Ever wondered what were the stories behind the most iconic designs in the world? For years, people have been wearing classic items without really knowing how they came to be, and what exactly their picks mean historically. Some brands, you may have noticed, have developed a clear identity for their most iconic products, in which the source of inspiration can be deciphered easily. Take, for instance, Versace, a fashion house which looks to Medusa for its unmissable logo. Medusa, first found in Greek mythology, made people fall in love with her with no way back. Similarly, Gianni Versace hoped that his creations would have the same effect on the people who wore his clothes.
What’s interesting to note is that the fashion world includes several labels which carry hidden identities and narratives that aren’t known to the public. Coco Chanel’s ‘Premiere’ watch is a great example, as are Celine’s famous ‘Triomphe’ handbags, Fendi’s ‘FF’ logo, and Cartier’s’ ‘Pathere Vendome Armbanduhr’ watch. Lets take a closer, detailed look at what makes these items so special.
Art critic Jean-Louis Froment, once stated, “Gabrielle Chanel was a paradox—she extracted beautiful elements from what seemed like a depressed and unhappy stage of her life. Her identity is a mixture of happiness and sadness. I think the paradox in her life gave birth to the contrast of black and white color in her design.” Coco Chanel’s paradoxical nature certainly seems to have come into play when she created the ‘Premiere’ watch. The unconventional design was inspired by Place Vendome, the iconic square in the heart of Paris, where her apartment and atelier were located. This spot was the first and last thing she saw every day for as long as she lived.
While Chanel was inspired by a recurring sight, Céline Vipiana was placed in a slightly different situation. While having her car break down in Paris—right in front of Arc De Triomphe—definitely wasn’t on her schedule, fate did strike the designer at the right time. According to reports, Vipiana was so inspired by the chains surrounding the iconic monument, the double links, which represent two Cs, soon became part of Celine’s house emblem. It’s safe to say that accidents happen for a reason, and sometimes the reason might just be revolutionary.
The final hidden secret is Cartier. Louis-Francois Cartiers’ inspiration came from an unorthodox point of view. Serving in the military as a tank driver affected his entire design aesthetic.
The famous Cartier ‘Tank’ watch may not have come into existence if Louis-Francois Cartiers hadn’t served in the military as a tank driver. This iconic watch was inspired by the outer structure of the tank, while the strap of the watch mimics the track and links that can be found under the vehicle.
What’s more, Cartier’s second most-loved timepiece, the ‘Pathere Vendome Armbanduhr’, took its inspiration from the two-man FT-17 tanks employed on the Western Front. “The design is said to mirror a bird’s eye view of the Tank’s small cockpit,” a source reveals.
Ever wondered why Fendi’s logo features two Fs? In 1965, Karl Lagerfeld was appointed as the new creative director for the fashion house, and was asked to add a ‘modern touch’ to the brand’s logo. Keeping that in mind, Lagerfeld was able to sketch the ‘FF’ logo in exactly 3 seconds, which stood for ‘Fourrure Folle’, or in other words, ‘fun furs’. While today, the fashion industry no longer supports the usage of fur, at that time, it was a medium that was very much in demand, and Lagerfeld helped push the brand to become one of the top manufacturers.