Logos make a big-brand return to the runway
Pull out your Juicy Couture tracks and monogrammed bags – your favourite ’90s trend has returned. Seen on everyone from Kendall Jenner to Jennifer Aniston, logos are everywhere this summer. Once deemed tacky, the trend resurfaced at the Resort 2017 fashion shows with Chanel and MSGM making it clear there is nothing wrong with openly declaring who you’re wearing. We saw logos popping up on many of the runways.
The trend was most boldly apparent at the spring 2017 shows, at which Christian Dior had brazenly printed its name on exposed straps and underwear. Artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri revamped the house’s mark by splashing “J’adior” on slingbacks and knickers.
At Saint Laurent, creative director Anthony Vaccarello used the Parisian label’s iconic 1961 Cassandre mark on architectural earrings and stiletto heels.
Edgier designers, such as J. W. Anderson, aren’t immune from the trend’s charms either. In his namesake collection, the designer added anchor-inspired monograms to the handbags while his Spain-based label,
Loewe, featured anagrams on accessories and bags. Other fashion houses such as Balenciaga opted to confine self-promotion to less revealing items by discreetly stamping their graphic “B” logo onto the models’ thumbs.
Gucci’s Alessandro Michele became the trailblazer of the logo revival with his Spring 2017 “genuine fake” Gucci logo tees that became an instant hit with bloggers and celebrities. Paris-based Vetements consolidated the trend with its Champion tees.
The influence of the likes of Vetements and Gucci seems to have had a trickle-down effect on the wider industry, with more brands trying to reinterpret their logos in their own way. Marc Jacobs’ collaboration with MTV for Resort 2017, where the maison revisited the 1980s by printing “M” in block letters on sweatshirts, is a key instance of a brand jumping in to capitalise on this revival.
“Reworking logos is important for a label to establish its presence and to reconnect with its consumers. Brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana realised this early on and have dominated the trend in the market,” says fashion and celebrity stylist, Nisha Bhansali.
“There’s an increase in the symbiotic relationship between luxury and irreverent
streetwear brands,” says Emily Gordon-Smith, head of fashion at trends research
firm Stylus. “The interest in all things ’90s-inspired is key to this current trend.
However the influence of streetwear and retro sports looks in mainstream fashion
is also having an impact and making this feel for logos more relevant.”
Vetements and Gosha Rubinchinsky have pioneered a luxury streetwear
niche that has been exceptionally well received by young people. Their collections are consistently sold out. Tied in with the growing global prominence of Korean brands, which strongly feature logos and streetwear, it’s obvious where the trend is finding its footing.
Perhaps nothing demonstrated streetwear’s case for high fashion like the collaboration between New York-based skatewear brand Supreme and heritage French fashion house Louis Vuitton. Created for their 2017 menswear shows, the result of the collaboration is a range of accessories and ready-to-wear pieces that are boldly embellished with the signature logos of both brands.
Tongue-in-cheek humour, irony and a strong sense of individualism are cornerstones of modern streetwear – and by extension, the logo trend. Take Dior’s spring 2017 slogan “We should all be Feminists” (also the title of a 2014 book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), which appeared on the covers and within the pages of every major fashion magazine. This merging of strong individual convictions, modern ideas and traditional luxury tailoring is what’s resurrecting the appeals of logos with millennials.
The unstable global political climate has solidified this longing for identity and contributed to the trend’s popularity. It’s why much of the spring 2017 shows were filled with politically charged sloganeering. Haider Ackermann showed outfits that read “Be Your Own Hero” and “Silent Soldier,” while Paco Rabanne’s Julien Dossena sent out models with graphic tops saying “Futuresex” and “Canned Candies”.
“Political statements and ideas have been particularly prominent in the past few seasons. Logos and slogans are an effective tool to communicate those ideas, so it’s only natural we are seeing so much of them everywhere,” says Bhansali.
Bhansali says politics and fashion have long shared a close relationship and politically charged fashion statements foster a bond between the consumer and the brand that extends beyond the runway. But, given this new sense of self awareness in fashion, how can the trend be interpreted in terms of our wardrobes?
“It’s still pretty true to its 90s roots; however, the look is much more of a fusion of styles,” Gordon-Smith says. “Taking a bold logo piece and pairing it with something totally unexpected is the new way-to-wear. It’s more iconic and less ‘labels-for-status’ than its original incarnation.”
It’s become increasingly obvious that wearing logos is no longer about showing off one’s wealth or purchasing power – factors that defined the trend in the 90s. Despite repeated references to individualism, brand recognition remains an element of the trend, albeit without the “bad taste” tag. Institutional notions of bad and good taste in fashion change every season – this time, logos are anything but tasteless.