Today the cachet of owning a luxury brand no longer comes from
signature logos but by being able to identify signature designer
details — whether it’s the precious metal on a handbag, the lush
fabric of a dress, or the sole color of a shoe, fashion insiders say.
The premise here, they say, is that if you’re truly among the fashion
elite you don’t need labels or logos to showcase your style and wealth.
The new mantra is: If you’ve got it — don’t flaunt it.
designer logos has always been less about personal style than it is
about letting other people know that you belong to an elite group,"
said Ravi Dhar, a professor of marketing at Yale University.
have become more accessible to the masses, fashion-forward folks are
sporting their designer looks more stealthily to distinguish themselves
from the logo-besotted mainstream, he said.
But just because
these styles aren’t “in-your-face" does not mean the drive for luxury
or status has lessened, Dhar said. “It’s the same thing at play here.
It’s `stealth wealth.’ It’s showing off by not showing off," he said.
said trendsetters with means are turning to uber-premium designers like
Bottega Veneta and Hermes whose styles are not as readily identifiable,
or as easily counterfeited, as popular designers such as
Louis Vuitton, or Burberry. Other fashionistas, regardless of income,
are opting for the more understated styles offered by their favorite
designers. Often, these stealthier styles are only detectable to those
who religiously follow fashion. And that’s the whole point.
perception here is that logo-splashed apparel and accessories have
become so ubiquitous that they’ve created an environment where if
everyone has them you are no longer considered part of the elite.
instance, Burberry’s high-end customers in the United Kingdom began
shunning the brand’s signature plaid last year after it became popular
with a subculture of society — British soccer thugs nicknamed “the
Chavs." Burberry’s more traditional customers didn’t want to be
associated with them, so the company began downplaying its trademark
plaid and offering subtler styles.
More people are tuned into fashion these days because of a
celebrity-obsessed culture that takes its wardrobe cues from award
shows and entertainment rags, said Radley Cramer, the director of the
fashion program at Marist College in New York.
“If you go back
200 years in history, the royals would set the fashion standard and it
would take about 10 years for the trends to trickle down to the
masses," he said. “Today, celebrities are the new royalty and the
trends take 10 minutes to trickle down. Therefore, the trendsetters out
there are constantly reinventing themselves."