A CLAS­SIC CASE OF CRE­ATIV­ITY

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High­light­ing its love of all things in­no­va­tive, Span­ish brand Loewe un­veiled a lim­it­ededi­tion set of books dur­ing the ready-towear shows in Paris, each with a sleeve fea­tur­ing im­ages by Amer­i­can fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher Steven Meisel. The books were le on ev­ery seat dur­ing the show for guests to take home, while the en­tire set, which is pre­sented in a cus­tom-de­signed box, went on sale last month for Dh2,000.

Since its in­cep­tion in 1846, the lux­ury fash­ion house has nur­tured cra as much as fash­ion – Loewe be­gan as a cra col­lec­tive and has al­ways placed high value on the hand­work of the ar­ti­san. Known for the qual­ity of its ma­te­ri­als (its high-grade leather, in par­tic­u­lar) and for its im­pec­ca­ble fin­ish, the brand es­tab­lished the Loewe Foun­da­tion in 1988, to sup­port cre­ativ­ity, ed­u­ca­tion and her­itage in po­etry, dance, cra and the arts. In 2016, cre­ative direc­tor Jonathan An­der­son set up the Loewe Cra Prize, an an­nual event for cra speo­ple across the world, while the Po­etry Prize is awarded to Span­ish bards.

Con­sid­er­ing this le -field slant, it is not un­ex­pected that the cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories la­bel should re­lease a box set of clas­sic tales, with ti­tles cho­sen by An­der­son him­self. The sto­ries in­clude Wuther­ing Heights by Emily Brontë, Drac­ula by Bram Stoker, The Pic­ture

of Do­rian Gray by Os­car Wilde, Madame Bo­vary by Gus­tave Flaubert, Heart of Dark­ness by Joseph Conrad, and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cer­vantes.

Partly bound in a tex­tured, neu­tral-toned fab­ric, the books are wrapped in im­ages that Meisel orig­i­nally cre­ated for mag­a­zine fash­ion shoots, most no­tably for Vogue Italia. A long-time col­lab­o­ra­tor with Loewe, the pho­tog­ra­pher has shot all its re­cent cam­paigns, in­clud­ing some much-lauded beauty shots for spring/ sum­mer 2018. In a nice piece of sym­me­try, Meisel pho­tographed the brand’s spring/sum­mer 2017 cam­paign star­ring model and ac­tress Am­ber Val­letta, who in­ci­den­tally ap­pears on the cover of Madame

Bo­vary from a cam­paign he shot back in 2006. He also cap­tured Bri­tish model Stella Ten­nant read­ing Don

Quixote for the au­tumn/win­ter 2018 cam­paign. The choice of us­ing the work Meisel has done for

Vogue Italia is telling. A er all, why wouldn’t he cre­ate new im­ages for the book cov­ers? The an­swer prob­a­bly has to do with his famed work­ing re­la­tion­ship with

Vogue Italia’s edi­tor Franca Soz­zani. He shot ev­ery one of her cov­ers for more than 30 years, and it was Soz­zani who pushed her pro­tégé to be more and more dar­ing. Sadly, she passed away in 2016, and per­haps by us­ing th­ese im­ages, Loewe is pay­ing its re­spects to one of the fash­ion in­dus­try’s great thinkers.

On the sur­face, the im­ages have noth­ing to do with the story in­side each book, yet are tinged with nar­ra­tive sym­bol­ism. For the book cover of Drac­ula, for ex­am­ple, model Karen El­son sits on a sofa in a set­ting that is at once do­mes­tic and faintly creepy.

The Heart of Dark­ness cover fea­tures a shot from the 2010 cam­paign Wild is the Wind, with mod­els dressed in rags liv­ing in a for­est. For Don Quixote – whose ad­ven­tures would not be com­plete with­out his stead Roci­nante – model Carolyn Mur­phy stands next to a horse wear­ing a dis­turb­ing plas­tic mask. Throw­ing con­ven­tion on its head, one im­age is printed side­ways, while much like Heath­cliff and Cather­ine’s tu­mul­tous re­la­tion­ship, the cover im­age of Brontë’s tale (a 2005 Meisel baroque por­trait) is up­side down. www.loewe.com

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