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Luxury Handbags Ditch Logos for Exclusivity

on October 26 2011 | in Trends | by | with No Comments

therow

Would no logo be a go for Chinese luxury consumers?

Perhaps this appeals to the more sophisticated of China’s elite, albeit a small group, who crave more exclusivity in a growing sea of luxury. The Chinese are not the only ones looking to distinguish through exclusivity.

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.

“If budgets are tighter, there is much greater value put on bags that will stand the test of time,” says Ed Burstell, managing director at Liberty of London. The same informed insiders that demand the highest quality from brands are the customers who also admire the chic understatement that a bag without logos can bring.

“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,” says Sarah Rutson, the fashion director of retailer Lane Crawford. Rutson notes how discrete brands like Céline limit purchases to protect exclusivity and maintain the demand for their bags.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are also picking up on this trend. This autumn, their handbag collection for The Row, their new label, features high-quality bags in simple shapes. “Customers are judging product based on actual, versus perceived, value; for us, this has always been paramount,” they say. A $34,000 backpack from the collection has already sold out.

Without logos, products themselves accentuate a brand’s personality. Hermès, one of the most revered – and reserved – labels on the market has seen an increase of 50 percent in its first half profits this year. Hermès is also looking to hire 400 staff members to boost production, proving subtlety sells.

Tomas Maier, designer for Bottega Veneta, agrees. “When I joined Bottega Veneta, I immediately eliminated everything that distracted from our focus on the product,” he says, admitting that it was a drastic course of action but the right one. “Bottega Veneta’s strengths have nothing to do with short-lived trends,” he says.

Most enduring brands echo Maier’s sentiments. Even Chanel’s new “Boy” collection doesn’t flout the brand’s the signature quiliting or double-C logo. The lack of logos on bags in Barneys New York’s autumn catalogue proves the trend is taking root. “Historically, our clients have always responded to a more subtle, beautifully crafted product,” says Daniella Vitale, the store’s executive vice president, “[It’s about] expression through details, exquisite materials and things that are not so identifiable.”

[ft]
photo credit: the row

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