Our appetite for all things typographic, here at Wallpaper*, is no secret, so you can imagine our excitement when the fashion industry opted to literally spell out their S/S 2014 messages. Given that we now live in a world where brands, logos and 'filter-perfected' lifestyle ideals are continually tagged into our news feeds, it comes as no surprise that many of these houses, helmed by designers who grew up during the last era of logo-mania and who are now leading Generation Social Media, opted to play with a little tongue-in-cheek typography this season. From Alexander Wang's laser cut leather logo dresses, to Raf Simons' ticker-style news alert slogans across ladylike looks at Dior, consider spring/summer signed, tweeted and electronically delivered direct to you.
Pictured (from left): looks from Missoni, Alexander Wang and Kenzo
Alexander Wang: The designer grew up during the peak of the logo-a-go-go mania phase of the early 2000s, so his re-visitation of this OTT era in designer branding, now that he's a global entity himself, isn't without a little irony. For Spring Wang began by camouflaging his name - spelt out in Helvetica Neue LT STD Condensed font - in expertly laser cut leather pieces, alongside his less subtle Parental Advisory warning tops that will no doubt reign as the season's signature slogan
Alexander Wang: As explained in the show notes, 'The Alexander Wang logo plays a significant, yet obscured role throughout the collection. Its subtle presence is portrayed through various fabric techniques such as seamless welding, printing, bonding and embroidery. Laser cut logos appear in the form of delicate guipure lace tops, leather pleated trenches and gloves. Youthful pleated skirts and dresses expose a perverse culture through experimenting with logo printing, laser cutting and crushed leather pleating'
Christopher Kane: It all began with a high school biology tutorial at Christopher Kane. In his S/S 2014 class, fertility bloomed from many a botanical specimen, with the designer kindly offering crib notes in the form of the unmissable key words 'flower' and 'petal', cut out of his pastel hued sweatshirts in bold Helvetica Neue caps before being filled with delicate lace. The same typography then mapped out his flora anatomy 'cross-section' jumper with a similarly scientific attention to detail
Christopher Kane: Helvetica Neue later dissected Kane's polyester carnation camisole and pleat skirt, with the help of the same scalpel-like laser cutting, before his transparent organza finale dresses were embroidered to replicate blown-up textbooks
Kenzo: Designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim's message this season was a conscious departure from the branded Kenzo logo sweatshirts that the house has been selling in droves for the past few seasons. Acknowledging their influence with Gen Y, Kenzo's Spring show was about activism for the good of fish - as well as fashion. Enter the collection's Life Aquatic theme and 'No Fish No Nothing' t-shirt – the result of the pair's new partnership with conservation charity the Blue Marine Foundation. With its handwritten font, reflective of environmental protest posters, this runway t-shirt is part of a men's and women's line designed to financially assist the Foundation's efforts to alleviate pressure on the world's oceans, caused primarily by pollution and over fishing. Well said
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Christian Dior: The collection was inspired by 'the idea of twisting, turning and pushing Dior, where the lyrically romantic becomes dangerous; a beautiful rose garden becomes poisonous,' says creative director Raf Simons. 'I wanted to change the very nature of things; that fashion exists as a place of possibility, risk and change.' As a result Simons' 'Trans Dior' collection offers up a rebellion on Christian Dior's ladylike propriety, dissecting the house codes with surreal Alice in Wonderland references, articulating Simons' exotic, yet often artificial garden fantasy. Look 19's pink pleats (left) are sealed with the phrases, 'The Primrose Path', 'The UltraViolet Mouth' and 'Alice Garden', while Look 20 relays the capitalised slogans, 'Hyperrealness in the Daytime', 'Always Changing, Forever Now' and 'Convallaria Majalis: Sweetly Poisons'
