The return of logomania - when did fashion get so tacky again?
Logos, long the antithesis of stylish restraint, are big and bold for spring-summer
We're used to hearing that true luxury whispers; that handbags should murmur their quality, not shriek their provenance; that the only garment women truly long for is a perfect navy-blue blazer. Bling, you've surely read, is dead - long live minimalism.
Except here's the thing: what passed as fashion gospel circa 2013 simply doesn't hold water in spring-summer 2017.
Logos, long the antithesis of stylish restraint, have returned to the high-fashion party - and judging by the rapturous reception they've received on the runways, it seems we've missed them.
At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri revamped the house's mark, splashing 'J'adior' (a gut-instinct contraction of 'J'adore Dior') on slingbacks, knickers, and slide-through handbag handles.
Newly installed Yves Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello used the house's 1961 Cassandre mark in architectural earrings and stiletto heels.
Outgoing Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci beat them both to it via the logo-stripe tracksuit in his resort 2017 collection. Then Dolce & Gabbana poked fun at imitation logo tees on their SS17 runway.
Vêtements socks, Christopher Kane 'K' sweaters and Loewe Joyce bags - all have been among the first items to sell out from the new collections.
"Branding is bigger and bolder than ever this season," says Brown Thomas Fashion Director Shelly Corkery. "After many seasons of minimalism this is a really fun way to embrace fashion and it's been hugely popular with Brown Thomas customers."
It's clear: we're loco for logos. The progenitor of the new logo wave was, as with all things ornamental since 2015, Gucci's Alessandro Michele. Among the outré looks in his SS17 menswear collection was a relatively understated white tee bearing the house's interlocking Gs and green-and-red striping.
"Instantly that was going to be a sell-out item and something that everyone was going to covet," says Laura Larbalestier, buying director at high-end London boutique Browns Fashion. "Wearing that T-shirt clearly signals that you have the must-have piece of the season… And the idea of being cool is very important right now. It's about being in the know."
Crucially, these aren't your 1990s logos. While an element of nostalgia may be at play (surely some shoppers will have first felt that fashion lust over an FCUK tee), "there's a healthy sense of irony to it," Larbalestier says. "It's not like, 'Oh, look how wealthy I am, look how expensive everything I have is.' It's definitely tongue-in-cheek, and that's what makes it feel modern and relevant again."
Corkery agrees, pointing out that the difference in this round of logo love is the influence of streetwear: "This is a direct throwback to the 90s but done in a much cooler, more sophisticated way inspired by today's streetwear culture."
In 2015, Vêtements took a €25 Champion hoodie, upended the company's C logo to use as the V in its name, and retailed it for €540. Street stylers went bananas.
Not that all the logos are even logos per se. The slogan tee is also on the rise, sometimes on the same runway as straightforward logo gear. One of the biggest talking points of Chiuri's SS17 collection for Dior was a simple white T-shirt printed with the phrase "We should all be feminists" - the title of a 2014 book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. At €697, the garment itself may be less accessible than the sentiment, but its ripples have been far reaching.
The clarity and immediacy of the message made the shirt seem a perfect fit with the feeling of the day. As Chiuri explained, to succeed in her mission at Dior, she must speak to young women.
"I want to tell a story with the heritage," she said. "You have to do it in a way that is exciting for them.
And a J'adior knuckleduster will sometimes do the job, too.