Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, better known as Gala Dalí, was Stuart Vevers' inspiration for the Spring collection at Loewe. "As soon as I started at Loewe, I knew she was a woman I wanted to focus on at some point," explained the creative director. It is perhaps telling that after the tougher, less than ladylike take found in last autumn's collection for the brand, he finally felt able to tackle Gala for Spring.
The woman who would get her own husband, Salvador, to seek written permission to see her—so many lovers she would have stowed away in Cadaqués, she needed the warning—was reimagined as a young, contemporary madrileña. This is the sort of girl who would appear in an Almodóvar story as much as at a meeting of the Surrealists. And she has a fondness for leather. Lots of it.
The collection was a bravura display of that signature of the house and ultimately gave the offering a handcrafted, Spanish feel. With embossing and incised florals, mimicking the traditional handmade lace encaje de bolillos—it tumbled down trenchcoats, pencil skirts, and hooded jackets—there was a lightness to this workmanship, quite literally, as leather was taken to extremes of thinness at the house ("0.4 millimeters thinner than ever before!" as Vevers proudly pointed out backstage), making it perfectly permissible for summer. Add to that the aerated, woven techniques; the appliqués on fine, transparent mesh; and the floral-printed suedes, and if you are a fan of the animal skin, this is the collection for you.
Perhaps what Vevers has now found at Loewe is the ability to focus on the things he likes and play to his own strengths. His background in handbags has also proved invaluable in the technical research for the clothing of the brand. Having an English sensibility, Vevers has finally given free rein to more offhand moments too, like a focus on the MA-1 jacket, that symbol of a multiplicity of British youth cultures, reconfigured for an aristocratic Spanish house. Above all, in these last two collections, the designer has found the woman that Loewe wants to concentrate on. It appears she is no pushover, and this season the lady may even be a bit of a tramp. Then again, it's a trend for Spring.