Logos Are Out!
What’s out: gaudy, loud, flamboyant, flashy. What’s in: exclusivity, subtlety and understated luxury. Thanks, in part, to the aspirational consumer (you know, the girl who shares your cubicle and carries a $1,200 handbag to work everyday) and the growing trend of high-end luxury labels creating more and more diffusion lines catering to the mass market (Missoni for Target, etc.), luxury accessories are starting to lose their value and appeal. In turn, this is creating a demand for understated luxury items.
Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in Southeast Asia where the sophisticated set of China’s elite “crave more exclusivity in a growing sea of luxury. The world’s top luxury accessories brands are learning that the key to maintaining the aura of exclusivity is to hide in plain sight. To reconcile volatile economies with the demand for greater status symbols, top labels like Chanel and Victoria Beckham are producing high quality bags that speak for themselves, without the use of logos.The Chinese are not the only ones looking to distinguish through exclusivity.”
In these tough economic times, there are the buyers who are looking for quality pieces that will last for many seasons (both in terms of style and quality) and then there are those, such as China’s elite, who prefer handbags devoid of logos due to their understated elegance and exclusivity. According to Sarah Rutson, the fashion director of Hong Kong-based retailer Lane Crawford, “when a woman gets these hard-to-come-by pieces, they are met with gasps of admiration and envy. Who needs a logo with that [kind of] recognition. Rutson cited discrete brands such as Céline who maintain their demand and exclusivity by limiting the number of products that make available for purchase.
Designers such as Hermes and Bottega Veneta focus on craftsmanship and accentuating the brand’s personality through the design of their handbags. As a result, these high-end brands are enjoying better than expected profit margins this year.
Is understated elegance the new trend?