By  on February 25, 2008

PARIS — Loewe's new creative director, Stuart Vevers, is on a mission to channel the aristocratic roots of the brand — as the official supplier to Spain's royal family — and bring it into the 21st century.Vevers' debut collection will be presented here Tuesday at the Opera Comique. Vevers joined the LVMH Mo??t Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned Spanish leather goods house in January following a three-year stint as the design director for Mulberry, the British accessories firm he helped put back on the style map. He replaced Jos?? Enrique O??a Selfa at Loewe.Overseeing all of the house's categories, which includes clothing, jewelry and silk scarves, Vevers said he plans to focus mainly on bags, the house's bread and butter. For inspiration, the designer plunged into the nuts and bolts of the 160-year-old brand, giving a spin to its iconic industrial hardware. What appears to be a classic chain on one bag, for example, on closer inspection is a strand of golden bolts. The house's signature padlock comes revisited in an oversize plastic version.Vevers views the approach as DIY chic."I'm a real fan of playing with iconic pieces and giving them a twist," said the 34-year-old designer, adding that he also intends to grow the house's "underdeveloped" shoe line.Vevers' shape of the season is sporty, contrasted with rich materials such as suede or colorful exotic skins."In terms of volume, everything is quite real. They're not show bags, they fulfill a function," said the designer.Though Vevers hopes to widen the brand's customer base, he doesn't want to abandon Loewe's core mature customer, he said. "There's loads for the loyal Loewe customer, but I've added a twist, which I hope they'll like, too."A Spanish equestrian scarf from Loewe's archives inspired one of the line's key dresses. It is one of 20 total clothing looks that the designer composed for the collection."I took the house's classics — the fox fur, the leopard print, the camel coat — and thought about how to make them new," said Vevers, adding that men's wear-inspired outerwear plays a strong role in the collection, including a range of "tough" leathers. More feminine fare can be found in the line's flowing dresses, defined at the waist and stopping midcalf. Certain pieces carry flourishes of embroidery.

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