Trend Watch: Classic Brands Get New Life

Classic brands -- from uptown icons like Hermes to old country stalwarts like Barbour -- have come back into the fashion's favor of late, bringing a hefty dose of tradition to today's trends.

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Hermès is set for a changing of the guards, with new creative director Christophe Lemaire taking over for Jean Paul Gaultier at the house in March 2011. Lemaire comes from Lacoste, another classic brand for which he led a celebrated revamp, sparking anticipation over what he'll do in his new post.
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In the movie, The Tourist Angelina Jolie's villainess character gallavants through Europe in a richly appointed wardrobe by Ferragamo.
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In turn, the brand reissued their classic pump as the limited-edition "Elise," after the main character's name in the film, and launched the Red Carpet Project for custom-order satin dress pumps in nearly every color.
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Besides turning out a killer spring 2010 collection, 154-year-old British brand Burberry went on to conquer the Internet, from the groundbreaking and beloved Art of the Trench website to hitting 3-million-strong in Facebook followers. And if the booming counterfeit business, strongly reliant on Burberry's signature tartan plaid, is any indication, demand is as high as ever.
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Under creative director Frida Giannini's reign, Gucci has focused on updating the classics, and in 2010, the brand really delved into its heritage. Firstly, Gucci launched a couture collection specifically for the red carpet, which debuted on the lovely Salma Hayek at Cannes.
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Second, the Gucci Artisans Project toured the world illuminating its hand-craftsmanship of iconic investment pieces, while Christie's hosted a Gucci "collectors" event in homage to its signature pieces.
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The UK specializes in exporting sporting gear and it girls, so when the two come together, as have Alexa Chung (and Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Lily Allen, Peaches Geldof and, oh, occasionally, the Queen) and Barbour, there's bound to be a spike in interest. Pap shots of said ladies looking painfully cool at various music festivals has created a stuffy-bohemian aesthetic to embrace the world over.
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Opening Ceremony
Pendleton was another brand that capitalized on its adoption by it girls, and, first and foremost, the mother of all It-ness, Opening Ceremony. Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony has now endured for five seasons itself, re-imagining the Americana of the western-style blankets into fresh, new apparel and accessories.
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J. Crew
Stripes have dominated the seasons of late, and collaborations among popular retailers like J. Crew and the old-school Picasso favorite, Saint James, have brought the classic sensibility to the forefront of fashion.
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After a few stumbles involving a certain notorious starlet (ahem, Lindsay Lohan"), Ungaro showed it's serious about a renaissance by hiring daring British designer Giles Deacon as creative director.
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Theory, purveyor of supremely simple work-wear for a once-ignored sector of the market (a bit north of the middle), will inject for the first time a slightly higher fashion profile under new artistic director Olivier Theyskens. The spring 2011 collection plays on the brand's understated sensibility, with a subtle shock of sophisticated tailoring to take it to the next level.
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