Vicente Vela at LOEWE

For more than forty years, designer Vicente Vela gave his all to LOEWE’s creative project working from his office inside the building that housed the firm’s Madrid headquarters on Serrano Street. On the ground floor of that same building, where LOEWE’s emblematic flagship store is still located today, much of his legacy to the fashion house is currently on exhibit.

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Following the modernisation that LOEWE went through under the leadership of architect Javier Carvajal – who was the mastermind behind the Serrano flagship renovation in 1958, establishing what would become LOEWE’s modern stamp of “Spanishness” – Vicente Vela took that new spirit of transformation to all corners of the house. Breathing Spanish culture from his pores – he was a prominent oil on canvas painter – Vela allowed the Prado Museum, the aesthetics of hunting, and modernist Barcelona to imbue the designs of handbags, scarves, ties, decorative pieces and travel products. The colour palette of great Spanish painters came to life, reaching the streets for the first time ever and blending into a society finally ready for change and willing to be dazzled.

LOEWEaireVela is remembered most especially for creating the beautiful emblem that gave LOEWE its identity. Stamped on the house’s leather products, the famous four Ls, with their double and magical symmetry, are recognised today the world over. However, we must also remember his years of collaborative work with the great designers who worked at LOEWE during his tenure at the fashion house: Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Dario Rossi, Laura Biagiotti, Roger Vivier, Andrea Pfister and Renzo Zengiaro.  

A year after his death, this exhibit showcases Vicente Vela’s universe, including his contributions to LOEWE, as well as his boundless and respectful creativity which flowed freely and unstoppable and gave the Spanish Brand its distinctive identity.

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Vicente Vela at LOEWE (1958-1998). Loewe, at 26 Serrano Street. Madrid. Through the middle of April 2016. [Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and Holidays: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Photographs: LOEWE anagram (1970-2014), “Velázquez Collection” Bag (1991) and “Aire LOEWE” (1985) © LOEWE, 2016.

Dancing on pointe

LaDanzaEnPuntasCNDPortadaNiñosThe support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION to the educational project of the Compañía Nacional de Danza (Spain´s National Dance Company), has just crystallised in the publication of a new Educational Book, La danza en puntas (dancing on pointe). The previous books were dedicated to the choreographer George Balanchine and to the ballet Carmen, choreographed by Johan Inger last season for the CND.

Dancing on pointe is one of the most curious chapters in the History of Dance: How, when and why dancers began to rise on their toes? What is hiding inside these shoes? Is it difficult to dance on pointe?

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Elna Matamoros, Ballet Master of the CND and Advisor to the LOEWE FOUNDATION, is the author of these texts that, as in the previous editions, are published in two different versions: one for adult readers and one for children and youngsters. She has also been commissioned to gather a collection of images to illustrate and explain not only the origin of dancing on pointe, but also the manufacturing process of these shoes and the little secrets that every dancer keeps for herself.

MaríaMuñozCNDThe dancers of the CND are seen in this book as another link in the evolution of dance. Pointe shoes were born centuries ago and today this magical instrument makes them capable of defeating gravity and enjoying the advantages of using this tool that creates fantasy. Among other curiosities, in the book, the Spanish dancer Lucía Lacarra tells us her tips for caring her pointe shoes and how she gets them ready before each performance.

La danza en puntas was first introduced to the public at the LOEWE Talk Choreography of a dream, held at the Gran Vía LOEWE store last November between José Carlos Martinez, Director of CND, and Elna Matamoros, and later distributed during Aprendanza (an educational and performing arts festival organised by CND). These Educational Books are given to all the guests visiting the CND during rehearsals. They can also be downloaded in pdf format from the website of the Company or by clicking on the following links [only in Spanish].

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Photographs: La danza en puntas, cover: design by Anabel Poveda. Natalia Muñoz in In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015. María Muñoz’s sewing box and herself on pointe © Ángel Martínez Sánchez for CND, 2015. Kayoko Everhart and Moisés Martín Cintas in In The Night © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.

The CND shines with Don Quixote

The premiere of the ballet Don Quixote by the Compañía Nacional de Danza and its Artistic Director, José Carlos Martínez, has become the most awaited dance event. Last time this company performed a full-length ballet it was over twenty years ago. This version of Don Quixote by Martínez has become an absolute recognition of his artistic project. He has been very respectful towards tradition, emphasising the Spanish roots of the piece. The anniversary of the publication of the second part of the novel Don Quixote by Cervantes and the centenary of his death, makes 2016 the perfect year for the CND to present this ballet and to tour it internationally.

