Over the last several years, many of the significant high-end luxury brands have been making some major changes to keep up with the ever-changing fashion industry and the most important consumer generation to date: millennials. Millennials have changed the retail industry as a whole, gearing toward e-commerce and sustainability, which brands have had to integrate into their foundations. A staggering 74% of millennials also comparison shop, meaning that brands must now try harder to keep their interest and willingness to pay full price with the rise of the booming industry that is resale. In an effort to stay relevant, top luxury brands have looked to rebrand. We explore the changes made by three top luxury brands over the past few years.
Founded in 1945, and acquired by LVMH in 1996, Celine has become synonymous with clean lines and fresh silhouettes since Phoebe Philo took over as creative director in 2008. For the last decade, she elevated the brand from typical early 2000s fashion to elegant feminine minimalism that was well ahead of its time. When Philo decided to step down earlier in 2018, Philophiles were devastated and feared for the future of their favorite brand.
The Philo Aesthetic
The Slimane Aesthetic
Soon after, Hedi Slimane was named creative director, a move that was met with speculation and hesitation due to the direction he took Saint Laurent. Under his direction, Celine dropped the accent on its branding, to represent the original 1960s logo, and has taken the brand in a completely new direction aesthetically. These changes have not been met with praise, and the fashion world is struggling to get on board with the new look of Celine.
What was even more shocking; only a handful of handbag silhouettes were introduced. In response, Phoebe Philo era bags have increased in value on the resale market. Will Celine lovers migrate to other aesthetically similar brands, or will they stay and accept the darker, more risque look that Slimane is known for?
In recent years, Burberry has been laying low, focusing on its core offering in handbags and ready to wear. The brand saw a steady incline with revenues largely driven from China and Hong Kong. However, when the Chinese economic slowdown occurred at the end of 2015, and demand fell in this region, Burberry took a hit and has been on a downfall ever since.
In March of 2018, it was announced that Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, would be taking over as the chief creative officer, with the hope of turning around the brand.
The new “Thomas Burberry Monogram”
In August, Tisci revamped the Burberry logo to be simple and utilitarian. It was a bold move, but not entirely unexpected. What came as a greater surprise; his choice to hire Peter Saville to create an entirely new monogram pattern for the brand. Taking elements from Burberry’s heritage and interweaving it with an unlikely shade of orange.
Soon after, Tisci debuted a 134 look collection that made waves, as it veered more toward a younger yet still muted aesthetic. Adding a slight edge and reimagination of many of Burberry’s heritage silhouettes, which made for positive feedback from critics. Now, we wait to see if this new direction will move Burberry forward or if it should have stayed relatively safe nestled in its heritage.
Ever since Alessandro Michele stepped in as creative director for Gucci in 2015, the brand hasn’t been the same. With his eclectic style, his knack for collaborations, and ability to keep the company deeply rooted in its history, Michele has managed to take a well-known luxury company to the absolute pinnacle of luxury.
He announced the new direction of Gucci during his Fall/Winter 2015-16 collection, which he completely redesigned, from scratch, in 5 days. He managed to meld vibrant and eclectic with vintage elements Gucci is known for, and the fashion world rejoiced. Ever since, whatever Michele touches seems to turn to gold. From his Dionysus and Marmont lines that became instant successes, to the newest Ophidia and Sylvie collections that gained traction incredibly fast.
The most recognized change that Michele made to the aesthetic, was a redesign of the Gucci signature GG logo. While the logo has gone through a myriad of variations over time, this version seems to encompass the history the fashion house takes pride in and the modernization they are embracing.
Overall, Gucci has made an incredible comeback, even in the last year moving from the 51st to the 39th position on Interbrand’s luxury sector of Best Global Brands, by far the largest jump. For comparison, Hermes holds steady at 32 and Chanel at 23. This winning streak won’t likely be ending anytime soon, and we’re excited to see what the future of Gucci holds.