A few days ago I was reminiscing how eight or seven years ago, I was meekly emailing Mandi Lennard to ask to and see a Roksanda Ilincic show, whose ruffles, volumes and draping back then was more freeform and raw in comparison to today’s sleek colour-blocked silhouettes. That “Look, how far they’ve come…” feeling was further exacerbated when I went along to see her new store on Mount Street. It’s a significant milestone because a) it’s Mount Street and she now sits alongside the likes of Lanvin, Celine, Balenciaga and the like and b) it represents a new phase in Ilincic’s brand as Eiesha Bharti Pasricha has come on board as a minority investor. The end goal isn’t this one lone store but it’s the first of many. Wowzers. As if it wasn’t dizzying enough when wafting through the David Adjaye-designed elemental store interior. And soon, a few doors down, Christopher Kane will soon be joining the Mount Street Brit designer crew (Nicholas Kirkwood’s store is also close by). If I’m shaking my head in disbelief, it’s only because finally, I’m now old enough to remember the beginnings of something – of Roksanda’s freehand tulle flou from back in the day, of Christopher’s banging lace and neon and of Kirkwood’s hyper extreme sculptural feats in footwear. Their success and ascent are worth reflecting upon as we’re all noting that London is now teeming with emerging businesses, as opposed to just emerging designers.
My pics were a bit rubs because the store was jostling with a throng of Roksanda supporters in a flash of signature Roksanda colour, bands of neon from the current S/S 14 collection and elongated silhouettes that segue between day and night. I don’t have quite the restrained stature or inclination to wear most of Roksanda’s offerings but knotted macrame bags made out of colourful jump cord and neon patent ankle boots designed by Nicholas Kirkwood are definitely lustworthy.
What was immediately apparent though was the deliberate rebranding. Gone is Ilincic’s, admittedly tricky last name (if you’re not a Brit-designer aficionado) and what remains is a one-word easy-to-remember Roksanda. The logo has been simplified with the quirky bird motif dropped as well and instead an abbreviated double R left in its place. It’s a simple adjustment that sends a strong message out about Ilincic’s global intent with her brand.
Roksanda’s logo shift and rebranding led me to think about other recent logo changes that have fundamentally changed perceptions of a brand. In a similar category of emerged/close-to-established designer, Proenza Schouler added heft and cool when they dropped the curly wurly monogram and toughened up the font significantly last year, with the help of art director Peter Miles. They just look like two different brands, especially when you look at the new logo coupled with their current ad campaigns. Somehow the latter with its punchy emboldened font adds edge to your brand perception. Less fuss, more heft – which just about sums up the way the duo manage to make complex textures and fabrications look carefree and wearable.
In the big houses, new creative directors have hailed in new brand identities, as new age creative directors are not only designers of garments but also oversee every bit of minutiae of a brand. J.W. Anderson’s first physical output at Loewe isn’t a bag or a piece of clothing but a brand new identity for the Spanish leather goods house. ““I wanted to reduce the logo and just clean it off,” Anderson told Vogue.co.uk. “It was just a redrafting really – we wanted to keep it similar but make a subtle shift for the next phase. I already loved the ‘O’ in the Loewe; it really draws you in. We worked with M/M Paris – who I think are geniuses – for the typography and design. This is the first step in a global plan, just making changes where relevant to the brand.” The fancy WW is also gone and the curves of the logo are reduced and thinned out. It’s subtle but impactful at the same time. As with most recent house reboots, appealing to the youth and staying current and relevant seem to be the objectives. That’s definitely achieved here.
We can’t talk about maison rebranding without bringing up Hedi Slimane’s radical move at Saint Laurent in 2012 to get rid of the “Yves” and also artist Cassandre’s infamous 1963 YSL logo. A few years down the line and our eyes have adjusted to the way Saint Laurent Paris, projects itself as a logo, designed with a nod to the old 1966 Saint Laurent Rive Gauche logo in Helvetica font. In fact I can’t really see it any other way now, especially when you pair it with Slimane’s product language and his now-established fashion output. That Cassandre YSL hasn’t entirely departed though. The make-up of course still bears that logo as does a permanent range of bags and leather goods such as this mini cigarette suede pouch, which I love carrying when I’m in my Oyster-Card-and-debit-cardonly moods.
It’s not quite an official rebranding but I’ve been fixated by the printed paraphernalia of Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton‘s last two shows. There’s something in the spacing or density of the font used in the instantly recognisable Louis Vuitton logo used on the envelopes and invites that looks different somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is as I don’t think there have been any deliberate changes. Perhaps it’s just the way the invitations are sparsely designed with typography as the central focal point as opposed to thematic motifs in the invites from Marc Jacobs’ era at Louis Vuitton.