By  on June 4, 2014

PARIS — The makeover of Spanish luxury goods brand Loewe is taking shape, from a new graphic identity to plans for art-driven store concepts in key cities.

The aim of these moves is to add “an injection of modernity and cultural awareness” to a brand dating back to 1846 and rooted in leather-based craft skills. They are in addition to a forthcoming advertising campaign featuring works by photographer Steven Meisel.

The redesign of the brand’s logos and packaging is to reflect an approach that is “both useful and extraordinary, designed with a realistic approach and an uncompromising emphasis on functionality,” according to Loewe, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Enter French graphic design duo Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak of M/M Paris, who chose a typeface that hints at the German roots of Enrique Loewe Roessberg, who lent his namesake to what was originally a cooperative of leather craftsmen in Madrid.

German typographer Berthold Wolpe inspired the new-look Loewe name, meant to convey “authority” and the permanence of the brand, “as if it has always been there,” Amzalag explained in an interview.

The duo reworked Loewe’s Anagram logo — mirrored images of an “L” in handwritten script. The original insignia dates back to 1970, when Spanish artist Vicente Vela created it. Amzalag and Augustyniak returned this “painterly” logo to its original inspiration: the branding irons use to mark cattle, a wink to Loewe’s roots in leather.

Amzalag and Augustyniak studied the 1919 book “Cattle Brands and Licensed Slaughterers” and the 2002 tome “Cattle Brands: Ironclad Signatures” to familiarize themselves with such markings. The new typeface and insignia are to appear on tall, pale gray boxes and bags meant to evoke library books or archive boxes — an about-face from the tawny, beribboned packaging of yore.

According to Loewe, the company’s new bags are to be tactile and streamlined, exalting the natural features of leather via “modern design,” with all items defined by “superior manufacturing, pure form and high grade, honest materiality.” While collections are still being finalized, the company indicated clothing items are expected to include a crinkled leather trenchcoat impervious to water, minimalist and ultralight biker jackets, cashmere sweaters and tailored shirts.

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