John Allen for LOEWE
LOEWE’s recent opening in the Miami Design District is a gift to every shopper’s inner artist, who appreciates how cultural value and artistic integrity flow with fashion and style. For its latest artist collaboration, the Spanish luxury brand’s creative director, Jonathan Anderson, sought the distinct palette of master-craftsman and textile designer John Allen. Three of his pastoral motifs – Falling Leaves, Cornish Harbour and Pink House in Cumbria – have been selected as prints for LOEWE totes, duffle bags, scarves and large beach towels; and signature colors such as sand, pomegranate, pinks, and blues have been reproduced on wallets and purses. Allen’s eye for pattern – usually applied to contemporary wall installations and decorative carpets – is uniquely brought to life for the LOEWE fashion house as wearable objets d’art.
Allen was born in 1934. He trained to be a dental technician before pursuing his education at the Royal College of Art, where he set-up the knitting department and taught until his retirement in 1989. Choosing to focus solely on his creative practice at a later stage in life appears to have motivated a sense of urgency, where the artist describes his work as a duty to achieve higher levels of excellence. To mark this special collaboration, LOEWE is releasing a limited edition publication featuring exclusive images captured at Allen’s London residence, as well as an in-depth interview with the artist. In an excerpt, Allen explains his process: “To be honest, once I start work on a design and it’s going well, I am prepared to sacrifice almost anything to carry on working. For me work is an obligation. I don’t do it for money. I believe you are given talent, but it’s your duty to use it to the best of your abilities, till you reach your very best. I don’t think, even though I am 80, that I’ve done my best work yet. And I am furious because I only started doing my own thing when I retired, so I’m going to have to live longer.”
This wholly immersive and devoted approach to the creative process spills into every facet of the artist’s life, including his home, where every inch of its interior is covered with pattern, texture and color. Allen is a collector of 20th century British art, and most recently, the proud owner of three etchings by David Hockney. With sensibilities that range from the exquisite and high-end art, to lowbrow and primitive crafts, color seems to play the leading role. When LOEWE asked where his sensitivity originates: “I strongly believe that everybody has certain colors that they respond to innately. Similarly, every artist has a color range they work best with. I realized very early on that my natural color ranges are what I call spring and autumn countryside colors. Spring in England and the bulbs, and all those incredible tones we get in the countryside in the autumn. You’ve had all this mud through the winter, and then suddenly you get all these different wonderful tones of greens, and whites and silvers, though most people think it’s just green. I respond to the countryside incredibly.”
Part of LOEWE’s Spring Summer 2015 collections, the John Allen collection is the latest in a series of collaborations showcasing the work of artists and artisans, now available at 110 NE 39th Street. For more information, visit www.loewe.com.
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