There’s no denying the logo’s recent resurgence on the runway. Equally as indisputable is the logo’s ability to – fashionably and firmly – make a point; to say so much without having to say anything else at all. In the words of Karl Lagerfeld: “Logos and branding are so important. In a big part of the world, people cannot read French or English—but are great at remembering signs.”
The designer has a point. From Chanel’s interlocking Cs, to Gucci’s glamorous double Gs, these are the graphic extensions of a brand that we come to know and love.
But what is lesser known is how these logos come to be. While many faces and fonts of fashion can be filed under common knowledge, the artists and designers who created these extraordinary emblems remain a mystery.
We decided to change that. In celebration of our love of logos, we explored how five of our favourite luxury labels came to be.
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel once said that in order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different. It’s no wonder her famous logo has survived the test of time, remaining un-replaced since its creation in 1925. Designed by Chanel herself, the interlocking Cs carry with them a series of stories on what first inspired their conception.
A prevalent version suggests it was inspired by the stained glass windows of the Chapel of Aubazine, an abbey that housed the orphanage where Chanel spent a portion of her childhood. Another legend proposes the designer saw the interlocking Cs at Château Crémat in Nice. But, perhaps the most romantic anecdote, proposes that it was an amalgamation of the initials of Coco Chanel and Arthur “Boy” Capel—the great life of Chanel’s life.
Whatever the truth may be, the interlocked insignia is one of the most long-standing and loved logos in the world.
When you think of Versace a few things probably spring to mind: luxury, decadence, exclusivity. Ancient Greek mythology seems a touch less obviously related to the brand. But if you look closer, the classic Versace logo consists of the head of Medusa, a Greek woman transformed into a monster by the Goddess Athena as penance for all of her wrongdoings. As obscure as it seems, Medusa is said to have inspired Gianni Versace when he came to design the logo for his brand. Reflecting the designer’s interest in Greek mythology and art, the striking Medusa emblem went on to become a design motif in the house’s seasonal collections, remaining to this day as iconic as it is intriguing.
Yves Saint Laurent
Subtle yet unforgettable, the iconic Yves Saint Laurent logo was the vision a man who was just as extraordinary. The initial YSL monogram, along with the horizontal, complete “Yves Saint Laurent”—were created by Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron, a Ukrainian-French commercial poster artist known mostly by his pseudonym, Cassandre. Famous for his typefaces, posters, and magazine covers—most notably for Harper’s Bazaar—Cassandre’s logo entwines Yves’ three initials into a sophisticated vertical arrangement.
Founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, a legendary designer with an equally legendary name, the House of Gucci had to wait a little while before it had a notable emblem to accompany its prestigious title. In 1933 the house was joined by Aldo Gucci, one of Guccio’s three sons, who created the instantly distinguishable Gucci “double G”. Chic and straightforward in its aesthetic, the logo has become one of the most memorable emblems in the history of fashion, recognised worldwide as a mark of grandeur and class.
It’s not every day that you see the Prada emblem in all its glory; the house generally brands its products with simply its name. However, with every logo comes a story, and Prada’s is no exception. The house’s “uncut” logo features a slender rope that encircles the periphery of the PRADA text. The real mystery is, why? Legend has it that Prada—when appointed as the official suppliers to the Italian Royal Household in the early 1900s—was permitted to use the House of Savoy’s coat of arms. Today, Prada still keeps it simple, preferring their text only equivalent. However, you can still spy the Prada logo old-school style in some of the house’s exclusive collections.