Skins of Spanish sheep, cows and goats, along with other more exotic species like water buffalos, crocodiles and iguanas, are fashioned into purses and other accessories in the workshops of Loewe S.A., no less than the world center for the research and development of leather.

This facility, where product designers and engineers, Moroccan leather specialists and countless artisans work, opened to the public Friday in an exceptional way on the occasion of the Journees Particulieres, when the parent LVMH group, the world leader in luxury brands, opened the doors of its research and design centers all over Europe.

With an artisan soul and an international vocation, Loewe has made its mark in the fashion world as an exponent of Spanish culture, "a source of inspiration that has remained throughout history" and is the guiding light of a brand that "goes back to 1846," executive Silvia Soler said.

After contemplating some of the pret-a-porter fashions by Perez de Rozas, Loewe's creative director in the 1960s and '70s, there was a visit to the Leather Salon, a space in which design and technique work together.

"Research on hides is the first phase of creating a leather product - they sort out what works and what doesn't," Soler said.

In Spain they get a special medium-thick sheepskin from a species raised in the Pyrenees that is incredibly soft. "It's the most sought-after by luxury firms," said Soler, who also likes calfskin, thanks to an exquisite tanning process that brings out its full beauty.

But these are not the only hides Loewe works with. The water buffalo, crocodile, ostrich and iguana provide exotic skins that are also used at the center. "All have a certified place of origin, and most come from farms where they have perfect control and the animals are treated better," Soler said. EFE