Christian Dior: Utilising the Lucida Bright font, Simons' stream of consciousness is strewn across his hyper-reality floral dresses, almost like the hazard tape that circles a crime scene. These textural dresses belong to Simons' 'Transporter' series, described as the collection's most transgressive element, interrupting the traditional Dior narrative with their own story, quite literally spelt out. Look 21's embroidered silk rose dress (left) is printed with the word banners 'The Aliceblue Eyes', 'Whisper Yellow', 'Hyperrose' and 'Silentwhite'. Look 36's strip cage dress features the phrases 'Colour, Both Imagined And Real' and 'JetBlack Cat The Celadon Eyes'
Louis Vuitton: The start time for Louis Vuitton's Paris show was 10am. By now editors know not to be late, or face watching the show from their Instagram feeds outside, and especially not for this very important date with Marc Jacobs' farewell Vuitton collection. Backstage, the call time was a sprightly 3am, in order for the team to conjure Edie Campbell's shackled finale 'look' that came hand-painted and then bejewelled in homage to Stephen Sprouse's graffitied Louis Vuitton logo. A branding coup that has become an icon of Jacobs' tenure
DKNY: To celebrate DKNY's 25th anniversary, the brand's design team were in an especially New York state of mind for Spring. Extending DKNY's Helvetica Neue Light Bold logo front with a little horizontal stretch, the repeated branding covered much of the show's sportier separates, which upon closer inspection reference the grid of Manhattan's historic garment district from 34th to 42nd street, between Fifth and Ninth avenue. 'We chose this font because it mimics the tall, skinny silhouettes of New York City skyscrapers and the graphic intersections of the city streets,' Jane Chung, DKNY's executive vice president of design explains
Masha Ma: For S/S 2014, emerging Chinese label Masha Ma teamed up with renowned English graphic designer and typographer Neville Brody to create a new 'visual language' for the brand's Paris Fashion Week show. As Brody explains: 'What we have done is remove the textual content, the words, and focus on the layer of meaning that the form itself communicates'
Masha Ma: Based on the visual of sound waves, angular, jagged forms contrast with the organic softness of the collection's shapes. Brody says his starting point 'echoed anarchistic and rebellious periods in modern cultural history, the fonts continuing the traditions of Dadaism, Abstract Expressionism and Punk, extending them into a modern scenario where new digital and material technologies meet'
Chanel: Karl Lagerfeld's artistic turn for S/S 2014 went further than the surrounds of his 'Chanel' art gallery – complete with branded sculptures and paintings incorporating the house's famed icons – toying with the techniques and tools of an artist's studio in the collection. There was canvas-inspired denim, rainbow dresses resembling the kaleidoscopic hues of a Pantone colour wheel, his cult 'Boy' bag re-imagined with trompe-l'oeil chalk branding, and finally, the spray painted Chanel backpack – no doubt designed with Paris' Sorbonne art faculty in mind
Céline: In addition to the photographs of primal graffiti captured by Hungarian photographer Brassaï that inspired the tribal beat of Phoebe Philo's S/S 2014 collection, the London-based designer also offered up evidence that she still likes to digest her news feed in print. Leading on from Brassaï's pictures of wall carvings, modern day newspaper column inches of micro formatted copy offered a textural canvas for the designer's painterly brushstrokes, posing a nostalgic nod to news coverage before the age of digital domination
Missoni: Ever the knitwear innovator, Missoni morphed its iconic chevron zigzag into a play on the house's lesser-known 'logo' print. Dubbed the 'wave logo' by the Missoni atelier, its graphic effect incorporates an original shape motif first introduced for A/W 1998
Missoni: Over the years this shapley 'lettering' has been redeveloped as an alternative house signature that, to date, has mainly frequented the Missoni Home collection. However, we're told that it is set to reappear on the runway for A/W 2014
Erdem: 'Handwritten love letters come to life via prose by American poets Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman,' explains Erdem Moralioglu of his monochromatic S/S show that referenced the romantic rebels of the English public school system. 'The collection begins with the idea of a schoolgirl dressing up as a boy. She adopts his preppy pieces; buttoned-up crisp white shirts with tails, college blazers and sports kit; before falling in love. The words are the kind of literature she might learn in English class,' he says of this vest's embroidered prose, sent out in an envelope of organza
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