January 25, 2009
Stuart Vevers has been at Loewe just a year, moving from a gig as Mulberry's hit bag designer in London to a new life in Madrid to take on the luxury leather goods label. He's learning. "I was a bit notorious for overweight bags with giant hardware before," he laughed. "But here I've made everything soft and light. There's 160 years' worth of know-how, so I'm really concentrating on bringing out what we're good at." For pre-fall, Vevers pointed to a glossy brown leather coat with a plain man's belt tied around as "quintessential" Loewe, a lifetime classic. But finding a profile for the woman who might buy it is a work in progress. "The attitude is super-groomed but a bit tough. She has a definite shape, a waist, likes bold jewelry." She might also like to shrug on a mannish topcoat in a blurry herringbone or snap up a pair of super-fine suede gauntlets. The real test of Loewe's right to command the high ground, though, is the bags. Vevers said he'd studied a sand-colored suede carry-on piece, originally made in 1975, and applied the principle of soft structure to his ideas. That means puffy napa pouches, squashed ostrich hobos, and a lot of chain-handled lizard bags. The Vevers punch is in the proportion and details: This season the fastenings are bolt heads and the chains are as fine as can be.