Building brand icons is key to future proofing brand recognition, consumer interest and loyalty. Hype culture, drops and limited editions add another layer of intrigue, excitement and expectation from a consumer point of view. Whether it’s Louis Vuitton’s signature motifs, Pandora’s iconic snake chain or the Gucci double ‘CC’ monogram, influential brands reimagine and reinvent their icons time and time again.
Subverting codes may seem risky but as LA-based, Hoorsenbuhs shows, it can also be collectible and commercial. The unisex jewellery brand created ‘Sacred’ – a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces presented as molten renditions of Hoorsenbuhs’ Tri-link rings. Sacred riffs on the brand’s instantly recognisable monogram around which many of its collections have been developed.
MAD X Cartier
Collaborations are a great way to explore reworked icons through fresh imaginings of a brand classic. A case in point is the MAD Paris Cartier collection – a three-way venture undertaken in partnership with Dover Street Market – in which the game-changing watch and jewellery customisation brand transformed Cartier’s iconic Juste un Clou bangle by coating it in matt black nanocomposite DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) set with black diamonds.
This collaborative partnership – a sophisticated collision of innovation and timeless design – demonstrated how savvy ventures of this kind can boost an item’s value as the reimagined (and often rare) profile becomes a sought after collectors item.
Cross category mash-ups are another effective opportunity to celebrate brand house codes. Chanel recently celebrated the 100-year anniversary of its iconic No5 perfume by unveiling an opulent collection of 123 dazzling jewels inspired by the brand’s signature perfume bottle. The iconic scent – including the bottle, the stopper, the number, the flowers (jasmine, may rose and ylang-ylang) and the sillage – were reimagined across a collection that celebrates craftsmanship and encourages investment and collectability.
There is a lot to be said for creating shapes, motifs, proprietary colours, monograms and symbols that become associated and recognisable brand codes which, over time, have the potential to be reimagined through subversion and collaboration. Identifying and investing in these product pillars in the early days of a brand’s evolution is a commitment worth making since, if they are nailed early on, these unique assets become the gifts that keeps on giving.
Words: Juliet Hutton-Squire