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The CND, sponsored by the LOEWE FOUNDATION, has a full repertoire which explores all dance styles and now includes one of the most famous works in Dance History. Don Quixote first premiered in Moscow in 1869 as a ballet inspired by two chapters of the second part of the novel by Cervantes, in which the original choreographer Marius Petipa left a strong Spanish imprint in all the characters.SehYunKim

José Carlos Martínez has built his choreography after that first work by Petipa and Gorsky’s later revision, as well as after the versions he performed during his brilliant career as a dancer. His priority, however, has been to emphasise the Spanish dances beyond what Petipa himself could do in Russia. Martínez plays with the Spanish folklore and underlines the character of our bailes.  He has invited choreographer Mayte Chico to collaborate in his creation in order to achieve in this Don Quixote an authentic flamenco flavour.

Guest dancers Elisa Badenes, Cristina Casa, Joaquín de Luz and Maria Kochetkova are welcomed these days in the cast playing the lead roles alongside the dancers of the CND: Aitor Arrieta, Esteban Berlanga, Moisés Martín, Haruhi Otani, YaeGee Park and Alessandro Riga.

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The performances of Don Quixote will continue throughout the Holidays at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, until next January 3rd.

More information: 915 245 400, teatrodelazarzuela.mcu.es and at the box office of the theatre.

Photographs: Corps de Ballet, She Yun Kim with Iván Sánchez and Joaquín de Luz with YaeGee Park in Don Quixote © Jesús Vallinas for CND, 2015.

Aprendanza 2015

After the success of Aprendanza in 2014, the Compañía Nacional de Danza (CND, Spain´s National Dance Company), directed by José Carlos Martinez, has conducted a second edition of this education and performing arts festival: music, movement, communication and all the aspects that dance involves, come together to participate in the process of training young people.

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Last November, with the support of the LOEWE FOUNDATION, more than two hundred teachers from all over Spain met and exchanged ideas, knowledge, their motivation and difficulties. With the leadership of a team of specialists in education, they found their creative path.

Aprendnaza2015.2The weekend started with an open rehearsal of the CND performing the ballet Don Quixote, which will premiere next week in Madrid. Later the workshops coordinated by Pedro Sarmiento -director of LÓVA and driving force of Aprendanza- included activities to generate movement by using creative tools, body percussion, experiences through observation and plastic art workshops. This year there was a special guest, Monica Milocco, responsible of the educational programme of the Gottemburgh Opera. Some members from the CND also led some of the workshops: José Carlos Martínez himself taught Koreographía, a brainstorming of ideas in order to invent our own choreographic language, Elna Matamoros revealed links between dance and almost all the academic subjects, and Agnès López Río with Elizabeth Biosca led a large movement class that brough all the participants together.

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The showing of the film Five Days to Dance by Wilfried von Popel and Amaya Lubeigt, some free time for meetings and the welcoming facilities of Matadero Madrid, Ballet Nacional de España and the CND itself, were the perfect blend to enjoy a memorable weekend for this group of teachers, who were all eager to integrate dance into their classrooms.

Photographs: Aprendanza 2015 © Sara Navarro, 2015

Art Basel Miami, ´Chance Encounters´in Loewe

The LOEWE FOUNDATION participates for the first time in Art Basel Miami with ´Chance Encounters´, a project curated by LOEWE´s Creative Director Jonathan Anderson, at the LOEWE Miami Design District store.

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´Chance Encounters´ brings together the works of four major historical and contemporary British artists. Potter Lucie Rie (1902-1995) created ceramics with delicate lines and an extreme refined functionality. Her work stands as the heart of the exhibition, and is surrounded by the photographs taken by painter Paul Nash (1889-1946), the large paintings by Rose Wylie (1934) and sculptures by Anthea Hamilton (1978).

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‘When I first conceived the idea of the LOEWE store in Miami, I wanted to create an environment in which to bring Spanish history and craft into a modern context. My ultimate goal with LOEWE and the LOEWE FOUNDATION, is to create dialogues with art, craft and other creative fields. This exhibition is a personal snapshot of single moment, bringing together things that have recently lodged in my mind and shaped my thinking. For me art is a lens through which to examine the current moment.’ Creative Director, Jonathan Anderson.

