I love when I’m able to discover articles with separate content and focus, but a general theme in common. In this case, it’s clearly because of fashion week in New York (translation: traffic gridlock) that I have found two articles on topics close to my heart: Design and branding. Both articles touch on the power of a unique characteristic or novel, brand-defining feature in product design.
This week, The New York Times reported that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Christian Louboutin had a valid and enforceable trademark for the use of red outsoles, but only when the rest of the shoe was painted in a contrasting color.
In particular, it was a branding battle between Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent for the ability to design and produce high heel shoes with a red outsole. The ability for Yves Saint Laurent to sell a shoe that is monochromatic red — also with a red outsole — was pitted against Louboutin’s signature red outsoles. Understandably, the court ruled that it was the contrast of color between outsole and shoe that defined the brand.
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The Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition features a great book review, “Handbags: The Making of a Museum” (Yale University Press, $50), by Judith Clark. The book includes pictures and descriptions of handbags over 5 centuries that Ms. Clark has curated as project director of the new Simone Handbag Museum in Seoul.
The book features purse of all shapes and sizes, including a chic leather bag from World War II for holding a gas mask, and a 1968 Pierre Cardin handbag with a giant chrome space-age handle, plus bags that evoke phones, magazines, fudge, dogs and butterflies. A few of the images have been reproduced here, along with a link for the article and museum.
The article is a wonderful tribute to the power of design not only in handbags, but of novel ideas working to create a unique brand identity for a fashion or accessories company. How often have a unique design feature in products helped to define and build the brand image, as shown above with the red soles of Christian Louboutin? It’s a testament to the power of design.
1) A 1970’s handbag by a Dallas-based designer featured a bag with a working phone; cord to plug in is shown to the right of purse
2) Opulence and elegance from France: Made of glass enamel, leather and silver this beautiful purse was designed between 1900-1925 and featured metal work made to resemble lace floral patterns
3) A vanity dance purse from the 1920’s is perfect for that era; the bag had miniature hidden compartments (the tassels hid lipstick canisters and a tube, possibly for a cigarette and matches)
4) Made of leather, cotton and metal and meant to carry coins, this 1890 purse predates the shoe hat of 1937, designed by Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí
This entry was posted on Saturday, September 8th, 2012 at 10:56 am and is filed under Advertising, Brand Identity, Business, Customer Experience, Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.