What started as a consortium of artisans in 1872 is now Loewe, the Madrid-based fashion house best known for its leather goods. LVMH has owned the company since 1996, and upped its fashion-industry credibility in 2007 by hiring former Mulberry designer Stuart Vevers as its creative director.
Vevers, who left Loewe in 2013 to lead Coach's revival, did a good job of giving Loewe's handbags a fashionable sheen. But he did not make it a fashion leader. However, J.W. Anderson founder Jonathan Anderson, who is Vever's replacement, is capable of doing so.
On Friday, the designer showed his first-ever women's collection for the house, a superb mix of fresh ideas -- torn pieces of suede, leather or cotton fashioned into shirts, dresses and skirts -- and easy silhouettes, like a tie-waist leather trouser cut ultra loose. Nature motifs pulled from the house's scarf archive were transferred onto bateaux t-shirts made out of latex, while a suede trench offered a new sort of leather jacket. He used quite a bit of gold -- Loewe's signature color -- but kept in soft and almost muted on suede and knitted pieces.
While the clothes showed great promise, accessories are currently the center of Loewe's business. So, it was important that Anderson deliver on that front as well. There was so much to love here, but especially the d'Orsay loafer with a chunky heel, and a pink triangle clutch tied up in a similar way as his leather trousers.
Anderson only launched his London-based label in 2008, and didn't start designing a full women's line until 2011. To be sure, his aesthetic is far more sophisticated and advanced than most designers at his experience level. The advantage of his youth, though, is that his work doesn't feel weighed down by time. To think that this collection is only the beginning is a nice thought.