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by Alexander Fury .

Haute Couture A/W 2011: Loewe Love

Haute couture week seemed like a terribly apt time for Spanish luxury leather house Loewe to introduce the press to their made-to-order line of clothes and accessories. It was an 'introduction' rather than a launch because this has been a thriving area of Loewe business for years, accounting for 70% of the brands total clothing sales. Evidently Loewe's customers figure that if they're spending a small fortune on a piece of leathery outerwear, they may as well spend a smudge more and have it crafted exactly as they like.

The made-to-measure service doesn't just apply to clothes: clients can order the brand's handbags in custom skins and shades, ranging from signature golden suede through rich shades of ostrich and calfskin, to glazed crocodile in boiled-sweet sorbet (that model clocks in at £20k, in case you're considering). Loewe creative director Stuart Vevers has also used the made-to-order service to resurrect best-sellers from the house's archive alongside his own designs. This time, a stiff-framed semi-circular bag from 1953 taps into the brand's lady-like chic story from their A/W 2011 collection.

A couture unveiling makes perfect sense - after all, who is more likely to drop five figures on a bag than the couture-clad mavens who drop closer to six on an evening-gown? Unlike the couture shows, Loewe's trunk-show isn't confined to Paris. The made-to-order service is offered to cliques of clients across Europe, North America and the far east, placing their orders six months ahead for delivery of one-off pieces to coincide with winter. But even in mid-July the urge to mollycoddle yourself in layers of hide and fur was almost irresistible. Factor in the sweltering heat of midsummer Paris, and that's quite some shelf appeal.

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