At the past two “Best of the Best” sales I noticed a handful of Gianni Versace vintage pieces and they all bore different tags. Because the Versace Atelier has been around since 1989 there is a noticeable progression in the design of Versace tags which can make it difficult to identify if a piece is genuine or a copy. After this weeks sale at the Venice store I had officially come across at least 4 different kinds of Versace labels so I decided to do some research. Thanks to this post by the Vintage Fashion Guild I became assured that though the labels were varied and confusing the clothes were indeed real.
This investigation got me to thinking about a review fashion critic Cathy Horyn had written for the New York Times in March. The review described the Fall 13′ collections from Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Miu Miu while drawing parallels to the recent brand changes made at Yves Saint Laurent (now just Saint Laurent):
One of the first things the new designer, Hedi Slimane, did was to remove “Yves” from the label, thereby severing a symbolic connection to the founder, and everything he stood for, like good taste and feminine power. But it was also a test of the label’s enduring appeal. . .But mainly it was clear to me how strong the name is. In terms of design, the clothes held considerably less value than a box of Saint Laurent labels. Without the label attached to them, Mr. Slimane’s grunge dresses wouldn’t attract interest — because they’re not special. But a box of labels is worth a million.
The sad truth is that for re-sale or for sale purposes design often comes secondary to a label. Sometimes I find myself looking at a piece of clothing and wondering if I would want it if it wasn’t by (for example) Rachel Comey. The power of labels whether symbolic or not is hard to ignore.