Ever Wonder Where Luxury Fashion Brand Logos Came From?
When it comes to the world of luxury, that prominent CC on a handbag or Jaguar emblazoned on a car enhances brand awareness and loyalty for the makers while offering up opportunities to showcase one’s personal style, values, aspirations, and for some financial wellbeing. Luxury fashion brand logos have played a role in society dating back all the way to perhaps the earliest example, Louis Vuitton’s infamous LV in 1896. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the mass market began to really pay attention to luxury fashion brand logos. And thus began the brand-centric world we live in.
While some brands’ logos remain unchanged since their inception, others have gone under numerous versions. And today, many take on a variety of adaptations depending on their location and the brand’s current collections. Read on as we explore the stories behind the logos of some of our favorite luxury fashion houses.
The Stories Behind 9 Luxury Fashion Brand Logos
First used in 1896 by Louis Vuitton’s son, Georges Vuitton, to prevent counterfeiting of his new line of travel trunks, the famed LV has taken on many appearances in its 120-year plus life. Black, gold, rainbow, graffiti, 3-D, more, all the while remaining resoundingly recognizable.
Some say the designer’s inspiration came from the CCs of Château de Crémat, a vineyard she stayed at in Southern France. While others believe it came from a stained glass window design at the Aubazine Chapel, an orphanage where Coco spent part of her childhood.
Then there are others still who say it is the amalgam of her initials and those of Arthur “Boy” Capel, her lover and business partner. Or, perhaps it was a combination of all these theories, or none at all. This will remain a mystery unsolved, adding even further allure to Chanel’s double Cs.
Yves Saint Laurent
Powerfully denoted with verticality, Yves Saint Laurent’s YSL logo first came to the brand in 1961. The design was conceived by the graphic artist Cassandre, known for his work for publications like Harper’s Bazaar.
But it was in the 2000s that the YSL logo really became a signature of the brand. The then-creative director Stefano Pilati famously posed supermodels like Claudia Schiffer alongside life-size logos as part of an ad campaign. Today the vertical YSL logo is used for the brand’s haute couture line. While ready-to-wear, which became Saint Laurent Paris in 2012 under the direction of Hedi Slimane, uses a simple capitalized version of Saint Laurent.
At some point shortly after the brand’s founding in 1921, Guccio Gucci’s initials became the fashion house’s double G logo. It is believed that Guccio’s eldest son Aldo made the call to use this as the brand’s logo.
As is the case for most luxury fashion brand logos, Gucci’s double Gs didn’t become a strong brand signature until the 1960s and 70s when Aldo’s son Paolo Gucci, then head of the brand applied the GGs to their sought-after bags and clothing. Since then the GGs have appeared in many forms, in line with the brand’s infamous marketing campaigns.
The monstrous appearance and deadly gaze of the mythological Medusa inspired Gianni Versace’s logo for his sultry new couture line in the late 1970s. According to Donatella Versace, Gianni’s sister and current head of the brand, “When I asked Gianni why he chose Medusa’s head, he told me he thought that whoever falls in love with Medusa can’t flee from her.” Now there is a brand statement!
A clear and bold symbol of fatal attraction, the gilt Medusa head logo went beyond the brand working its way into Versace’s personal world as a door knocker at his Milan home and in numerous places in his Miami mansion.
Today the brand also uses its Virtus logo on many of its designs, a Baroque letter V, embellished with stylized acanthus leaves.
Distinguished as the official supplier of the royal family of Italy in 1919, just six years after its founding, Prada received special permission to use the traditional Savoy coat of arms and figure-eight knot as its logo. A logo the company still uses today.
In 1978, when Miuccia Prada, the youngest granddaughter of the brand’s founder Mario Prada, took the reins, she decided to update the logo by printing it on a triangular metal badge. Now a signature of the brand, the hardware on her grandfather’s trunks inspired the look which she introduced in the mid-1980s on a black nylon bag. Instantly the bag and new logo became synonymous with the Prada brand.
With nearly 130 years under its belt, French fashion house Lanvin has the longest history of its kind. Founded by one of the matriarchs of haute couture, Jeanne Lanvin, the brand’s iconic logo features Jeanne and her daughter Marguerite, the muse behind her creativity. Inspired by a photo from 1907 of mother and daughter dressed in matching outfits at a costume ball, illustrator Paul Iribe developed the logo in 1923. While rarely applied to Lanvin’s fashion, the logo remains undeniably symbolic for all who love the brand.
The original Fendi logo, introduced when the brand was founded in 1925 by Eduardo and Adele Fendi, featured an image of a squirrel standing on a branch and holding a nut. While a squirrel as a symbol of luxury fashion seems odd, it was a mascot, very important for the Fendi family. The logo, a painting, was a gift from Eduardo to his wife, Adele, as he always said she was too busy, like a squirrel.
A great story of course, but clearly not the most fitting logo for the brand. So in 1965 when the legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld became the artistic director of the fashion house he designed Fendi’s new logo, Fs, one upright and the other upside down. Designed to highlight the brand’s innovative use of fur, Lagerfeld stated the F’s stood for “Fun Fur”. And of course for Fendi, thus resulting in the long-life of the logo.
The equestrian-themed logo of Hermès is deeply linked to the brand’s start creating saddles and other high-end products for horses in 1837 when they were still the preferred mode of transportation. As transport by horse faded, beginning in the early 20th century, Hermès decided to recreate its logo with a new equestrian connection: the upscale world of jockey clubs and the surrounding society. In 1945 Hermès officially trademarked its horse and carriage logo, a symbol based on a drawing by Alfred de Dreux called Le Duc Attelé.
Words by Anna Beck Bimba