The Strength of Forgotten Brands

It might come as a surprise, but heritage sells. In this increasingly connected and newness-obsessed world, traditional heritage brands are being resurrected from the past, and old icons are generating some serious revenue.  

In the case of treasured early-20th century brands like Schiaparelli, Vionnet, Lanvin, and most recently Patou – all it took was updating the creative narrative by weaving stories of the past into the present with a fresh point of view, and celebrating the brand’s iconic founders in the process. 

So even if today’s social media generation is tapping into young, and so-called “disruptive” luxury brands – brands such as Off-White and the infamous VETEMENTS – heritage brands are undoubtedly still successfully tugging at our purse strings. All the more reason to believe that dormant brands – such as Patou, which debuted its first collection under Guillaume Henry this season in Paris, after a 30-year-long hiatus – could be the industry’s next big cash cows. 

Speaking of which, oddly enough, Guillaume Henry seems to be considered the luxury’s industry “revival expert.” After previously relaunching Carven’s ready-to-wear line in 2009 and making it a commercial success, he was tapped by Nina Ricci in 2015, before taking the reins at Patou this year. Courrèges had a similar fate: first being relaunched in 2014 by Coperni’s Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, it’s now continuing its course with Yolanda Zobel at its creative helm. As for Haute Couture brand Schiaparelli, its current creative director Daniel Roseberry, just introduced his first ready-to-wear collection for the brand – which is Schiaparelli’s second ready-to-wear collection ever to be designed. 

Vanguard brands, such as Dior, have weathered economic crises and wars and are thriving today. Part of their secret sauce involves bringing their oldies but goodies back into the spotlight. The Saddle bag’s success story, in fact, is the very proof that heritage can generate some serious income. The it-bag was first released under John Galliano in 1999 but managed to enjoy a second wave of success almost 20 years later when it broke the Internet in July 2018 via 100 influencers who simultaneously posted photos of themselves with the re-released model on social media. It was a success that has contributed considerably to make the fashion and leather goods sector of LVMH its fastest growing unit in 2018, with an organic revenue growth of 15% and profit from recurring operations up 21%. 

But the phenomenon of heritage brands “living happily ever after” is not just a Parisian reality: Gucci experienced a similar success story recently, with the Cruise 2020 re-edition its 1955 Horsebit bag. It was the fastest sell-out in the brand’s history. According to the 2019 Global Power of Luxury Goods Report by Deloitte, Valentino is the fastest-growing luxury brand, as reports show that its sales surged by $1 billion between 2013 and the end of 2018. Giada was basically a local Milanese name until it was acquired in 2011 by China’s Redstone Haute Couture (the same group that brought Valentino, Ferragamo, and Saint Laurent to China). The brand now boasts key selling points worldwide, with a major presence in China and its first store in the US. “Chinese consumers are looking for a European name they can trust,” a company representative said. Giada’s trajectory proves international investors are looking more and more into exploring the commercial potential of what we call heritage.  

So why exactly is the luxury industry so obsessed with reviving the past – and why do we buy into it? According to Delphine Dion, a professor at the Paris-based ESSEC Business School and who specializes in luxury branding and customer experience, it’s psychological: “Heritage brands enable a strong sense of collective nostalgia, which ultimately culminates in building customer craving and customer trust,” Dion explained. Her studies highlight two types of dormant brands: those that have kept a strong reputation on the market as they are part of our collective memory, and those that almost no one remembers. And, against all expectations, it’s the obscure, lesser known, and perhaps the more dormant ones that may prove to be more profitable when relaunched. A lot of it depends on the storytelling that goes along with it. 

According to Dion, “brand awareness can be a hindrance to relaunching a dormant brand.” The ability to re-build a dormant brand’s reputation not on its actual legacy, but on the rather emotional, vague nostalgia that its name evokes, is what makes it possible to successfully integrate such a brand into today’s collective memory – and what ensures its commercial success. 

In other words, the less we know, the better: Dion’s studies show that the potential success of a resurrected brand is determined by the absence of a ubiquity. “Marketing managers can basically define a new brand strategy that’s in-tune with the expectations of our generation, and also select the most relevant characteristics from the brand’s heritage,” Dion added. “They can avoid the risk of being confronted with customer criticism that may emerge if the dormant brand has kept its strong reputation and potential customers thus do not recognize the brand of the past.” Now it’s up to the newly-launched Patou to prove if this marketing strategy really works on the long haul. 

