Designer Monograms Are Back—But Are They Finally Cool? – Vogue.com



In case you haven’t heard, the monogrammed bag is back from the dead—the Y2K staple has once again become a celebrity favorite. Back in March, Rihanna sported a Dior Saddle bag from the Spring 2017 collection. This summer, Kendall Jenner kept a Louis Vuitton fanny pack in rotation and even broke out a dainty lady bag with the same print. There’s also Kim Kardashian West, who, in addition to her love for vintage Dior bikinis, recently carried a Louis Vuitton Speedy (so has Beyoncé).

I, too, have become obsessed with the monogram. A few weeks ago, I arrived at the office with an early-aughts LV bag, complete with an era-appropriate flip phone–sized pocket. The punchy piece popped against my head-to-toe black and drew many oohs. Two of my Vogue colleagues have also dug into the depths of their closets. Fashion News and Emerging Platforms Editor Steff Yotka has been wearing a tiny Coach pouch dotted with retro Cs, while Fashion News Editor Monica Kim has been clutching a classic Louis Vuitton top handle. Yet all three of us admit that we would not have dared to wear them just 10 years ago.

Our former distaste comes with good reason. Monogrammed accessories, especially bags, are inextricably linked to the excessive and flashy noughties, a throwback trend that has dominated recent seasons. Back then, logos were everywhere. That elegant Louis Vuitton monogram, based on timeless luggage from 1896, was memorably rendered in loud Haruki Murakami colors and can’t-miss metallics, then worn by hard-partying girls like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Richie. Eventually, they became ubiquitous on the street and on television. Remember: A must-have piece is no longer a must-have when everyone has it—and those once-precious bags were seen as alcohol-splattered disposables. Put simply, the rise of celebrity tabloid culture coincided with the decline of monograms.

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Fast forward to 2017, and the logo is back—but this time it has been adopted in a more ironic way. After many seasons without monograms, Gucci went the maximalist route under designer Alessandro Michele’s helm and introduced a long GG-covered coat and matching tote bag for Spring 2016 Menswear. Most recently, Michele put the Gucci print on fur-trimmed coats, trousers, and midi skirts for Resort 2018. At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière made a printed biker jacket for Spring 2016, and since then the house emblem has appeared again and again. (See the infamous Supreme collaboration.) Editors like Kim seem to agree that the time is right for the logo’s reemergence. “I kept all my monogrammed items in the back of my closet for, what, 10 years? But something about them just feels right again. Maybe it’s nostalgia or the whole ‘bad taste as good taste’ movement,” says Kim. “I think, for a while, it felt cooler to be understated. Then it swung back the other way, and we’re back to ostentation. It does feel a little different, though, perhaps more of a mix.”

Monograms at Gucci Resort 2018

So, is it time to do a closet dive and break out some of those boisterous throwback pieces? Sure, but be wary of overload. Kim puts it well: “Where before you might have worn it loudly from head to toe, now you would be more subtle,” she says. “A tiny LV print on a pair of kitten heels, or if you carried a monogrammed bag, the rest of your outfit would be a bit minimal to counterbalance that.” Yotka agrees: “An ironic monogram bag against a more contemporary outfit looks fresh, to me at least,” she says. “I’ve held on to a Coach bag I bought when I was 13 and love to whip it out for fashion events and parties.” Now feel free to break out that kitschy Dior baguette—just make sure to not spill a vodka soda on it.



A monogrammed bag from Louis Vuiton Fall 2017.

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