Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, has created some of the most thought-provoking animated films for decades now. No matter if you're an '80s or '90s kid or even part of Gen Z, you'd be familiar with at least one of their many roster of films—from the innocent love story of Ponyo, to the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away.
One of Studio Ghibli's famed classics is undoubtedly 1988's My Neighbor Totoro. The animated fantasy film tells the story of two sisters and their friendship with wood spirits, as they come to grasp with the reality of their mother's long-term illness. Totoro, the large (and rather rotund) spirit that lives in a camphor tree, has become a cultural icon as well as Studio Ghibli's official mascot.
But more than just the visually stunning characters and exceptional storyline, My Neighbor Totoro is a work of craft in its own right. And that's something that Loewe's creative director, Jonathan Anderson appreciates.
In a union of two different worlds of craft, Loewe has collaborated with Studio Ghibli on a capsule collection based on the fantastical characters and art of the animated film. Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro spans across a selection of ready-to-wear pieces and leather goods, with a focus on some of Loewe's signature silhouettes and designs.
"The connection between LOEWE and Studio Ghibli is this mutual love of craft and artisanal techniques, expressed in our respective languages," Anderson expressed in a press release. "The connection between Loewe and My Neighbor Totoro, on the other hand, is the mutual connection with nature, the world outdoors and a sense of perpetual invention. The importance of nature to humankind is on everybody’s mind in these difficult times. Finding ways to live in harmony with the environment is a shared quest. The movie is an ode to preserving such harmony, discovered in the most magical of ways."
Loewe's masterful leather marquetry technique is put into full effect as Totoro and the band of wood spirits—including the all-black dust bunnies—are worked onto Loewe classics such as the Puzzle and the Hammock. The colours also remain true to the bright pastels that have become signature of Studio Ghibli, and are grounded with a more neutral palette in the collection.
Even the majestic camphor tree makes an appearance on a series of oversized shirts and hoodies. The treatment is most impressive on a tote bag that makes use of a tactile tapestry embroidery, with a similar approach done in the form of a textural jacquard knit jumper.
Beyond the many intricate handwork techniques employed for the Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro collection, it's also a whimsical take on our shared connection with nature—something that we've all learnt to appreciate and adopt in our own ways while dealing with the pandemic.
The Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro capsule collection will be available in Loewe boutiques and online from 8 January 2021.