Imagine a limited collection that combines artisanal craftsmanship with whimsical yet classic visuals and you’ll get a limited edition born out of the shared values of a mutual love for craft and artisanal techniques.
Loewe, the LVMH-owned Spanish heritage brand has revealed its much-anticipated partnership with Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli this January for a brand new capsule collection. The Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro capsule collection will see the animated fantasy film come to life as its iconic characters and landscapes appear on limited-edition ready-to-wear pieces, leather products, and accessories.
“There is a natural longing for heartwarming feelings right now. When I think of a movie that affords me that kind of solace, speaking just as directly to a child as it does to an adult, that movie is My Neighbor Totoro,” says Loewe Creative Director, Jonathan Anderson. “Anyone who has seen Hayao Miyazaki’s 1988 masterpiece cannot possibly forget it. The story of Mei and Satsuki’s friendship with the magical Totoro and his cohorts, the mischievous dust bunnies, who can’t be seen by adults but only by the children who love them, is truly touching. It’s also a labor of love by its author and the team at Studio Ghibli, the Japanese film studio based in Tokyo who animated and directed the film. It is a product of craft in the form of an animated movie.”
The collection celebrates the poetry and immediacy of its characters’ iconography – qualities that have made My Neighbor Totoro a true cultural landmark. The process of collaborating with Studio Ghibli has been both a privilege and a creative encounter. The studio is known for its animated feature films but has also produced short films and television commercials. Founded in 1985 by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, with producer Toshio Suzuki, it has created masterpieces such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and has received a roster of Academy Award nominations.
Sharing this total commitment to craft, which is the very essence of LOEWE, the brand decided to create a capsule collection that transports the protagonists of the movie onto a range of clothing, leather bags, and accessories. “I find the way that we used the characters on leather accessories particularly charming, as we worked with our very own leather marquetry —or ‘intarsia’— technique. The Totoro characters are featured in intarsia on the surface of iconic LOEWE bags such as the Puzzle, the Balloon, and the Hammock, as well as on small leather accessories such as pouches, cases, and wallets. A meticulous tapestry technique is explored in tote bags.” Anderson muses.
The LOEWE x My Neighbor Totoro collection features the iconic characters and the fantasy landscapes they inhabit interpreted as prints, allover prints, jacquard intarsia, and leather marquetry – also as hand-painted motifs or transformed into pom-poms. Suggesting a feeling of comfort out in the open air, shapes are loose and relaxed across t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, jumpers, and culottes, but also biker jackets. The fluidity of the whole collection conveys a distinctively youthful feel.
The campaign images created with photographer Gray Sorrenti captures the magical mood of discovery and connection with nature that is the ultimate message of My Neighbor Totoro. Models are captured in the woods as they hide, seek, and find. The notion of connection is conveyed through light, while a sense of wonder permeates the ambiance and the narrative.
“The message is one of dreamy serenity and hands-on creativity – of being at one with nature and with one’s own inner child – which is especially important right now and, I think, always will be.’” Anderson shares.
The collection is not the first time a major fashion house has teamed up with favorite animated characters. In 2020 we saw the emergence of a variety of unlikely collaborations; from Gucci x Micky Mouse, to Balenciaga x Hello Kitty and the recent launch of Nike x Gremlins.