The exhibition has been conceived around the 18th century granary building which LOEWE had transported to the Miami store from a small town on the border between Galicia and Portugal, a perfect marriage of tradition and craftsmanship.

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´Chance Encounters´. LOEWE Miami Design District, from 2nd December 2015 to 17th January 2016.

Photographs: Lucie Rie y Hans Coper. Stoneware cup and saucer, ca. 1946-1959. LOEWE Miami Design District. Rose Wylie. Japon Driving, Oil on canvas, 2009.

Transatlantic poetry

The arrival of Festival Eñe in Madrid each November becomes an encouraging moment in literary activity every year, both for authors and readers. Poets, publishers, journalists and writing enthusiasts of any age meet at Círculo de Bellas Artes to enjoy two days of inspiration.

Transtlantic poetic communication and incommunication gathered poet Óscar Hahn -Loewe Poetry Prize 2014- and editor Chus Visor, moderated by poet and journalist Antonio Lucas -Loewe Poetry Prize 2013.

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The words of Antonio Lucas highlighted the importance of Visor spreading poetry in Spanish. “There are some communicating links between Spain and Latin America in poetry, although for many years there has been true blindness between these two continents. Chus Visor -Lucas explained- has been essential in raising awareness on the Latin American poets and their work throughout Spain.” “I have published the works of about 200 different poets”, said Visor. Despite his own interest in reading Latin American poetry, Visor could “only find it in magazines; there was no Internet and many authors were not published here. In those days, the literary relations between Spain and Latin America were bad. Only the poets who were diplomats were known here, they were the only ones who could travel.”

Poet Óscar Hahn, meanwhile, explained that he fell into Spanish poetry by chance, when at age 16 and “while a complete ignorant in poetry” -according to his own words- he “run into” a collection of poems of the fifteenth century. “Something clicked inside of me, and I faced themes that later became recurrent in my poetry… like death.” At that time, he avoided translations: “I wanted to see what the authors did with the language, how they used words and constructions”. His friends were reading “translations of poems written by Elliot, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Cavafis…” and used to tell him that he was reading “poems for old people”. He also felt out of place when he started to write rhymed verses; years later, when Hahn was already living in the United States, he started to read Elliot in English and he realised “that he also wrote rhyming poems!”. The fact of changing his language marked him deeply and suddenly he sharpened his perception “of my own language and the specific Chilean use of it”.

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For Lucas, the poetry that is currently being written in Latin America “is priceless”. He added: “We have a literary debt with them. We have not been generous enough, considering their welcome to the Spanish literary exiles who travelled to Latin America.”

Thoughts about the different ways of communication used by poetry and words linked a magical duet who met for the second time in Eñe: pianist Rosa Torres-Pardo and poet Luis García Montero, who generously read, to the gathered audience, some of his still unpublished poems.

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Photographs: Festival Eñe 2015. Chus Visor, Antonio Lucas and Óscar Hahn. Rosa Torres-Pardo and Luis García Montero © Maira Villela for Eñe, 2015.

José Carlos Martínez, choreography of a dream

Proximity and a cheerful disposition characterised the LOEWE Talk Choreography of a dream, a conversation between José Carlos Martínez, Director of the Compañía Nacional de Danza and Elna Matamoros, Ballet Master of the CND and Advisor of the LOEWE Foundation, which was presented by Sheila Loewe, Director of the Foundation.

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Martínez has developed a long and dazzling career as a dancer, culminating with an important position as choreographer before his arrival to the CND. He was Étoile at the Paris Opera Ballet and danced a large and diverse repertoire. As choreographer, Martínez was awarded with the Benois Prize for his ballet Les Enfants du Paradis. He won the Spanish National Award for Dance and the French Government named him Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. “I am Spanish, but I carry the French culture and everything I learned from France with me,” said the dancer.

EncuentroJCElna2Many anecdotes and memories appeared during the conversation, which led the audience to his native town, Cartagena. “When I was young”, said Martínez laughing, “I didn’t mind dancing at my parents’ kitchen or on the stage of the Paris Opera”. Elna Matamoros remarked the importance of early teachers for dancers and José Carlos Martinez said he had “learned how to dance before getting into the Paris Opera Ballet School”, where he studied only for one year. After his early years at his hometown, where he studied dance with Pilar Molina, he moved to Cannes (France) under the tutelage of Rosella Hightower and José Ferrán. There he received a personalised and wide dance training. “I learned to dance before I could speak French”, said the dancer.

