GRAN VIA BACK TO BACK II

Madrid


The “Great Way” is Home to Loewe, a Luxury Icon of the First Order

By Louisa Baczor
Photos: L. Baczor and Loewe

 

GRAN VIA  - Loewe autographs 1  DSC_1381 - copia

Ava Gardner writes in Loewe’s guest book: “”Loewe, the most beautiful leather store in España” (Photo: L. Baczor)

One of the oldest surviving luxury stores on the palpitating “Great Way” is Loewe. Founded in 1846 by a group of leather craftsmen, it became official supplier to the royal court of Spain and soon gained the reputation of being the most luxurious and renowned boutique in Madrid. As the brand began to expand across the country, in 1939 the iconic store at 8 Gran Via was opened. Today its interior allows visitors to return to the golden age and revel in commercial splendour. Beatriz Ramos León, the company’s Spain and Portugal PR representative, explains that despite receiving a modern facelift, the store’s old wooden features and beautiful chandeliers have been preserved. Contemporary furniture coexists with the boutique’s 40’s-era essence. A cherished visitors’ book contains the signatures of legendary members of Hollywood’s golden era, among them Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner and Sophia Loren, who fell in love with the brand.

Loewe on Gran via in 1950. Photo courtesy Loewe.

Loewe on Gran Via in 1950. (Photo : Loewe)

Visitors will soon have the chance to discover the story of Loewe in the store’s basement, which is being converted into a gallery that will take these visitors on a journey through Loewe’s leather goods and silk.

The spirit and authenticity of Spain, and especially Madrid, is deeply imbibed by Loewe. Traditions are held on to with fierce pride, whilst the freedom to innovate is embraced. Loewe’s products carry tales of Spain, glimpsed in the vibrant colours of the silk scarves and ties, the alluring scents of the perfumes, and the lambskin napa. The unique suppleness and sheen of Loewe’s leather goods is a result of using only the very best leather from lambs bred in the Spanish Pyrenees, coupled with incredibly skilled craftsmanship that has been transmitted through generations.

The classic Amazona

The classic Amazona. (Photo: L. Baczor)

Sixty per cent of Loewe’s leather and suede garment-making is done by hand, allowing artisans to input personal passion and achieve perfection. Their creations are intended to last a lifetime and passed on to generations, getting even better the more they are worn.

The classic Amazona handbag, first designed in the ‘70s as a bag that working women could take with them everywhere (its name signifying female strength), remains to be the bestseller.

Loewe’s window displays are glorious explosions of creativity that instantly surprise and delight the people of Gran Via. And the enchantment continues as one looks up at the store’s elegant Art-Deco building, then along the street at statues of gods and angels flying from rooftops.

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Pictorial

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Inside Loewe, 1950. (Photo courtesy Loewe)

Inside Loewe, 1950. (Photo: Loewe)

 

 

 

 

Inside Loewe today. (Photo courtesy Loewe)

Inside Loewe today. (Photo : Loewe)

Loewe fabric: intensely luxurious
Loewe fabric: intensely luxurious. (Photo: L. Baczor)

In Loewe's guest book: Ava Gardner, Spanish star Celia Gamez. . .
In Loewe’s guest book: Ava Gardner, Spanish star Celia Gamez. . . (Photo: L. Baczor)

More personages in the guest book: French film and TV star Louis Jourdan, writer and playwright Edgar Neville, Gene Kelly, Gary Cooper. Bob Hope . . .

More personages in the guest book: French film and TV star Louis Jourdan, writer and playwright Edgar Neville, Gene Kelly, Gary Cooper. Bob Hope . . . (Photo: L. Baczor)

Still more:Princess Grace of Monaco, Price Albert of Monaco, "Ernesto de Idaho" (Ernest Hemmingway), Cary Grant . . .

Still more: Princess Grace of Monaco, Price Albert of Monaco, “Ernesto de Idaho” (Ernest Hemmingway), Cary Grant . . . (Photo: L. Baczor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisa's avatarLouisa has a BSc in Psychology from the University of Exeter in the UK and is now doing a Master’s in Management in Bath. She loves to travel and explore new cities, and can’t keep herself away from music festivals.