February 18, 2019
By Noelani Piters
KNOW YOUR LOGOS: THE NUANCES OF YOUR FAVORITE MONOGRAMS
It seems pretty safe to say that logos aren’t going anywhere. A certain cachet accompanies heritage houses’ identifying emblems, and sometimes it’s hard to ignore the call of the classics. But there’s no bigger faux pas than donning your favorite monogram without knowing a bit about the backstory. Read on as we dive into the nuances of some of the most recognizable logos, with expert intel from our Chief Authenticator Graham Wetzbarger.
Fendi: Zucca Becomes FF
These days, Fendi seems to be the major designer du jour. It’s had a huge renaissance in the last couple of years, with the house focused heavily on emphasizing its branding. In addition to collaborating with Fila for its retro “Fendi Mania” print and developing its Kan logo, Fendi has also given its classic Zucca print a facelift, now calling it FF. It’s more than a name change, however.
“The FF logo is a little more square than its Zucca predecessor,” says Wetzbarger. “But no matter what piece it’s on or what year it was produced, the Fs should never touch.” Some pieces will also have Fendi injected between the pattern, but not between the Fs themselves. Zucca (and the version featuring mini FFs, Zucchino) was originally designed by Karl Lagerfeld in 1965 to describe Fendi’s “Fun Furs” and according to Lagerfeld, he designed the seemingly ubiquitous logo in “less than five seconds.”
At the end of 2017, Fendi doubled down on its logos by adding the upside-down Kan logo to its repertoire. “The Kan logo alludes to the 3Baguette style from 2016, and real Fendi Kan pieces should feature an encircled F with a top arm that’s more than double the length of the second arm,” notes Wetzbarger. “While it may never surpass FF in popularity, it’s equally iconic.”
Celine: The Return Of The Triomphe
If there’s one person who could speak volumes without utilizing a single logo, it was Phoebe Philo. Philo defined her designs for Céline with an impactful minimalism that effortlessly married form and function. But with Hedi Slimane at the helm of now-accentless Celine, the state of the brand has shifted. He cut the accent aigu, tightened the space between the logo’s letters and pulled a thick sans-serif C from past accessories in the ‘60s. In addition, Slimane has reintroduced a motif that screams heritage — the Triomphe.
“The Triomphe motif — also known as Macadam — first made an appearance in 1973 when founder Céline Vipiana redesigned its logo,” notes Wetzbarger. “As the name suggests, it was inspired by the French Arc de Triomphe landmark. Before Slimane reappropriated the Macadam, it could only be found on Celine‘s vintage pieces — as embroidered accents on ready-to-wear, as monogram prints on coated canvas bags and as a woven jacquard on accessories, for example.”
Balenciaga: Charting New Logo Territory
Though the Balenciaga of old was never a brand to emphasize logos, Creative Director Demna Gvasalia has changed that. He’s kept up with the demand for more monograms by adding bold BB accents into the mix. But the back-to-back BB didn’t just appear out of thin air. “Revived in Fall 2017, Balenciaga’s BB logo dates back to the eighties and nineties, when it appeared on the brand’s garment tags, licensed Balenciaga Sport pieces and canvas accessories,” says Wetzbarger. “Just like a slew of other designers, Balenciaga dug into their archives for inspiration.”
Many may have missed the subtle change of Balenciaga’s logo that also took place at the end of 2017. While the original logo, shown above, was a little wider, the new logo opts for a bolder, thinner typeface. According to the brand, it was initially inspired by the “clarity of public transportation signage” in Paris metro stations, and since its unveiling has appeared on everything from handbags to pool slides.
Burberry: Is TB The New Nova Check?
Burberry’s Nova Check has always been its most iconic (and counterfeited) pattern, but now there’s a new monogram about to give it a run for its money. Creative Director Riccardo Tisci unleashed the TB logo last year, announcing a new era for Burberry. “Inspired by founder Thomas Burberry’s initials, it features an intertwined T and B,” says Wetzbarger. Tisci and graphic designer Peter Savile designed the logo together.
“I pay careful attention to how the orange T loops over the middle of the B, as well as how each T is staggered,” notes Wetzbarger. “The horizontal top of the T does not extend directly to form a continuous line behind the B initials.”
The Burberry logo has also received the popular minimalist treatment that seems to be spreading wildly throughout the fashion world. Gone is the equestrian knight, the serif font and the year of establishment. “The new logo is a bold sans-serif Burberry, with London England listed below, all in caps,” describes Wetzbarger.
Dior: From Galliano’s Diorissimo To Chiuri’s Oblique
When Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s Creative Director, recently revived the Saddle bag, the style set took note. But she went one step further to secure the loyalty of Dior logo lovers by refreshing the timeless Diorissimo pattern — which reached its peak in the aughts — and christening it Oblique. “The Oblique pattern features a font that’s a little slimmer and defined with highlights that create depth,” explains Wetzbarger, “while the Diorissimo pattern is bolder.”
The house’s official monogram debuted in 1967, and was designed by Marc Bohan, the artistic director at that time. “Dior’s Diorissimo jacquard logo really became a brand signature in the seventies and eighties, and reached icon status under John Galliano in 2000,” says Wetzbarger.
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