Posted by : Rachel Iwaniec
With “logo-fatigue” infecting established brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci, luxury brands are in survival mode. Global expansion has lead to an inundation of brand exposure and recognition. Asia has become the new focus of luxury real state. The Chinese consumer makes up a large portion of big brand profit. In a massively influx economy, luxury labels serve as an indication of stability or success.
While this reinforcement can be seen as a good thing, luxury brands are bordering on being seen as commonplace. This is a code red for big labels as too much public attention taints the assurance of exclusivity and distinctiveness that these brands promise their customers and that their customers expect. Luxury brands can no longer guarantee this sense of entitlement.
At the fall 13 runway show for Louis Vuitton, guests were presented with more than just the show notes. Inserted amongst the details and the label’s achievements this past year was a quote from Marc Jacobs. In his own words, Jacobs announced, “The house’s Monogram and Damier canvas are nowhere to be seen on the catwalk.” And while Jacobs was not lying, there was not one LV logo to be seen throughout the entire show, it is not clear what this means for the future of the brand. In his time as creative director, Marc Jacobs has experimented with reinventing the brand’s monogram canvas bags with artists such as Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami, bringing new life to the established mark of luxury.
So what is Louis Vuitton supposed to do now? Do luxury brands that have flourished from brand recognition need to duck and cover? Will a more discreet, more subtle angle on luxury fashion really restore luxury status?
In the recent seasons, we have seen understate indulgence work wonders for labels such as Celine. After years of uneventful and “sleepy” collections, Phoebe Philo has presented a new type of luxury in her rebranding of the brand. From the simplicity of the ready-to-wear to the utilitarian and discreet designs of the accessories, Philo has established the most coveted luxury brand. With small, you-have-to-be-looking-for-it logos, Celine relies on the quality of its materials to speak for themselves. The brand does not go looking for clientele; rather customers come running to the brand. This method of branding or the lack there of, has become the “logo” for Celine.
Can all the brands have the same rebranding success without their logos? Will Louis Vuitton bags have the same value if they are unaccompanied by the multiple LV labels? Will people choose to buy the labeless Louis Vuitton speedy bag over the already established anonymous Celine equivalent?