Dubbed Casa Loewe, each of the brand’s new flagships have been conceived as a showcase of Loewe’s participation in a cultural conversation that spans far wider than fashion. The first of these spaces was revealed in Madrid in 2016, Londoners got theirs this past spring, and New York’s Greene Street location opens this week. “There is something nice about SoHo that feels realistic and there is a kind of [homeyness] to it and a kind of romance,”. By approaching each store like an art-filled living room, Anderson’s personal edit of modern and contemporary artworks from the Loewe Foundation finds harmonies with craft pieces acquired from makers who participate in the annual Loewe Craft Prize.
The centre point of the LOEWE Greene Street store is a curved bank of floor-to-ceiling threaded wooden columns inspired by a piece Anderson spotted at the Kettle’s Yard house and museum in Cambridge, England, home to the idiosyncratic collection of British and European avant-garde pieces accumulated by the late Jim and Helen Ede. “It’s one of my favourite houses, and I have been going there for a very long time; I think it’s one of the most dynamic collection in Britain,” he says. “As you go into the front door to the right, there is a cider press Ede bought or exchanged with someone in France, and above it he has a pair of crystal decanters and a blue painting by Miró that he was given while in Paris. I like the idea of repurposing something into a stand. There is a kind of Brancusi feeling to it.”
The Anderson method of evolution is to keep Loewe’s retail concepts close to his heart. Positioned as curator in chief of the Spanish brand, Anderson has spent six years shaping the Loewe world as a manifestation of his own inner passions. “It doesn’t happen overnight. I’m glad that we’ve taken six years to open in New York because I think it takes time to build a story, and I think it takes time to be able to build brands. I think we’re in this abstract moment of hype where brands have to work in six months. It’s impossible!” he declares. “It takes time to build a DNA that is right for a store and the right environment—and it shouldn’t be perfect. We end up trying to build, in a weird way, mausoleums, whereas I think stores need to be emotional places. When I buy something, I find it’s a very emotional process. You’ve got to work really hard to make money, and then, you know, you treat yourself.”
Building Loewe into something more than just buttery leather bags, cerebral ready-to-wear, and annual art-world collaborations has made the brand more than just a thing to buy into; it’s a life goal. “That’s why we have fan zines, that’s why we have posters, that’s why we have talks programs, that’s why I try to go out around the world and find a Rennie Mackintosh chair for the store,” he says. “I think what our customer wants is an honest opinion of something. They want an edit. They want personality. I think if you don’t do storytelling then it’s very complicated to be able to compete. There are so many brands. You have to tell the story through the store and make the retail experience exciting and fulfilling.”
“I always fantasize that I lived in New York. Maybe I’m just a British person looking in, wondering what it would be like to live in New York, but the idea of the party is a house party in every sense, where people can have conversations in the bathroom, but at the same time there’s an abstraction. Do you feel like you could fall into the floor? Are you doing magic mushrooms or not?” Anderson says. “The best parties you go to are house parties you never plan.” Anderson might be a man with a big plan for the future, but even the cleverest among us like to let loose now and then. At Loewe, you can do it all—plus buy a great dress.
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