Perhaps more than any other luxury brand, over the past year Madrid-based, LVMH-owned Loewe — led by its prolific creative director, Jonathan Anderson — has recast the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to re-evaluate the traditional relationship between brand and consumer. While peers have largely rushed into a “new normal” that is very much like the old normal — with the likes of Louis Vuitton holding physical runway shows last summer — Loewe has sought to build a more timely and intimate connection with customers and media alike by turning to livestreamed events as well as “shows” designed to be explored and enjoyed by those kept at home by extended lockdowns.
First employed last July through the company’s “Show in a Box,” a collaboration with the Paris-based design agency M/M that debuted the Spring/Summer 2021 men’s collection, Loewe next used the “at-home runway” concept in its “Show on the Wall” in October, which included such items as full-sized posters of the women’s collection, sheet music for Thomas Tallis’s 1570 choral work Spem in alium, a roll of wallpaper created by artist Anthea Hamilton, and glue, scissors, and a paintbrush with which to hang said wallpaper.
Most recently, with Loewe unable to hold its planned Autumn/Winter 2021 women’s runway show in Paris, the brand released “A Show in the News,” a clear distillation of the content-commerce concept contained in a small metal box emblazoned with the brand name and the date of its release, March 5, 2021.
Presented in the form of a full-size, 64-page newspaper boldly headlined, “The Loewe Show Has Been Cancelled,” “A Show in the News” debuted the new collection (modeled by Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen and photographed by frequent Loewe collaborator Fumiko Imano), with an excerpt from the newest Danielle Steel novel “The Affair,” and outlined creative director Anderson’s many inspirations for Fall/Winter 2021. (Noting, in one passage, how “fashion is about a moment in time, inherently connected to a daily newspaper, which serves as a record of the ‘now.’”)
The newspaper was complemented by inserts promoting the collection in “real” publications like France’s Le Figaro and Le Monde, Spain’s El Mundo, The New York Times, The Times of London, and Japan’s Asahi Shimbun. In addition, the box included a Loewe-branded bone folder, with which readers were invited to assemble an included excerpt of “The Affair,” as well as a leather mat mounted with a limited-edition woodblock print inspired by a passage from Steel’s novel.
Despite lacking the typical path-to-purchase embedded in most successful examples of content-commerce (the collection will not be released until this coming August, after all), “A Show in the News” is nevertheless a flawlessly executed example of the format, and one that will play as well in China as it will in Europe or North America. Unlike the virtual content-commerce that has become a staple of the luxury business in the past year (which has seen most brands simply roll out livestreams with links to buy via e-commerce), Loewe’s latest “show” merges the two- and three-dimensional.
Recipients of the box are invited to peruse the newspaper and explore the new collection while interacting with the brand via tactile objects that nod to the brand’s deep roots in leather goods. As was the case with the “Show on the Wall,” “A Show in the News” attracted headlines and interest in China, powered by a select few influencers who received the box and showed it off on platforms like Xiaohongshu.