As abstracted, abbreviated signifiers, logos are but the tip of the iceberg for a large body of world-building creative work that forms a brand image, though they often attract outsize influence — an influence that luxury fashion brands have in recent years used to steer controversy and buzz around an incoming creative director.
“Letter forms are the smallest containers for meaning,” said Mathias Augustyniak, Mr. Amzalag’s partner at M/M Paris, with typography offering the potential for a second layer of authorship. But the more common trend for publicity-driven redesigns, he suggested, are “more about creating noise than a true design act.”
Fans of Ms. Philo, who led Celine from 2008 to 2018, still refer to Peter Miles’s design of the “old Celine” logo — which the brand’s current creative director, Hedi Slimane, famously altered upon taking the reins, removing the accent over the E, among other adjustments recalling elements of the brand’s 1960s logo. (Mr. Miles, who also created the mark for Ms. Philo’s coming namesake brand, said of the serif-versus-sans-serif question: “Both have a place, both permanently current.”)
Mr. Slimane also courted controversy during his tenure at Saint Laurent, where he dropped the Yves and replaced the previous word mark, created in 1961 by the French painter and typographer Cassandre, with a bold, all-caps sans-serif.
That, too, was an archival reference — this time, to the original logo for the brand’s ready-to-wear collection, Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, started in 1966. (The brand has since quietly reverted to a logo set in Cassandre’s typeface, still absent the Yves, to form a mash-up that Mr. Amzalag referred to as “an amputation” akin to “cutting an arm off of Mona Lisa.”)
In 2017, Mr. Saville, who established his career designing album artwork for Factory Records in the 1980s and is now a fashion-industry favorite for logo redesigns (including the latest one for Ferragamo), updated the Calvin Klein logo when Raf Simons took the helm.