SHARE
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
SIMILAR ARTICLES
Porsche is More Valuable Than Fashion
By Aarushi Saxena
Luxury car maker Porsche accelerated to the top rank in the Brand Finance Luxury &...
By Aarushi Saxena
Luxury car maker Porsche accelerated to the top rank in the Brand Finance Luxury & Premium 50 list, becoming the world's most valuable brand, while Louis Vuitton was knocked off the second spot by Cartier. Cementing itself as front-runner in the luxury sector, Porsche has increased its brand...
Luxury car maker Porsche accelerated to the top rank in the Brand Finance Luxury & Premium 50 list, becoming the world's most valuable brand, while Louis Vuitton was knocked off the second spot by Cartier. Cementing itself as front-runner in the luxury sector, Porsche has increased its brand value by 54 percent to US$29.3 billion, according to the latest report by Brand Finance, an...
e-P Summit Charts Fashion’s Future
By Jessica Bumpus & Sofia Celeste
The 7th edition of the e-P Summit kicked off in Milan Wednesday under the aegis of the theme...
By Jessica Bumpus & Sofia Celeste
By Jessica Bumpus & Sofia Celeste
The 7th edition of the e-P Summit kicked off in Milan Wednesday under the aegis of the theme “Next Level Now,” tackling key subjects like omnichannel retail and marketing, direct-to-consumer retailing, and 3D digital fashion design. Organized by Pitti Immagine, the one-day power networking event...
The 7th edition of the e-P Summit kicked off in Milan Wednesday under the aegis of the theme “Next Level Now,” tackling key subjects like omnichannel retail and marketing, direct-to-consumer retailing, and 3D digital fashion design. Organized by Pitti Immagine, the one-day power networking event brought together international leaders and key players who are developing the strategies currently...
Seoul FW’s Eco Revamp
By Jessica Bumpus
Seoul is a city known for its tech, pop, and beauty, but also for its air pollution. Earlier this...
By Jessica Bumpus
By Jessica Bumpus
Seoul is a city known for its tech, pop, and beauty, but also for its air pollution. Earlier this year, emergency laws were brought in to tackle record levels of fine dust that blanketed the sky. And while the city’s inhabitants manage to style out face masks with much aplomb, it shouldn’t come...
Seoul is a city known for its tech, pop, and beauty, but also for its air pollution. Earlier this year, emergency laws were brought in to tackle record levels of fine dust that blanketed the sky. And while the city’s inhabitants manage to style out face masks with much aplomb, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to find out that, just as elsewhere across the globe, its young and emerging...
FIAC: Art or Fashionable Stuff?
By Rebecca Voight
The FIAC (Foire International d’Art Contemporain), Paris’ contemporary arts fair which closed...
By Rebecca Voight
The FIAC (Foire International d’Art Contemporain), Paris’ contemporary arts fair which closed this weekend, is one of those annual cultural happenings that everyone wants a piece of. The city began to look like an arty amusement park days before the fair opened when Jeff Koons’ monumental hand...
The FIAC (Foire International d’Art Contemporain), Paris’ contemporary arts fair which closed this weekend, is one of those annual cultural happenings that everyone wants a piece of. The city began to look like an arty amusement park days before the fair opened when Jeff Koons’ monumental hand holding a bouquet of cartoon tulips (a “gift” to the city from the artist after the Bataclan terrorist...
Beauty’s AR Quest
By NOWFASHION
The cosmetics industry is currently scrambling to appeal to millennial and Gen-Z consumers. In...
By NOWFASHION
By NOWFASHION
The cosmetics industry is currently scrambling to appeal to millennial and Gen-Z consumers. In their quest to appeal to the younger generation, brands are increasingly investing in new virtual and augmented reality features adapted to mobile devices. After launching a limited version at the...
The cosmetics industry is currently scrambling to appeal to millennial and Gen-Z consumers. In their quest to appeal to the younger generation, brands are increasingly investing in new virtual and augmented reality features adapted to mobile devices. After launching a limited version at the beginning of the year, YouTube expended its AR Beauty features by letting potential customers try on...
How to Lose Followers
By Aarushi Saxena
Disingenuous endorsements is the number one reason why individuals unfollow influencers,...
By Aarushi Saxena
By Aarushi Saxena
Disingenuous endorsements is the number one reason why individuals unfollow influencers, according to Instagram creative firm Takumi and a study released last week by Marketing Charts, a hub for data, graphics, and research analysis. Based on a survey of 2,251 representatives in the UK, the US,...
Disingenuous endorsements is the number one reason why individuals unfollow influencers, according to Instagram creative firm Takumi and a study released last week by Marketing Charts, a hub for data, graphics, and research analysis. Based on a survey of 2,251 representatives in the UK, the US, and Germany, a significant crowd of 16- to 24-year-old consumers credit influencers for their “trendy...
The Kimono Reinvented
By Elisabeta Tudor
The kimono has always been an object of fascination. Even in Japan, where it is considered an...
By Elisabeta Tudor
By Elisabeta Tudor
The kimono has always been an object of fascination. Even in Japan, where it is considered an intangible cultural treasure, designers can’t help but put their hands on it to reinvent it and challenge traditional perception.Yoshiki Hayashi, an influential composer and musician-turned-designer, did...
The kimono has always been an object of fascination. Even in Japan, where it is considered an intangible cultural treasure, designers can’t help but put their hands on it to reinvent it and challenge traditional perception.Yoshiki Hayashi, an influential composer and musician-turned-designer, did just that during the latest week of runway shows in Tokyo. As of today, the best-selling artist –...
The Forgotten Side of Fashion
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
In our current times that are defined by social media and selfies, it is not uncommon for fashion...
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
By Frédéric Martin-Bernard
In our current times that are defined by social media and selfies, it is not uncommon for fashion designers to solely focus on the front sides of the garments they design. Is this a reflection of our current digitally-obsessed era, or does this tendency reveal a decline of true craftsmanship?The...
In our current times that are defined by social media and selfies, it is not uncommon for fashion designers to solely focus on the front sides of the garments they design. Is this a reflection of our current digitally-obsessed era, or does this tendency reveal a decline of true craftsmanship?The contrast was striking. On September 25th, Anrealage’s Creative Director Kunihiko Morinaga chose to...