Spanish luxury house Loewe might have a name that's hard to pronounce [repeat after me: it's Low-EY-vay], but it's been on every fashion-lover's lips since creative director Jonathan Anderson took over in 2013.
Now Loewe is making a splash locally with its first Australian store at Melbourne's Chadstone attracting serious buzz since opening in December.
The hype is particularly focused on Anderson's cleverly-engineered 'puzzle bag' – it even has its own hashtag – which is carried by cool kids from the streets of Madrid to Paris Fashion Week.
This must-have men's bag is designed to be worn five different ways and comes in a variety of classic shades like black and navy, or bolder colours like khaki and orange.
The makings of a classic
This weekend, Loewe artisan Paula Gordillo Garcia has been flown to Melbourne with her elaborate working table and tools to reveal just how these coveted leather bags are made.
From April 21-23, Garcia will put the pieces of the puzzle together – metaphorically speaking – and explain the bag's nine-hour making process that requires approximately 41 pieces of leather.
The Chadstone store also features an Australia-first exhibition of images titled Past, Present, Future, a retrospective of the 170-year-old brand.
Splayed across the floor and walls of the normally-understated store, the images were curated by Anderson for a self-titled book and visual diary, featured in the gallery above.
A devoted following
Melinda O'Rourke from Emerald Group Investments was instrumental in bringing Loewe to Australia for the first time, and is particularly proud to see its success.
With more than 25 years experience in the luxury sector, she's had her eye on the brand for years.
"There are many Loewe devotees," says O'Rourke. "It has a long history of loyal customers. The Loewe pieces are not just amazingly crafted, but they're gender neutral and androgynous and there's a growing client base for this sort of product in Australia," she says.
O'Rourke says Anderson's influence has undeniably attracted more interest.
"With Jonathan at the helm he's delivered a couple of amazing bags like the puzzle. With the globalisation of brands [using] the internet and social media, consumers are able to have a conversation they may otherwise not have had," she says.
Bag it up
The puzzle bags range in size from a small ($2850), medium ($3190), large ($3500) and the grand daddy XL ($3890), with the latter proving to be the most popular among the gents.
They're all available in classic and seasonal colours, while a range of slim line briefcases are also popular in black, rich tans and orange with contrast stitching.
"When you're offering something unique and limited edition that's all about inherent quality you have a greater chance of survival in retail," says O'Rourke.
"Consumers in Australia also want someone that's exclusive, beautiful and not easily replicated."
Check out the gallery above to see a sneak preview of Loewe's book.