By NIKKI HUANG
I feel a special affection towards Loewe, the latest luxury label SSI has brought to the Manila fashion scene.
The Loewe AW19 show was the first one I attended as a first-timer at the Paris Fashion Week. I’ll never forget the feeling of stalking up to the show venue, navigating the rained-on sidewalk in high heels. All around me, it seemed that my Instagram feed had come alive: I entered next to Aimee Song (@songofstyle) and look at my dad in silent freak-out. As per my personal rule, though, no matter how starstruck I was, I didn’t ask for a photo.
Instead, I focused my attention on Loewe’s stunning new collection.
Jonathan Anderson has absolutely killed it this season. His clothes are modern, with classical elements, including ruffled collars and cinched waists. He mixes structured checked tailoring with flowing satin skirts, pairs masculine coats with playful hats.
Truly, this collection was eye-catching but wearable, with all the excitement found in the details of pieces. Some of my favorites:
A few days after the show, we are welcomed into the Loewe showroom by top management Kleine and Gabi. As we were toured, Kleine and Gabi would take turns handing me bags to hold and try on. I was in heaven.
Our day at the showroom concluded with Kleine and Gabi excitedly bidding us goodbye: “See you soon!” When I look confused, my father explained they were going to flying to the Philippines in April to open SSI’s first Loewe boutique.
Fast forward to April 7, when, dressed in a summery orange number graciously lent to me by Loewe, I approached the opening party. The energy of the Loewe opening was infectious: A throng of Manila’s most recognized and fashionable faces filled the boutique and spilled out into the hallways of Shangri-La Plaza. Press and photographers were also abundant, almost frantic. Through the crowd, I made a beeline for Kleine and Gabi. We greeted each other with joy, one that comes from excitement that they are now being hosted by SSI in the Philippines. Only a month ago in Paris, the roles were reversed. I then hung around my favorite duo, Tim Yap and Javi Martinez. They did an excellent job with the event and they introduced me to the A-list crowd who came out for the evening.
After catching up with Tim and Javi, I excitedly greeted Heart Evangelista and Jecka, who in turn introduced me to Khino. I love seeing Heart and her team at events—our friendship has grown over the past few months. We bonded and conversed, discussing life, fashion, and beauty. She looked radiant in a ribbed Loewe dress.
I left the cocktail area and walked, smiling, to Claudia Barretto and Juliana Gomez.
“I’m so happy you’re here!” I told both my friends, whom I don’t normally see at SSI events.
I was, indeed, so happy. Loewe’s move to dress younger guests seemed a testament to their modernization, a realization that their target market should include Generation Z. This generation is, after all, spending on and experimenting with fashion more now than ever before. Juliana and I caught up, planned our next workout session—her new, short hair perfectly complemented the Loewe poncho she had on. Claudia and I compared the Puzzle and Gate bags, and she looked stunning in a fringed top by the brand, paired with relaxed jeans and a black belt.
As we tested the weights and colorways of the bags against our looks, I grinned. Loewe’s pieces, both classic and just released, are perfectly suited to Manila. Every item is innovative, multipurpose.
The designs of the bags, belts, small leather goods, and eyewear mix whimsy and wisdom, edginess and elegance.
I spent the rest of the evening navigating through the crowd of familiar faces and new friends. All around me, there was a conversation to be had, photos to be taken, bags to be admired.
I glanced, repeatedly, at Gabi and Kleine. I smiled in silent wonder. Only several weeks ago, I had met them in Paris, their home. Now, only several weeks later, Loewe has brought them halfway around the world to mine. The brand’s classy, fun spirit—a great reinvention—is truly alive tonight, undoubtedly compatible with Manila’s trademark warmth. As I peeled my makeup off later that the evening, I was overcome with a sense of gratitude: My experience of Loewe’s journey from Paris to Manila has become a microcosm for the international business of fashion. And it is a journey I’ll never forget.