Fashion

What Is the Deal With Yves Saint Laurent's Logo?


Yves Saint Laurent headquarters in Paris

Photograph by David Brabyn

Yves Saint Laurent headquarters in Paris

This week, thousands of shoppers braved rain and crowds for the annual Yves Saint Laurent sample sale, which ran in New York from Oct. 23 to Oct. 25. Unlike in years past, this crowd was extra-jittery. Since new creative director Hedi Slimane relabeled the brand “Saint Laurent Paris,” many of the fashion faithful have been worried that the company’s classic “YSL” logo will be replaced. So shoppers are racing to snatch it up while they can.

If the old logo is indeed an endangered species, does this mean that items bearing it will go up in value? According to Milton Pedraza, chief executive and founder of New York research and consulting firm the Luxury Institute, the answer is affirmative. “YSL is making the change in a surgical way,” he says. “They will reinterpret the classics. So yes, the classics will sell for more with a certain group of people.”

Corey Palmer, founder of Real Deal Collection, a luxury handbag-consignment boutique and online marketplace, agrees. “I wouldn’t be surprised if older YSL becomes more valuable, as luxury goods tend to focus more on tradition and recognition,” she says. “Many handbag collectors even now prefer the vintage items to current seasons as the materials were finer and have stood the test of time.”

The brand’s renewal, announced this summer to some disappointment among consumers, has been hard to pinpoint: The company told reporters that the fashion house is called “Yves Saint Laurent,” the ready-to-wear collection “Saint Laurent,” and the logo “Saint Laurent Paris.”

Pedraza says PPR Luxury Group (which owns the brand) is very customer-centric and is working to modernize the YSL brand and improve the in-store experience. Still, he warns, “If you run away from your classic product or reinterpret your classics … too far away from the DNA of the brand, you will fail. Period.” While luxury brands might try to appeal to younger consumers, “even younger consumers mature into wanting the classics of that luxury brand.”

Perhaps this is why Yves Saint Laurent hasn’t completely abandoned its old signature. Says spokesperson Lilian Bard in an e-mail: “The YSL logo, created by Cassandre in 1961, will remain intact,” though she says it has not yet been determined how it will be used in the future.

Venessa-wong-190x190
Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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