ENRIQUE LOEWE SPEAKS TO US ABOUT I FASHIONABLE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS
For: Mª Mercedes Álvarez
“Occasionally it is convenient to reflect on the fashion, to stop, to look around and to look for him at one himself”: Enrique Loewe is the visible face of one of the companies leaders in fashion and luxurious complements, which it began with a small leather factory in Madrid in the middle of the XIXth century. The signature Loewe is synonymous of good taste, elegance, distinction and well made work. At present, Enrique Loewe, grandson of the founder of the mark, is the President of the Foundation Loewe, which supports a firm commitment with the culture. The Foundation that takes his name devotes itself to the artistic promotion of poets, sponsors the world of the dance and supports the cultural aspects of the design and the art connected with the fashion.
We speak with him in his office of the Palace of Miraflores, in Madrid, a sober, office discreet and crammed with books. The motive of the chat is his presence and his work in the Scientific Committee of I International Congress of Fashion (CIM), which will be celebrated in next October in the Museum of the Suit of Madrid, and that promote the Top Center of Design of Fashion of the Polytechnical University of Madrid (CSDMM) and the Association Fashion, University and Company (AMUE).
- the first question is forced: why a Congress on Fashion?
A thing is to create fashion and to "think" other one on the fashion. The Congress means to realize a persons' introspection that they understand and know the phenomenon of the fashion, for enrichment of the assistants and to propose a reflection to the whole society.
The same is not a parade, a fashionable proposal, that a Congress of two days and a half that speaks on the phenomenon fashion and his ties with the world of the culture. We take enough time preparing the CIM, with meetings, lecturers' search, definition of the papers, reading of the communications... It is quite laborious.
- Was a Congress as this one needed to reflect on what is really the fashion and what it implies for the person and the set of the society?
Occasionally it is convenient to stop, to look around and to look for him at one himself. A debate of the ideas is always necessary and, if it is done in a university ambience it is very enriching, and more if it takes place in a space so sugerente as it is the Museum of the Suit. In Spain days and fashionable meetings have already been done, but this congress will have a wider, more ambitious importance, we wanted that it was leaving of the definitely local ambience. The communications, for example, are coming from all parts: many in Portuguese language, Italian, etc.
- How did it go so far as to be part of the Scientific Committee of CIM?
I was recorded by Miguel Ángel Pascual, the Director of the Top Center of Design. I have been linked to the Polytechnical University of Madrid long ago, have done things relative to the development of the leather specialty in the School of Design. That, since it is logical, has produced a textile of good relations and friendship with Miguel Ángel Pascual. On the other hand, also I have been an employer the Museum of the Suit, and have collaborated very much with the Association Fashion, University and Company.
- in these 20 years of existence of the Foundation Loewe, which has done so much for the culture and the art: what does mean to be in the Scientific Committee of an event like CIM2008?
From the Foundation we have sponsored not only fashion, but poetry, dance, music. But a natural exit of our cultural initiatives is the world of the design. With which, in this sense, it is to mix water with water...
- you have always been recognized like a man of letters got into a company with servitudes of mercantile type. With the impulse of this type of cultural initiatives concerning the fashion: does he feel more satisfied like intellectual?
This Congress produces a special satisfaction to me and I hope that it should go out very well. But it is one more thing. Also I am in the scientific committee of the European Institute of Design, collaborate very much with the Institute of Company, coordinate several másteres related to the communication and to the fashion and to the world of the luxury, etc. I have had a peculiar managerial trajectory inside my love and specialties, that's why I have been much closer to the design, to the development of products, to the merchandising, to the decoration of the shops, and more removed from the finance or from other mercantile matters.
- Has the fashion turned into a mere spectacle facing the gallery? Who dictates the fashion: the publicity, the street, the means, the celebrities?
I have a serious idea of the fashion and I am connected by no means neither with frivolities nor with the celebrities nor with all this paraphernalia amarillista and sensationalist. The fashion is a phenomenon from the sociological point of view with an enormous load of culture, of beauty, of capacity of expression. If someone wants to see the fashion from the point of view of the frivolity, scarcely it is glimpsing it. I believe that the fashion denotes something more: who are we, where do we go and what do in this poor blue planet pulling already at gray.
- the fashion: has it lost the north?
The north does not lose the fashion, the persons lose it. We live in an epoch enough "desnortada", complex, new, where the time happens at an incredible speed, where the values have got lost, where it predominates over the light thought, things of those that I am thinking about without feeling to us very proud.
- Is the fashion an extension of the personality?
Undoubtedly. Those that we use of the fashion we do it like a system of assertiveness, of relation with the others, of personalización of ambitions, of illusions. The fashion was always a mirror of the society in a certain moment. If someone in two hundred years the society of this moment wanted to analyze, the best method would be to study the fashion, much more than by means of the monuments. How were the people? How was he dressing himself? How was he behaving? How was he living and was decorating his house? What was it valuing? What was the luxury in this moment? What, the quality of life? The whole very deep subject-matter. That thing about less is an any parade in an any footbridge. The fashion is the external declaration of an internal, phenomenon much deeper and more interesting, related to the behavior and the values.
- Have we lost the women femininity for the fashion?
For the fashion the woman has not lost at all. The fashion is a result, it is the sum of all these circumstances that we have mentioned. I believe that the loss of femininity, if it has been, has come for a few social changes that another type of woman has propitiated with other values. Now, we are present at the tendency in that the women masculinize and the men feminizan. But that has already happened in other societies and in other epochs: in Greece, in Rome, during the French Revolution... It is part of this cyclical tragedy that is the life. I do not know if this is good or bad, because I believe that we are destined always to change. The extract of the modernity is the change.
- Is it possible to live without fashion?
The fashion is something in constant movement, it is something difficult of knowing, of understanding. While we have to dress ourselves, be related, to presume, to love and to hate: to live!, the fashion is necessary. The fashion has also a playful slope, of humor, fantasy. It does to you posicionarte in a group or in other: one of the big fashions is not to continue any fashion, to go for free.
- And how is it possible to achieve that the fashion is to the service of the person and not that it enslaves it?
To be enslaved by the fashion indicates the grade of personal gap. It must not be enslaved by anything, and that is obtained having personality, a culture, a vision of the world, a values hierarchy, a few aspirations in the life. If one is a lump, since it is clear that any butterfly will distract him.
- returning to CIM: for what do you expect from this Congress?
I am satisfied of the level that he is acquiring, the papers, the development of the subject-matter: with intellectual weight, but without being a lead... I believe that it is an opportune Congress, with the opportune persons and, hope, than in the opportune moment.
I wish the University to approach more the phenomena related to the fashion: the design, the sociology, the sciences of the communication, the fashionable journalism. That has the intention of being a forum of reception, of thought, of reflection, of participation. Today it is difficult to theorize very much and it is necessary to do it more often.
- What would say to the young people that they study design so that they take part in CIM2008?
- this one the only opportunity to listen to a series of specialists as notable as to Gilles Lipovetsky, Omar Calabresse, Jorge Lozano, etc, that, I assure him, it has been difficult to assemble. Without formation, without culture, without worries, without knowledge of languages, without knowing, rarely a good designer will go out, and not an ignoramus who thinks that he has invented the gunpowder. That's why I cheer up to the participation, because there will be revealed the cultural, artistic, esthetic aspects, which are needed today in the fashion as May water.