For Martínez, his professional years at the Paris Opera went by without feeling “a prisoner of that great temple of dance. I never felt the need to leave the company to develop myself artistically.” Precisely for this reason, Martínez has tried to approach that same model of company when he arrived to the CND as Director. He wished to spread the repertoire of the company to a wide variety of choreographic styles. Martínez made the audience laugh when he explained that he believed that probably the main reason to have been chosen by the INAEM-Ministry of Culture as Director of the CND was that he was “the only fool who said he could do everything with so little budget”. Now he ackowledges both astonished and pleased, that “in three years we have met the goals I set for a minimum of five”. Next December 16th, the company will premiere the ballet Don Quixote, the first full-length classical ballet danced by the company in over twenty years.

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During the LOEWE Talk, which took place at the flagship LOEWE store in Gran Vía, Madrid, José Carlos Martínez appreciated “the support of the LOEWE Foundation -Official Sponsor of the CND. We have been able to open the doors of dance and the company to a large audience, to people that neither dance nor will ever do, but we’ve piqued their curiosity”. The Educational Project of the CND, which includes visits from both adults and grade schoolers to see the company work, the publication of Educational Books and Aprendanza – which took place for the second year this past weekend in Madrid- have developed a strong commitment to the future. “One of the most exciting moments of these years at the CND happened when a group of three year-old children visited the company. Their feet did not even touch the ground from the bench they were sitting on, and at the end of our rehearsal, they all wanted to dance with us.”

In 2009, José Carlos Martínez participated, together with composer José Nieto, in the LOEWE Talk Dance-Music held at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid. A summary of the Talk, moderated by Elna Matamoros, can be downloaded from the link at the end of this article [only in Spanish].

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Photographs: José Carlos Martínez, choreography of a dream. LOEWE Talk between José Carlos Martínez and Elna Matamoros © Luis Sánchez de Pedro for LOEWE Foundation, 2015.

The 2015 LOEWE Poetry Prize, again in America

Cuban poet Víctor Rodriguez Núñez (Havana, 1955) has won the 28th LOEWE Foundation International Poetry Prize for his book despegue (take-off). The jury, integrated by Francisco Brines, José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Antonio Colinas, Óscar Hahn, Cristina Peri Rossi, Soledad Puértolas, Jaime Siles, Luis Antonio de Villena, and chaired by Victor Garcia de la Concha, has chosen a book which they found courageous, authentic, and able to link irrationalism with social immediacy. The LOEWE Young Poets Prize has been given to Carla Badillo Coronado from Ecuador (Quito, 1985) for her book El color de la granada (the colour of the pomegranate).

JoséManuelCaballero Bonald,JaimeSiles,SoledadPuértolas,VíctorGarcíadelaConcha,LuisAntoniodeVillena,EnriqueLoewe,JesúsGarcíaSánchez,SheilaLoewe,ÓscarHahn,FranciscoBrines,AntonioColinas-foto Álvaro ToméOn November 11, at the LOEWE Store in Gran Vía in Madrid, and after a few loving words remembering the recently deceased Carlos Bousoño, the names of the winners were made public in a ceremony attended by the members of the Jury and by Enrique and Sheila Loewe, Honorary President and Director of the LOEWE Foundation, respectively.

This year, 30 books have been finalists among the 801 entries submitted from 29 different countries, 27% of them from Latin America. The LOEWE Poetry Prize awards an unpublished work of 300 verses and a Young Poets Prize is given to a poet under 30.

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Luis Antonio de Villena began his presentation of the awarded book, despegue, highlighting the importance of Cuba “as one of the most important creation places for the Spanish language”. He explained how the origin of Víctor Rodríguez Núñez -born in Havana and currently living in the United States- has influenced his “criticism towards Cuban reality from an outside point of view” and the “communicative and baroque protest in this book in face of a world that must ‘take-off’. His deep knowledge on poetic tradition allows him to renovate and “to play with the shadow of a sonnet”, in words of Luis Antonio de Villena.

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Poet Antonio Colinas emphasised the “maturity” of Carla Badillo Coronado and her poetry. To him, her verses mean a public defense addressing symbology in a quite complex perspective for her age. The struggle of the pairing life-death and a “subtle skepticism that shakes the reader both forcefully and directly”, creates “a book that makes us feel and think about the limits of life, always with an extraordinary expressive sobriety”.

