If there’s anything that we need after the harrowing year that is 2020, it’s these: magic, warmth, and a little child-like hope. It’s almost a given then, that these happen to be the exact qualities that inspired Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of LOEWE, to turn to this fan-favourite Studio Ghibli animated film for solace. Here, the luxury fashion house puts forth a series of designer hoodies, whimsical bags, t-shirts, leather accessories, and other ready-to-wear apparel that pay homage to My Neighbor Totoro, a beloved classic among Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal films.
The LOEWE x My Neighbor Totoro capsule collection — an extensive one at that — captures many of the 1988 film’s heartwarming characters, and brings some of their magic into our world. There’s a sense of child-like awe as you go through each item in the limited edition series.
You’ll find the cutest round Totoro lounging on the cult Hammock Bag, for instance, or fuzzy black dust bunnies running across the Puzzle Bag and hanging off a leather biker jacket. Even the film’s fantasy landscapes are rendered in the most charming way possible, either printed or embroidered across shirts and loungewear-appropriate sweatshirts and shorts, done in loose volumes and comfortable silhouettes.
Of the collection, it’s best to hear what Anderson himself has to say: “There is a natural longing for heartwarming feelings right now. 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.”
“The story of Mei and Satsuki’s friendship with the magical Totoro and his cohorts, the mischievous dust bunnies, who can’t be seen by adults but only by the children who love them, is truly touching. It is a product of craft in the form of an animated movie.”
That mutual admiration of craft also makes this surprising collaboration a not-so-surprising one, once we start to get into the details of the collection. It’s not just printed t-shirts here; the myriad of styles, especially on the leather goods, show off LOEWE’s signature craft techniques such as leather marquetry and embroidery — as if we needed more reason to admire the collection.
Forest spirit animals are worked into accessories and iconic handbags such as the Puzzle and Hammock via the brand’s ‘intarsia’ technique, while that bright colour palette involves expert dyeing techniques as well. The magical Camphor tree that Totoro is often found napping under is brought to life with tactile tapestry embroidery, in a textured jacquard sweater that mixed various yarns, or a vertical tote bag that features a hand-applied Totoro embroidered patch.
For LOEWE’s depiction of those playful dust bunnies, or Susuwatari, textured elements and mohair pom-poms alike enable them to pop off the leather pieces, contrasting against the smooth tan calfskin. Finally, the beautiful forest and tranquil hills of the animated film’s landscapes can be seen on a series of apparel that reference the bright, blue sky. With a message of creativity, serenity, and hope, this collection might be that spark of joy you need to start the year right.
Here’s everything from the LOEWE x My Neighbor Totoro collection:
The LOEWE x My Neighbor Totoro capsule collection, prices TBC. Available online and in-stores from 8 January 2021.
Banner images — left & right, by Gray Sorrenti.