It smells like the sea between your fingers and salt tangling up your hair. A light breeze cradles a thick white curtain, flooded with languages that speak of the Mediterranean and of roots, bringing with it a thread of moist air that opens our lungs and heart.
Woven chairs, low and robust, symbolise those eternal, salty summers. It is precisely those chairs which serve as a witness and inspiration to those artisans of old who used to weave leather and spin magic between their strong but weathered fingers.
This weaving, as well as being a way of working the leather and a precise artisanal technique, embodies a sense of belonging. Belonging to a land, a culture, a tradition and a season - summer.
Those colours, with their freshness, flexibility and tones that melt into every past, will always be the anchor that remind us, wherever we live, that we are made of salt water.
They will bring to mind those eternal afternoons of wicker baskets and corded chairs with tattooed legs. They will remind us of never-ending summers and the rugged, imperfect but lovable hands of the women that could weave feelings.
The Mediterranean sea that welcomes and inspires us swims and drinks from histories and battles with a plethora of accents and influences: the Crusades, the Greeks, the Peloponnese, the Corsairs, the Berbers and the Arabs, all prolific and exquisite. It's from them that we inherited the weaving technique that, years later, our women would practise for days on end, in the embrace of those red sunsets, so ours, so theirs.
It was during the postwar period, a time of woes, sorrow and distance, but also ingenuity, craft and tradition, when mothers working from home made their hands their best tool. They would weave leather, fine yet resistant, transforming their strips into handmade wonders, into shoes and handbags.
Thanks to the weaving mastery of our women and their expert, adept hands, the larger islands of Majorca and Menorca turned this truly Mediterranean technique into a reference point for Lottusse. They made it one of their hallmarks.
Time has passed and the industry has changed, but the weaving technique lives on. Craftsmanship and artisans survive as owners and masters of creation, the cornerstone of quality that is always in fashion.
When the process begins, a characteristic scent takes over our senses, a dense straw-coloured cocktail of tanned musk that settles in the roof of the mouth. An odour somewhere between the resistance of goat leather and the flexibility of cow leather emerges from the strips of leather, just a few millimeters thick, that will interlace to create art. Lovely leathers, which, when bound, create a practically unbreakable bond that can cover shoe lasts and make almost impossible picks. By using these strips, along with plenty of patience and tenacity, this technique has now become part of Lottusse’s DNA.
Weaving is a technique that we enjoy exclusively in the summer months. With their touch, composition and charisma, the weaves emphasise the freshness, lightness and flexibility that, thanks to the versatile and obliging leathers, allow our bare feet to enjoy an intimate and direct skin-to-skin sensation, free of the linings or fabrics that deprive us of the pleasure of walking in the Mediterranean. So desired when it's near, so missed when it's far.
At Lottusse we work with different types of weaves to create uniquely exquisite shoes and handbags: weaving directly on the last or on mantles which later provide shape and life; weaving leather strips; or weaving that make the strips dance through perforated leather. Some simple and others more complex, which, by combining the colours in the leathers, allow the charm to emerge in each of their picks.
They say colours speak for us. And, at Lottusse, the touche, which works the weave in a natural colour and is hand-dyed, speaks of craftsmanship, devotion and care, patience and exclusivity.
A clear example of the influence of this technique at Lottusse, in addition to the men’s and women’s shoes produced with the different techniques mastered by the artisans, was the birth of the Noodbag in 2008. This stands as one of the house’s most special and unique works of art. Work that transcends the seasons. A chameleonic and versatile work that sustains the Mediterranean woman in winter and summer.
Designed as a descendent of the brand’s origins, it embodies the Mediterranean essence that transports us back to those summer afternoons. The knots are handled exquisitely and with expertise that creates, as if by magic, a little six-pointed flower.
But writing about the Noodbag is like dancing about architecture. It doesn’t do it justice. To understand and experience it, you need to touch it, feel it, admire it. Its knots, the fruit of meticulous, detailed work, bring the colours to life and become little flower-filled tapestries.
Six strips of leather accompanied by six processes for each of the knots, and another six days of work to create 3,400 beautiful knots. A kind of dance between picks and ties that create a lattice of flowers that is always different, always special.
The hands of four artisans work in harmony with one common objective: recollection.
Manuel Vicent said that he had always dreamed that an elegant way of ending the dance would be to sit on a white rocking chair next to the Mediterranean. To remain in silence, gazing at the horizon.
We prefer to sit on the weaves that remind us who we were, but, above all, who we are.
Text: Marta Pérez