Next March the members of the Jury will meet the poets at the Prize Ceremony and the presentation of their books, which will be published by Visor publishing house.

Photographs: José Manuel Caballero Bonald, Jaime Siles, Víctor García de la Concha, Soledad Puértolas, Luis Antonio de Villena, Enrique Loewe, Chus Visor, Sheila Loewe, Óscar Hahn, Francisco Brines and Antonio Colinas © Álvaro Tomé for LOEWE Foundation, 2015. Víctor Rodríguez Núñez © Katherine M Hedeen and Carla Badillo Coronado © Mark Álvarez.

Goodbye Carlos Bousoño

Back in the spring of 1988, when Enrique Loewe and I were creating the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Award, we thought Carlos Bousoño would be a necessary and crucial member of the jury. Carlos accepted and went on to contribute first in an active and most brilliant manner and then taking on an honorary role – as President– when his deteriorating health prevented him from continuing on. Carlos Bousoño (1923-2015) has been, though sadly silent in the last years of his life, one of the most outstanding poets of the postwar generations – a description he liked to use himself – and an outstanding poetry theorist, upholding the most profound sense of irrationalism and surrealism, that is, that the magic of the irrational can be understood. What Freud believed, though in another field, was not much different. He was the author of award-winning books of such tall order as `Oda en la ceniza´ or `Las monedas contra la losa´, and we also think of him as the genius who wrote `Teoría de la expresión poética´ with its ramifications on irrationalism.…

Enrique Loewe, Luis Antonio de Villena y Carlos Bousoño

Discussing poetry with Carlos, whom I had met fifteen years before, was a veritable pleasure. He was not one for gossip or unnecessary criticism and liked nothing better than agreeing with others if their discourse was convincing. Carlos savoured and discussed the submitted books at length during the jury deliberations and was always clever, clearheaded and reasonable in equal measure. A staunch admirer of Aleixander’s superrealism, for example, he loved lucidity and clarity above all. Like Caillois when he explained Saint-John Perse. That’s how he explained Lorca or Aleixandre or the books that were seemingly more complex and that the jury couldn’t agree on… We’ve missed Carlos for the past few years. Saying goodbye now is easier or harder. He leaves us his immense knowledge, his cordial and open disposition and his need for light, more light, always reasoned and thoughtful. Such a gifted talent, my friend.

Luis Antonio de Villena
Poet. Jury member of the Loewe Foundation International Poetry Prize

Photographs: Enrique Loewe, Luis Antonio de Villena and Carlos Bousoño ©Loewe Foundation 1991

Brooches of Ramón Puig Cuyàs in Barcelona

PuigCuyàs1Jeweler Ramón Puig Cuyàs, accompanied by art critic and historian Daniel Giralt-Miracle, participated in the LOEWE Talk “The human factor in current creation” that took place last week in Loewe Barcelona. This store now houses Ramón Puig´s brooches, fostering a unique opportunity to admire and learn about the work of the Spanish jeweler and his link with the new LOEWE collection.

Ramón Puig explained that from the very beginning he has tried to “make jewelry that would appeal to people who do not like jewelry”. “The value of materials”, so important in this field, is not a priority for him. He believes in modernising jewelry which means “connecting the pieces with their origin, with their symbolism, and avoiding ostentation”. A true artistic “creation is the act of doing it all by yourself, of participating in the whole process”, and “doing things well really makes you happy”.

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The jeweler says that “reviewing the past to build the future is key”. He insisted that “in order to transform something we must be aware of where we come from” and he defended the idea of ​​”recovering old traditions by inserting them in different time frames”.

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That was precisely the goal of Jonathan Anderson in his collection created from these jewels. T-shirts feature abstract prints inspired by the work of Ramón Puig Cuyàs, a perfect metaphor for LOEWE’s creative spirit and philosophy.

Exhibition of brooches by Ramón Puig Cuyàs, throughout October 18 at the LOEWE Store in Paseo de Gracia, 35, Barcelona.

Photographs: Ramón Puig Cuyàs and Daniel Giralt-Miracle, brooch by Puig Cuyàs and T-shirt from the LOEWE Fall Winter Men’s Collection 2015 © Poncho Paradela for LOEWE, 2015.