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This holiday season, LOEWE debuts a capsule collection inspired by the work of Ken Price. The late American artist was a Los Angeles legend and a leader in the world of craft, known for his work in clay and part of the iconic Ferus Gallery. A maker of objects, vessels, and well-known “town units,” Price made a colorful and quirky hand-painted plates for La Palme restaurant in Newport Beach from the early eighties that recently caught the eye of LOEWE’s Jonathan Anderson.
Images of Easter Island, palm trees, and cityscapes have been reimagined in bags, pouches, leather goods, cardigans, jumpers, hoodies, scarves, and more. The collection is an ode to color and craft, showcasing skilled leather marquetry. Anderson shared with Whitewall the story behind the lively, joyous line.
WHITEWALL: What intrigued you about these unique works?
JONATHAN ANDERSON: The one quality that really caught my eye in relation to these objects was the energy they give away through the bright colors of their landscapes expressed in a very light and almost cartoonish manner, and they are to be found all across his ceramics and plates. I was particularly taken by a series of 20 hand-painted plates that Price crafted for La Palme restaurant in the early eighties.
WW: How did you translate motifs from the series—including images of Easter Island—into the collection?
JA: We transposed motifs from the “LA,” “La Palme,” and “Easter Island” series into carefully crafted leather accessories and pieces of clothing in the form of intarsias, prints, allover prints, and leather accessories.
We captured the archetypical L.A. ease in the use of loose volumes and cropped culotte trousers. Price’s drawings are printed on ready-to-wear, and those same prints become intarsia on cashmere cardigans and jumpers.
The manner in which we used the motifs on our bags is something that I am particularly proud of, for they have been interpreted in leather marquetry, a type of technique that requires quiet mastery to be achieved.
WW: What led to the choices made in terms of color, shape, and material for the Ken Price collection?
JA: Ultimately, the entire collaboration has been led by the Prices’ heir because I wanted to make sure that we could work on the color balance so that we could replicate exactly what Price had attempted to do. Within these pieces we have used a technique we have been implementing since the twenties, which I wanted to take to new heights by using suede to create shadow, and when black was used, we wanted to make black and either a sheen or a matte in order to create a sense of depth of field.
WW: Ken Price is a legend in the world of craft and clay. Can you tell us about your own relationship to the late artist and his work? How did you first come upon him?
JA: I first came across him about 10 years ago, and I became increasingly obsessed. I love ceramics; it is one of my biggest passions and hobbies in collecting. When you look at that California movement with people like Ken Price or Peter Voulkos, Ron Nagle, et cetera, they really changed the way in which we see ceramics and became very influential globally in terms of their approach.
I only have one piece in my collection from the earlier part, which I really admire because that early series embodies the beginnings into color. When you look at the very early work, that movement with Voulkos is quite brown, whereas this next part with Mexico becomes more of an installation, more conceptual in its formation of groupings.
WW: Do you have any personal favorites from the capsule collection?
JA: Each bag that we have done has integrated bamboo handles made by hand, also with leather marquetry. They are very labor-intensive pieces, and I think is very nice to end this year with a celebration on craft itself.