It’s the OG of emojis and was an icon of hippie culture in the ’60s, then acid house raves in the ’80s. In America, it still turns up on plastic bags used at mom-and-pop stores accompanied by printed greetings of “Thank you” and “Have a nice day!”. It’s also probably the only graphic symbol in the world that just about anybody can get right (seriously).
As animal memes, Tiktok videos and heart-shaped anything take over the classic smiley face to represent good vibes in this digital age though (that is, when the world’s not commiserating), Loewe’s creative director JW Anderson wants to put the simple yellow, grinning emblem front and center again. “It has become an icon of freedom that we all know and love today,” he says.
Released this month, the Loewe Paula’s Ibiza 2020 featuring Smiley® collection features the symbol printed onto signature accessories such as the party-perfect Heel shoulder bag as well as T-shirts in various cuts. Reflecting the Spanish luxury label’s roots in artisanal craftsmanship, there are also pretty cotton dresses and separates embroidered daintily all over with the playful icon.
The Loewe Paula’s Ibiza 2020 featuring Smiley® Collection
A first-time initiative, the range was conceptualised as part of the latest edition of Loewe’s annual tie-up with the bohemian institution that is Paula’s Ibiza. “What is important in the collaboration with Paula’s is the idea of escapism; something about enjoyment… It is not about becoming intellectual or heavy and this is key for me because when I think of Loewe, I think of summer,” says Anderson.“Paula’s prints have an incredible sense of humor and naivety, which kind of reflects the Spanish island. The smiley fits well in here.”
That it all seems particularly apt during a time of crisis is hard to ignore. As Anderson puts it: “Paula’s is a moment in which one can let go.” Insert smiley emoji here.