24 September 2015

New Names for New Eras

Current CD of their respective labels, Christopher Bailey, John Galliano, Miuccia Prada, Hedi Slimane, Ralph Lauren
Remember back in 2014 in October when Maison Martin Margiela announced that John Galliano would be taking over as creative director and having his debut show in London in 2015? The fashion world went into a frenzy because one, John Galliano was making a triumph return into the fashion industry and two, he was dropping the ‘Martin’ from the house’s name, making it Maison Margiela, ushering the widely known avant-garde name into a new era that would be John Galliano. 
That was considered one of the major changes in the world of fashion as the eras shifted, and while some big name houses are still grasping tightly onto the original names of their founders, sometimes when designers leave and the creative director change, so do comes a bit of a name change, for the sake of a new chapter, as it is. In celebration of Fashion Week, which is happening right now, let’s take a look at five big houses that have changed their names over time.

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Burberry RTW Fall 2006 VS Burberry RTW Spring 2016
Founded back in 1856 by one Thomas Burberry, the original name was actually Burberry, which was the name of the boutique that Thomas Burberry had in Hampshire in London. However, due to the amount of over wavering clients who kept referring to the name as ‘Burberrys of London’, he ended up changing the name to Burberrys for a while. Odd right? 
Fast-forward to the 1900s when Burberry developed their logo of the equestrian knight in order to break apart from counterfeit reproductions, the Latin word Prosum was added to the trademark name, which meant to move forward. Up to this day, Christopher Bailey has continued to make waves as head of Burberry Prosum as the house has a massive following amongst royalty and celebrities all around the world with their classic trench coat with the ever so popular ‘Burberry print’. 

+ Here’s a fun fact, not only is the equestrian knight logo to help distinguish original from copies, but also reflects the houses’ philosophy of design – the armour is to signify the ‘long lasting protection’ of their outerwear and the knight is a reflection of the houses’ standards of integrity – ‘chivalry of Knighthood’.

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Yves Saint Laurent RTW Spring 2002 VS Saint Laurent Paris Spring 2013
Back in the days when the house was known as Yves Saint Paris, Yves himself was, and still is, considered one of the greatest and most influential names in fashion history. He is credited to resurrecting Haute Couture from the ashes and introducing tailored tuxedoes for women.
Founded in 1961, the eponymous house was most famous for creating clothes for the modernised woman – most popularly the ‘Le Smoking’ suit.
He is quoted to have said ‘Chanel have freed women and I have empowered them.’
 Following his death in 2008, Heli Slimane took over and rebranded the name to Saint Laurent Paris in 2015, with much criticism against clients and long-time fans. Unfortunately for him, when the new name was unveiled, Saint Laurent Paris was bombarded (and probably still is!) with complaints from dissatisfied fans.

Slimane’s defense on the change was that he wanted to rebrand for a new chapter while retaining something historical; he had gone back to the days of 1966 when Yves had originally set up the brand to be called ‘Saint Laurent Rive Gauche’.


Ralph Lauren RTW Fall 2006 VS Ralph Lauren RTW Fall 2015
 Since the house’s debut back in 1967, Ralph Lauren has become one of the most well-known and iconic names in fashion as a reflection of the very posh and prim American gal and guy.
Believe it not, Lauren was not his original surname; he was born Ralph Lifshitz and made the change when he was only 16 due to bullying. His career began when he started designing and selling a line of men’s accessories under the sub-name Polo at Bloomingdale’s, one of New York’s more prominent department stores.
When he was awarded for his menswear designs (he had expanded from accessories to menswear!), he began to design for women – tailored suits that were effectively in a man’s suit style but feminine enough for women. With every design came a Polo logo, which continues to be one of the houses’ most notable signature looks. From there, Ralph began to use his name, Ralph Lauren and expanded not only to yet another sub-line, Ralph Lauren Purple, but also home-furnishing and fragrances.
After expanding rapidly in the 80’s and becoming extremely popular with consumers, Lauren began to open boutiques around America and abroad due to demands – he officially began running the house as Ralph Lauren with the trademark symbol RL (used for stock exchange) in 1997.

Ralph Lauren has designed for Team USA’s Olympic uniforms as well as provided clothing assistance for the Academy winning film The Great Gatsby.

Prada RTW Spring 2006 VS Prada RTW Spring 2015
Originally known as Fratelli Prada (Prada Brothers), the house was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada and was once a leather goods firm. The house has always been a family business from the start, with Mario believing that women shouldn’t have had any roles in businesses, forbading any females to enter. Ironically, Mario’s son had no interest in running the business after his retirement so it was his daughter, Luisa Prada who took control of the business and successfully ran it for twenty years.
It was then in 1970 when Miuccia Prada joined her mother and eventually took over in 1978. It was around this time when the house’s profit sales were up, and as Miuccia made her business partner Patrizio Bertelli, it is claimed that she dropped ‘Fratelli’ from the name, leaving Prada as a new era of success.
Prada went from designing and selling only leather goods to designing and showcasing ready to wear for women in 1989 – her most notably style is the dropped waistline and narrow belts. By 1992, Miuccia had become successful enough in her own rights to create a sub-line called Miu Miu and menswear. Miuccia is known for her risks and fearlessness in creating new styles that are considered both experimental but effective for the modern woman, she is one of the world’s most influential women.

TIME magazine had interviewed an undisclosed fashion director back in 2004 that said, “If you want to know what a season is all about, you don’t miss Prada. She never follows, she is her own energy.”  

Martin Maison Margiela RTW Spring 2008 VS Maison Margiela Couture Spring 2015
Belgian designer Martin Margiela founded Maison Martin Margiela in 1988 and is known for their very clean, avant-garde and deconstructed clothing and philosophy as a means of being collective. The house is mostly known for its use of white, with its atelier’s interior, furniture and employee uniform all being white, as a representation of equality within the house.
Margiela as head has always been a mystery to the industry, having constantly avoided media spotlight, refusing interviews and only making brief comments via fax – in which was included not ‘I’, but ‘we’, as a collective of the entire house. It was said that in 2009, Margiela himself had retired when the house was bought by OTB Group back in 2002 – Margiela was apparently not too pleased with the way the the OTB Group wanted to advertise the name, which would have gone against the house’s philosophy.

When John Galliano was called upon to be the new creative director of the house, there were mixed feelings of Galliano as an extravagant being in the industry in such a demure and very mysterious house. He changed the name of the house and dropped Martin, becoming Maison Margiela respectively. The house that stated that the name change reflected the evolution of the house without losing its roots released a statement.

In the style of shrouded mystery, there was no prior announcement of the change, surprisingly attendees when they saw the change on their invitations to the debut show with Galliano as lead.