Loewe is unveiling a third — and final — collaboration with Studio Ghibli in a pop-up at The Dubai Mall's Fashion Catwalk, from February 2 to 14.
Called Loewe x Howl’s Moving Castle, this is the latest chapter in the collaboration between the Spanish leather house and the Japanese animation studio.
The range focuses on the Oscar-nominated animated film from 2004, Howl’s Moving Castle, by Japanese animator, director and manga artist Hayao Miyazaki. The film is rumoured to be Miyazaki's personal favourite.
Studio Ghibli films are particularly popular in Japan, but the charming stories also bookmark the childhoods of people in many other parts of the world.
Characters from the film, which include Sophie, Howl and the ﬁre demon Calcifer, as well as Markl, Heen, Turnip Head and the Witch of the Waste, now appear scattered through a collection that shifts from bags and small leather accessories to clothing, including hoodies, jumpers, cardigans, T-shirts, jackets, jeans, silk shirts, skirts, capes and shoes.
Leaning into Loewe's savoir faire, the characters are rendered in numerous materials, from shearling intarsia, raffia and feathers, to embroidery and applique, as well as being drawn on to leather. The castle of the title itself makes an appearance, patchworked from remnants of Loewe’s famous leather, while other images are illustrated on bags such as the Puzzle, Flamenco, Hammock, Amazona and Luna, in addition to the Bracelet pouch, in applique and printing.
Jonathan Anderson, creative director at Loewe, says: "Blending hand-drawn and digital animation, Howl’s Moving Castle is technically innovative, exemplifying the power of craft as a bridge between the old and new — a creative approach that Loewe is proud to share. In the collection, we pushed creativity with bold, intricately crafted pieces designed to bring the world of the ﬁlm, literally, to life. Key pieces embody the beloved characters and backdrops, giving wearers the chance to identify with the ﬁlm on a deep level and escape into its rich layers. It’s almost like handcrafted virtual reality in wearable form."
This follows two previous projects, Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro, which were a global phenomenon, disappearing from shelves faster than they could be restocked. When Spirited Away was launched in January 2022, such was the rush to buy online that the whole Loewe website crashed. Given this is the final instalment, these latest items are expected to sell out even faster.
The good news is that for die-hard fans, Loewe is opening a pre-sale on Loewe.com one day ahead of the event, on February 1, granting exclusive access to clients that have registered online, and a chance to snap up the latest creations a day before everyone else. In addition, selected Calcifer items will be exclusively sold online.
“The world we are living in needs a counteract: not as an escape, but as a different outlook, Anderson says, explaining why the work of Studio Ghibli is still so relevant.
"This, to me, is what Hayao Miyazaki’s animated ﬁlms for Studio Ghibli are about: a commentary on the moment and an alternative to it, always heartfelt, fulﬁlling, full of fantasy and sentiment. This is also the reason why the ﬁnal instalment of our collaboration with Studio Ghibli feels more timely than ever.”
To celebrate, Loewe commissioned Juergen Teller to shoot the advertising campaign, resulting in playful images starring Taylor Russell, Rianne Van Rompaey, Oliver O’Sullivan, Hyunji Shin and a sheep, photographed against a white backdrop, resulting in off-beat images that are as quirky – and charming – as the pieces themselves.