Jonathan Anderson on Loewe’s new home fragrances
Loewe’s creative director discusses the brand’s plant-inspired interior scents
Bringing the fresh scents of the outdoors in, Loewe’s new line of home fragrances is inspired by the vegetable garden at creative director Jonathan Anderson’s London home. The collection features candles, rattan diffusers, soaps and room sprays in 11 plant-inspired scents, including tomato leaves, cypress balls, pea, coriander, and cannabis.
Since taking the helm of the Spanish house in 2013, Anderson has championed modern craft, and this appreciation extends to the presentation of the new line. The home fragrances are housed in handcrafted ceramic containers that evoke the elegant simplicity of Ancient Greek drinking vessels, and come in a variety of colours from striking black to powder pink. The packaging, an artwork in itself, features bold still-life photographs of plants from Franco-Swiss photographer Erwan Frotin.
Below, Anderson speaks more about the inspiration behind the line and his own gardening practice.
W*: Why did now seem like the right time for Loewe to branch into home fragrance?
JA: I already had in mind to create candles and add an olfactory dimension when I first joined Loewe. I have always found the idea of senses being used as a stimulus to healing very interesting. There’s always been this thing with nature, that we draw on what we have around us, we associate smells to different things, it’s very personal.
How did you come up with the idea of vegetable and plant-inspired scents?
Smells trigger memories and for me the selection of smell is quite personal. I remember as a child we had a greenhouse and we grew vegetables in it, so there’s a few smells from the collection that remind me of being a child, others that remind me more of journey’s I’ve taken, a bit like olfactory sketches. Smells are quite grounding in a way. Part Victorian, botanical garden, part apothecary, the mix is both scientific and sentimental.
Can you speak more about the process of designing the ceramics? How did you take the inspiration of Greek drinking vessels and transform them into objects for a modern space?
Tactility is key for me, as Loewe’s ongoing engagement with the art of ceramics testifies. The ribbed terracotta pot that holds our candles is based on a 5th century BC Greek mug I bought at an auction several years ago. In the rhythmic purity of this incredibly old object, I find unquestionable modernity, and function: it offered the perfect template as a container for our candles, which come in three different sizes. A classic Louis XIV-era French ambeau informs the geometry of the other candle base: craft knows no historic border for me. Speaking of which, candles are made with wax derived purely from natural ingredients and embossed with the Loewe monogram and the message ‘Made in Spain’.
During your tenure at Loewe you’ve championed the power of craft to transform spaces, and I imagine the past few months of lockdown have seen you spend more time at home than you have before. Has spending so much time in one place taught you anything more about the role craft plays in making a home?
When we went into lockdown, on the first two weeks I was like ‘why do I have all this stuff.’ This is the longest I’ve ever been in this house because I am usually back and forth from Paris so that was the first time I had solid time in the house. I went through a complete rejection for all the pieces that I collect and then I asked myself why I am into this, why do I collect these pieces, this textile or painting or these ceramics, and it’s because of my obsession about people that make things, from start to finish. The people that make things with their hands are the people that inspire me.
In some ways, the slow-pace and often solitary act of gardening makes it so different from fashion design, yet both are creative pursuits. Has your practice of one informed the other in any way?
With the garden you have to look after it and the same with design. You have to look after it. In gardening also there is always something that stands from it, a colour, a structure versus a non-structure. §