwise discarded materials, this bag preserves precious resources. The bags have a detachable shoulder strap as well as the top handle carry and feature the luxurious-looking Loewe embossed anagram on particular calfskin strips.
ALERT YOUR BANK BEFORE YOU BUY
The Loewe website currently lists these price ranges for the brand’s most popular bags:
The Puzzle bag runs from $2,350 – $3,450 (and the smallest “nano” version of the puzzle starts at $1645); The Gate costs anywhere from $990 to $2,550; and The Hammock is priced between $1,990 to $3250. A small Surplus Leather Woven Basket bag currently rings up at about $2,250 on Loewe’s site. However, on Ebay or Tradesy, you might be able to snag a “pre-loved” Loewe branded bag starting at the $400 – $900 price points (and up).
LOEWE REPAIR INFORMATION
Loewe offers a care and cleaning service for all leather goods, as outlined on this Care Guide Page. Visit a Loewe store to learn more.
• Loewe is LVMH’s oldest luxury fashion house.
• Queen Sofía (mother of the current King of Spain, King Felipe VI) and Queen Letizia (the wife of King Felipe VI) have been spotted wearing Loewe handbags.
• The LOEWE x Spirited Away capsule collection includes a Chihiro Small Hammock bag