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EXCLUSIVE: Loewe Is Mounting a Craft-focused Exhibition in China

Set to open on March 22, the showcase is to recount 178 years of history and the Spanish house's recent transformation under creative director Jonathan Anderson.

Jonathan Anderson ALVARO TAPIA/WWD

Adding yet more layers of content, texture and context to the Loewe brand, its creative director Jonathan Anderson is curating “Crafted World,” an immersive exhibition about the luxury brand slated to open at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on March 22.

Billed as the Spanish house’s first major exhibition, it is to showcase an array of artifacts and artworks alongside runway footage and behind-the-scenes insights about the artisans that bring its clothing and accessories to life.

“It’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to present the world of Loewe in China, a country with such a rich heritage of craftsmanship that has inspired a number of our recent projects,” Anderson said, revealing the project exclusively to WWD.

Loewe recently tapped three Chinese master jade carvers to create pendants for the Lunar New Year, and took inspiration from Chinese monochrome ceramics for a recent collection of leather goods.

Anderson noted the Shanghai exhibition would trace the house’s 178 years of history and its links to “so many different design disciplines, from architecture to accessories, sculpture and scent.”

The “Crafted World” exhibition in Shanghai runs from March 22 to May 5.

Loewe opened its first store in China in 2001.

Other key moments in Loewe’s history spotlighted in the exhibition are its 1996 acquisition by French luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Anderson’s appointment at the creative helm in 2013, and the establishment of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize in 2016.

But one of the main narratives is how Loewe has been transformed from a Madrid-based leather-making collective and supplier to the Spanish Royal Crown into a fast-growing luxury brand steeped in contemporary culture.

Anderson has appropriated ’90s-era fashion imagery as present-day ad campaigns; brought an unvarnished, spontaneous spirit to the typically glossy luxury world, and introduced some dramatic store concepts with artistic elements, including Picasso ceramics, Charles Rennie Mackintosh chairs or a Sol LeWitt wall drawing.

A constant throughout the designer’s career has been an intense focus on craft, which stems from a personal affection for arts and crafts antiques, and his appreciation for weavers and potters. 

Spread across 17,000 square feet, the exhibition is to “transport the audience to the sights and sounds of Spain” and, via interactive rooms, “inside the visionary imaginations that have inspired Loewe’s recent collection,” according to the house.

Last month, Anderson paraded Loewe’s men’s fall 2024 collection amid paintings and video collages by American artist Richard Hawkins and he has cast sculptors, musicians and actors in recent campaigns.

The exhibition is to also exalt “the joy of making things by hand,” casting a spotlight on an array of craftspeople including Indian ribbon-makers, Ecuadorian tapestry artists, South African basket-makers and Chinese bamboo weavers.

The Shanghai showcase is free to the public and runs through May 5, after which it is meant to travel around the world.


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