LOEWE X Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons

 Loewe X Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Collaboration is a unique collection celebrating the special relationship between Spain and Japan. Loewe has invited Japanese designer Junya Watanabe to collaborate on a unique collection using Loewe’s luxurious napa and the know-how of its ateliers and marries Spanish leather with Japanese denim in a creative exchange that brings together the world-class expertise that each brand is renowned for. Loewe’s creative director Stuart Vevers first met with Junya Watanabe in Tokyo in November 2012. ‘We had a nice chat over a cup of tea,’ says Vevers. ‘From there, the collaboration began in an informal way.’ He was keen to create a collection with Watanabe, he says, because ‘I have always been a fan of Junya’s work, of the way he twists classics, and I wanted to see his take on Loewe’.
The collaboration is also timely, as 2013 sees the anniversary of two important milestones in the relationship between Spain and Japan. It is 400 years since the countries first established a formal dialogue after Hasekura Tsunenaga set out from Tokyo to Madrid to create a trade agreement with the Spanish royal family. And it is 40 years since Loewe first became available in Japan. ‘We had been talking about special projects during this year of Japan,’ says Vevers, ‘and everything came together.’
 The two designers set about building the collection, sending ideas back and forth across the world by email. ‘I have participated in collaborations before,’ says Watanabe, ‘but this is the first time I have collaborated with a specific designer at a brand. So I was nervous at the beginning. But all along, Loewe’s approach has been, “Request whatever you want and we will listen.” They have been really good to me. When I rather selfishly presented what I wanted to do, Stuart just said, “OK, let’s do it.”’
 Loewe’s ateliers produced prototypes in January 2013, and Watanabe travelled to Madrid to see them. ‘I was amazed by the way in which Junya’s interpretation of Loewe’s iconic elements was completely different,’ says Vevers. ‘He also showed us the Amazona bag in a whole new light. I’m confident that we have created a collection which will shake up the general perception of Loewe.’ Loewe and Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons presents casual clothes executed to the highest luxury standards. There are plenty of nods to Watanabe’s urban utilitarian aesthetic in the collection, which cut-and-pastes Loewe’s super-soft napa with Watanabe’s denims in easy-to-wear pieces featuring a plethora of patches in tartan and polka dot as well as denim and leather.
This capsule collection consists of a jeans-style jacket made in napa, a patchwork leather skirt, a miniskirt in leather and denim, and two styles of leather and denim jeans for women; and for men, a denim jacket with leather sleeves and leather and denim jeans. The same interplay of denim and leather is featured on the bags. Available in four sizes, Loewe’s signature Amazona comes in patchwork leather and in leather decorated with denim patches, along with pouches, purses and a tote.
What’s more, this creative dialogue between the Spanish and Japanese brands is two-way, as Loewe has manufactured several of the pieces in Junya Watanabe’s collection for AW2013, which was presented at Paris Fashion Week in March. ‘For me, when it comes to selecting a collaborative partner, the deciding factor is whether their factory has the best know-how,’ says Watanabe. ‘This is what makes Loewe such an attractive partner. What’s more, the timing is perfect, as I had been trying to find the best leather factory to work with.’
The Loewe and Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons presentation took place in Tokyo on 21 May 2013 and the collaboration will be launched at Dover Street Market Ginza at the end of August, and then available from the 1st September 2013 in 40 stores worldwide including Jeffreys in New York, as well as Loewe’s own stores and online at www.loewe.com

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