WHY WE LOVE: loewe paula’s ibiza


From celebrity legends to island raves – discover the story behind the latest collection

Words: Chekii Harling, Photography: Gray Sorrenti, Videography: Matt Jones

In search of some escapism? Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson found it in droves when he discovered the kaleidoscopic archives of Paula’s, the Balearics’ most bohemian boutique. To celebrate the new Loewe Paula’s Ibiza collection, we caught up with Jonathan and Armin Heinemann, the co-founder of the boutique, to talk about the inspiration behind it, the influence of rave culture and the golden era of the White Isle.

The boutique that inspired the SS20 collection

In 1972, German architect Armin Heinemann and Stuart Rudnick opened a new boutique, Paula’s, in Ibiza’s picturesque old town. So far, so unexceptional. Its mission, however, to provide a seductive shopping sanctuary for the island’s international hippy vacationers and a wardrobe of signature floral prints to bedeck them, swiftly garnered it the cult-like status of stores such as Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba or Vivienne Westwood’s SEX in London.

“Paula’s boutique reflected that hippy feeling, the dream of being in nature and finding your true self,” says Heinemann, who moved to Ibiza with his two young children, Paula and Mortiz, in the 1970s. During this period, Paula’s was a typical cave-like bohemian shop with a leather workspace at the rear, where belts, blouses and silver Moroccan jewellery lined the walls.

 

The costumes worn by the locals and the untouched rural landscape gave me endless inspiration for my prints. The process was pure handicraft.

 

- Armin Heinemann, Co-founder of Paula’s Boutique

The celebrities that made Paula’s legendary

Paula’s became a piping-hot destination, where local dwellers and passing visitors – from Freddie Mercury to Jean Paul Gaultier – would congregate to meet likeminded souls, party in fabulous florals, and live in the exquisite, bohemian moment. Yet, when he first bought the store, Heinemann could not have imagined it would become such a hotspot. “I bought some old curtain material and had the garments sewn…that was the beginning of a new business,” he says. ”The costumes worn by the locals and the untouched rural landscape gave me endless inspiration for my prints. The process was pure handicraft,” he recounts.

The unexpected collaborator

Venturing away from Northern Island in the 1990s, it was the escapist moments found at Paula’s boutique while holidaying in Ibiza while he was growing up that captured Jonathan Anderson’s imagination. “This collection looks to the past, to a time when I wasn’t alive. It’s an amazing piece of escapism,” the Loewe Creative Director tells us. Yet, when Anderson initially approached Armin, in 2016, about a collaboration, he was taken aback. “I was very surprised and could not imagine how our two business styles could work together. Yet, collaborating with a creative mind like Jonathan’s has been a fascinating adventure ever since.” Co-branded as Loewe Paula’s Ibiza, the collection of womenswear, menswear, and accessories has been released yearly since the summer of 2017. 

 

Paula’s Ibiza represents this idea of 70s hedonism and freedom, which, for me growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1990s, was an amazing piece of escapism.

 

– Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of Loewe

The raves and the reveries

With this most recent collection, the designer discovered some of the original 1970s prints inspired by the natural world from Paula’s kaleidoscopic archive, including ornate waterlilies and figurative mermaids, which feature on wrap dresses, unisex tees, and the iconic Loewe Balloon bag.

Alongside the trademark florals, Anderson was drawn to the island’s rave culture, a culture that has “expanded to influence subcultures across the world” he says, referencing the series of images of the latest collection, shot by Gray Sorrenti in the vibrant streets of New Delhi. Among the rave-inspired designs are shirts printed with flyers normally found on nightclub doors, outerwear in futuristic iridescent silvers and cashmere jumpers awash with hand-painted tie-dye prints. “I was interested in how Paula’s fitted into the Ibiza nightclub scene and loved the idea of juxtaposing Paula’s prints with neons. I’ve always said that Paula’s Ibiza embodies the spirit of letting go.”

The positive note for the future

“This is a happy, undeniably escapist collection,” summarises Jonathan Anderson, “conveyed through colourful and energetic images, and I thought it might cheer you up. As a visual feast, or an aide memoire, of better times to come.” Amen to that.

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