Jonathan Anderson, artistic director of Loewe, talks to Numéro about his stunningly beautiful design objects
Jonathan Anderson talks to Numéro about his “Bowls” collection: somewhere between design and sculpture, these three sets of 50 objects were inspired by British ceramics and hand-crafted in leather.
Numéro: Presumably the “Bowls” collection was inspired by your passion for ceramics?
Jonathan Anderson: Yes absolutely. I love ceramics in general and British ceramics in particular. It’s probably because I’d be incapable of making any myself, and I like the idea of approaching materials in a tactile way. Looking at contemporary British ceramics, I wondered if we could use modern forms for a project involving craft knowhow, and use our factories in a totally new way by producing one-off leather pieces which would allow you to clearly see the craftsmanship involved. So we revived a traditional technique where you dampen the leather in order to mould it.
Numéro: You’re using the display windows of the Loewe stores to show the collection. Are these “Bowls” a new way of creating an in-store event that goes beyond fashion?
Jonathan Anderson: Yes, I want the brand to be a cultural brand. It’s a question of fashion, strategy and marketing, but also something else. The stores aren’t just there to sell products. Sometimes they can offer an experience, and that’s just as good. The bowls give an idea of our craftsmanship, they’re made from just a single piece of leather. This craftsmanship, which is specific to Loewe, doesn’t have to be employed to make a bag, it can also be used to make an object. It was really exciting to be sitting in the factory wetting the leather, making the bowls with our hands and creating all these different shapes. The bowls are perfectly functional, they can contain small objects, but they’re sculptural first and foremost.
Numéro: Through these projects that you undertake personally, the public gets a chance to know you better. You strongly incarnate the brand, and through your choices a whole coherent world view becomes clear.
Jonathan Anderson: I think people should get to know each other. Loewe isn’t a “mega brand,” so it’s size makes this kind of intimacy possible. When I have an idea, it’s realized in three months. Everything goes really fast. I really like the idea of sometimes showing something other than my work, of collaborating with people who I respect enormously, like rug-maker John Allen, whose work we’ve shown in the store windows. Beyond bags, we can sell an idea, or even me! [Laughs.] I like meeting clients and meeting the press. I’m not an ordinary person, I like talking! So it’s really nice to be able to do very personal projects and then discuss them afterwards.
Interview by Delphine Roche