‘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. Anyone who has seen Hayao Miyazaki’s 1988 masterpiece cannot possibly forget it. 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’s also a labor of love by its author and the team at Studio Ghibli, the Japanese film studio based in Tokyo who animated and directed the film. It is a product of craft in the form of an animated movie.
Sharing this total commitment to craft, which is the very essence of LOEWE, we decided to create a capsule collection in collaboration with Studio Ghibli. The result, LOEWE x My Neighbor Totoro, transports the protagonists of the movie onto a range of clothing, leather bags and accessories. The collection celebrates the poetry and immediacy of these characters’ iconography – qualities have made My Neighbor Totoro a true cultural landmark.
The process of collaborating with Studio Ghibli – which is not only the studio that brought Totoro to life, but also features Totoro as its mascot – has been both a privilege and a creative encounter. The studio is known for its animated feature films, but has also produced short films and television commercials. Founded in 1985 by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, with producer Toshio Suzuki, it has created masterpieces such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and has received a roster of Academy Award nominations. The connection between LOEWE and Studio Ghibli is this mutual love of craft and artisanal techniques, expressed in our respective languages. 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.
The LOEWE x My Neighbor Totoro collection features the iconic characters and the fantasy landscapes they inhabit interpreted as prints, allover prints, jacquard intarsia and leather marquetry – also as hand-painted motifs or transformed into pom-poms. Suggesting a feeling of comfort out in the open air, shapes are loose and relaxed across t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, jumpers and culottes, but also biker jackets. The fluidity of the whole collection conveys a distinctively youthful feel.
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. The Totoro characters are featured in intarsia on the surface of iconic LOEWE bags such as the Puzzle, the Balloon and the Hammock, as well as on small leather accessories such as pouches, cases and wallets. A meticulous tapestry technique is explored in tote bags.
The campaign images we have created with photographer Gray Sorrenti capture the magical mood of discovery and connection with nature that is the ultimate message of My Neighbor Totoro. Models are captured in the woods as they hide, seek and find. The notion of connection is conveyed through light, while a sense of wonder permeates the ambiance and the narrative.
The message is one of dreamy serenity and hands-on creativity – of being at one with nature and with one’s own inner child – which is especially important right now and, I think, always will be.’
About Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by animated film directors Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, and has produced twenty-four feature-length films. Most Studio Ghibli films ranked number one at the box office in Japan in the year in which they were released. The Studio’s SPIRITED AWAY (2001), HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004) and PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997) are among Japan’s top 10 grossing films. Studio Ghibli films have garnered numerous awards and critical acclaim from film critics and animation specialists around the world. SPIRITED AWAY was awarded the Golden Bear as the Best Feature Film at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival and won the 2002 Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. In October 2001, Studio Ghibli, in conjunction with The Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation, founded the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, designed by Hayao Miyazaki. THE WIND RISES (2013), THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA (2013), WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (2014) and THE RED TURTLE (2016), the last four films released by Studio Ghibli, have earned the studio four consecutive nominations for the Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. The studio’s latest film, EARWIG AND THE WITCH, will open in 2021.