Autumn 2019

Normcore inferno

Elizabeth Glickfeld

As brand mania reaches new heights the new logotypes of luxury brands become ever more remarkable in their blandness

The typographically and sartorially inclined cannot have failed to notice an austere turn in fashion logos. In 2018, luxury houses Celine, Balmain and Burberry stripped their logos of heritage accoutrements. Celine dropped the French acute accent over the first ‘e’; Balmain dismissed its inline; Burberry gave its equestrian knight its marching orders. This wave of redesigns really began in 2012 when fashion designer Hedi Slimane marked his arrival as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent demonstrating no anxiety of influence at all. He quickly announced the name of the eponymous fashion house would henceforth be referred to by surname only – like a school chum. Furthermore, he demoted the monogram often mentioned in hallowed tones by graphic designers: the vertically and diagonally offset uppercase ‘Y’ and ‘L’ bound together by a serpentine ‘S’ – neither serif nor sans serif, neither roman nor italic – the late-career masterpiece designed by A. M. Cassandre. In its place would be a logotype much less intricate or dynamic: a customised version of all caps Helvetica Bold snugly kerned and stating the obvious.


Redesigns of logotypes for both Yves Saint Laurent in 2012 and Céline in 2018, under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane, claim a return to 1960s typography and the International Style.
Top. In 2018, Fendi, under creative director Karl Lagerfeld, collaborated with illustrator Hey Reilly to redraw its logo in the style of the split ‘F’ bubble typeface first used by Italian sportswear brand Fila in 1973.
Top. Spread from Eye 99. 

The Yves Saint Laurent logotype, redesigned under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane in 2012.

The Céline logotype, redesigned in 2018 under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane.

Elizabeth Glickfeld, design writer, editor of Dirty Furniture magazine, London

Read the full version in Eye no. 99 vol. 25, 2019


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