The new collaboration offers a breath of fresh air in troubled times.
By Marissa Lee.
“There is a natural longing for heartwarming feelings right now,” writes Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of Loewe, in the press release for the new Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro collection. “When I think of a movie that affords me that kind of solace, speaking just as directly to a child as it does to an adult, that movie is My Neighbor Totoro.”
For anyone not familiar with the 1988 animated classic My Neighbor Totoro, from beloved Japanese film studio Studio Ghibli, the story is as follows: young sisters Mei and Satsuki move to a new home in order to be closer to their sick mother, where they become acquainted with a giant woodland rabbit-like spirit called Totoro. What ensues is nothing short of the aforementioned heartwarming solace.
The collection itself, which launched on January 8, features an assortment of men’s and women’s apparel, ranging from bags and accessories to apparel and outerwear, all featuring some element of the Totoro zeitgeist. The studio’s signature dust bunnies crowd the face of a mini Puzzle bag while textbook rich and idyllic Ghibli landscapes appear on long sleeved t-shirts and button downs. Totoro himself is also featured on a number of pieces, from a classic cardholder to a more contemporary drawstring rucksack.
“I find the way that we used the characters on leather accessories particularly charming, as we worked with our very own leather marquetry—or ‘intarsia’—Technique,” explains Anderson. The intarsia technique, which was utilized on nearly all the leather goods in the collection, including Loewe classics such as the Hammock and Balloon bags, transforms the classic silhouettes into novelty pieces.
What’s most impressive about the collection is its success in adding luxury quality to garments that could easily be branded no more than movie merch. Pieces such as the unisex mohair and wool textured jacquard sweater as well as the unisex biker jacket feature subtle imagery from the Totoro universe, maintaining both a contemporary luxury lookwhile providing youthful and colourful nods to the film.
The images of the collection were captured by none other than rising photographer Gray Sorrenti. The New York native and daughter of photography legend Marrio Sorrenti has always made young people the focus of her work. She got her start photographing life as a teen in New York City, and has since shot everything from Saint Laurent campaigns to Harper’s Bazaar covers.
It’s fitting that Loewe should collaborate with Studio Ghibli at a time like this. The studio’s animated works have gained international recognition thanks to their relatability for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Studio Ghibli movies invariably feature a young protagonist facing a significant challenge: for Totoro’s Mei and Satsuki, it’s their sick mother, in other films, such as Spirited Away or Kiki’s Delivery Service, it’s the challenge of moving away from home. However difficult the situation, the characters never fail to persevere by relying on community and hope. Perhaps there’s no better time to revisit the comfort and hope of My Neighbor Totoro than as we face a state of the world we may have never thought possible.