With such long, winding stories chained by a revolving door of creative directors, it’s no wonder that the course of a luxury brand seldom runs smoothly. The heavyweights of fashion rise and fall to rise again according to the barometer of trends.
However, the signature pieces produced by these labels are not that erratic; designs that become synonymous with a single name over years of constant improvement, design changes and new marketing efforts.
Credit cards at your fingertips, here’s a look at the iconic designer products you should know about and maybe one day add to your wardrobe.
Like so many luxury brands,
Acne Studios Jeans
At just over 20 years old, Acne Studios is still a toddler in terms of luxury. But youth is not necessarily a disadvantage; the brand regularly brings in over $ 200 million a year.
Rightly so, it was the raw denim jeans – the universal symbol of the youth and rebellion fashion industry – that put the Swedish brand on the map. In 1997, co-founder Jonny Johansson made 100 pairs for friends and family. The simple double-stitched design of these jeans placed them halfway between luxury and Scandinavian minimalism, and they were so successful that the denim line became a larger clothing collection. Then come two shows per year in Paris. Then came fame. Not bad for something that started out as a family gift.
Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt
One of the founding fathers of American prep, Ralph Lauren made a name for himself through a simple, subtle branding exercise: embroidering his brand’s logo on a classic Oxford shirt.
It turned out to be the perfect example of logos – bold enough to be immediately recognized, but not so gaudy. No sticky slogans. No weird statements. Perhaps best of all, however, it doesn’t distract from the rest of a man’s look, which really makes him a timeless and versatile menswear essential.
Saint Laurent leather jacket
Small anomaly on this list, Saint Laurent leather jackets have only recently acquired signature status. Former Creative Director Hedi Slimane loved a healthy rock’n’roll decibel, so much so that he decided to merge it with haute couture. And it didn’t take long for applause to follow.
From there, the leather jacket, whether in supple skin or in soft suede, became the symbol of Saint Laurent’s new direction. Less elegance Parisian Left Bank, more plumb. Which is just as good for fans of versatile pieces – nothing is as chic and casual as a quality biker.
French luxury brands may have traditionally been known for their diary style, but British brands know a thing or two about quality. And few of them know more than Burberry.
Now over 160 years old, Burberry is the brand responsible for the development of gabardine. It looks like a Victorian pain reliever, but it’s actually a waterproof, breathable fabric that the yarn is waterproofed into before weaving – something that came in particularly handy during WWI. Burberry created the “trench coat” from the same fabric to combat the conditions of the Somme. After the war ended, the design became popular with civilians for its ruggedness. The iconic check followed in 1920 and the score: a British staple was born.
Rolex diving watch
One of the most immediately recognizable watches of the last century, having appeared on the wrists of everyone from Steve McQueen to the British Royal Navy, few timepieces offer the status of wearing a Rolex Submariner.
Launched to the public in 1953, the model was at the time the first diver’s watch waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. Although it was designed specifically for scuba diving, it quickly gained the favor of all who liked their ticker to feature a sturdy design, a very readable display, superior water resistance and a beautiful appearance. classic. So is it everyone?
Louis Vuitton luggage
Although plagued by counterfeits all over the world, Louis Vuitton luggage has never suffered a hard blow for all of its imitations. Long before the famous monogram print, Vuitton developed a square trunk in 1858. By simply boxing the design and making sure it was airtight, Vuitton reinvented the baggage game – easier to stack but still protective.
Fast forwarding a century, a few celebrity mentions and an enhanced fashion line led by cult designer Virgil Abloh, and it is now one of the most profitable luxury brands in the world. All thanks to a suitcase.
Hermès has a long-standing partnership with equestrian sports (what about the rich and horses?) What started as a bridle and harness workshop in 1837, the French business quickly expanded to other luxury goods. And as he walked away from the racetrack, he kept the equestrian accent by painting grandstand scenes on Chinese silk scarves.
Today, in the oldest fashion house still in operation, the design process remains the same. Over 750 hours are spent engraving the silkscreen prints, 27 distinct colors can take six months to transfer, and the silk itself is made from over 250 moth cocoons. Which makes it quite an expensive, but unmistakably memorable scarf.
Calvin Klein Boxer
Not quite a neophyte, but by no means an elder, Calvin Klein is a fashion mainstay, whose success fluctuated throughout the 1980s. But, just as the brand began to sink in 1992, its fortunes rose thanks to a below-the-belt invention.
All thanks to designer John Varvatos. Calvin Klein’s head of menswear has created a new type of underwear, the “boxer,” by cutting the legs of long underwear. A pre-Boogie Nights Mark Wahlberg was drafted to lead the campaign and thanks to solid design (and good arms) Calvin Klein was saved from bankruptcy.
Tom Ford Single Breasted Suit
“Dressing well is a form of good manners,” says Tom Ford, so it’s no surprise that the Texan designer and director has made perfectly tailored suits (and therefore extremely polite men) his calling card. eponymous brand since 2006.
Cut with a refined masculine aesthetic loved by everyone from Jay-Z to Daniel Craig (having dressed James Bond in Spectrum), there’s a reason Tinseltown only turns to one man when it’s time to get dressed.
Tod’s driving shoe
Unlike other activity-specific footwear – house slippers, for example – driving shoes are something every man should aspire to be seen in. Stylish and practical in equal parts, they are a no-brainer for effortless summer dressing, even when you are not planning on getting behind the wheel.
Made in Italy from over 100 artisanal steps, including the application of each of the 133 hand rollers (designed to ensure grip on the pedals), the Tod’s Gomino model has set the lap time to beat ever since. 1970s. Go for full grain nubuck or smooth suede and wear them for a spin under anything from jeans to tailored pants.