Loewe Creative Director: ‘Customer today needs newness’

Spanish luxury house of Loewe founded in 1846, owned by giant LVMH, has embarked on a new chapter in its history, with Creative Director Jonathan Anderson, in charge of the Creative Direction. Jonathan Anderson staged his first runway show for Loewe on Friday, during the official Paris Fashion Week calendar, setting out to redefine luxury: unvarnished, immediate and personal.

“If a bag owns you, it’s a bit of a problem,” the 30-year-old said. “The idea of luxury today has fundamentally changed. You need things to look real. The faker it becomes, the more detached you are from a product.”

Luxury also needs to move at a faster pace in the Internet age, Anderson said in an interview to WWD. “The customer today needs newness,” he said. “Fashion has changed, and it’s continuing to change because, fundamentally, people get bored quicker. When you see it, you want to buy it.”

“It’s not necessarily about design. It’s about how we consume,” Anderson said. “We consume a lot online, so the veneer has gone, the barrier. You can shop at your leisure — in bed, on the beach, in any format.”

Grabbing a catalogue, he showed one of his first bag designs juxtaposed with a 1997 Steven Meisel photograph of a beach scene, making the point that the product inhabits or reflects the lifestyle. He cited encouraging sales of that unstructured hobo, which telegraphs his less-formal approach to design. “I feel like they’re easier. You can throw it over your shoulder,” he said.

“When this brand started, they did not set out to make vintage bags. They went out to make modern bags. So, there always has to be the modernity, no matter what decade you’re in,” he said.

Born in Northern Ireland, Anderson studied men’s wear at the London College of Fashion, graduating in 2005. He went on to work in visual merchandising at Prada under Manuela Pavesi and consulted for several brands before launching J.W. Anderson in 2008.

At Loewe, Anderson’s creative reach extends to retail stores, with his first new concept stores, in Tokyo and Milan, incorporating fine Arts and Crafts furnishings — a rare bench by William Morris or a chair by Rennie Mackintosh, for example. Spanish architect Javier Carvajal is working closely with Anderson on the new concept of the Loewe stores which is being introduced gradually both at existing stores and new units.

The designer said his association with LVMH and a slew of developments with his own brand, headlined by an e-commerce site, have made him more “business-excited” and that he finds daily selling reports addictive.

‘I do fundamentally want to quadruple this brand,’ he said of Loewe, clarifying that it’s a personal mission and not a target set by LVMH. “I look at sales every morning. If I’m in an airport, I’m at the store. If I’m in Paris, I’m in the store. You have to do that….I want to know what is selling, in what quantity, to whom, and why did they buy it?’

Anderson is also acutely aware that fashion insiders and the general public have very different benchmarks. For example, he’s proud of his campaigns mixing new photographs by Meisel with iconic Nineties shots, such as one of Amber Valletta sipping a glass of water that’s part of the latest billboard campaign.

World’s largest luxury group LVMH, which fully owns Loewe,  also acquired 46% stake in J.W. Anderson last year, shortly after Jonathan Anderson was appointed Creative Director of Loewe.

Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director LOEWE Madrid