Adolphe Mouron Cassandre's YSL Logo

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YSL logo, 1961
YSL logo, 1961By Adolphe Mouron Cassandre

Ahead of the relaunch of Yves Saint Laurent's ready-to-wear line under the direction of Hedi Slimane, AnOther considers the iconic 1961 logo designed by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre...

Who? Ukrainian-French painter, commercial poster artist, and typeface designer, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre designed the iconic "YSL" logo in December 1961, whilst Yves was at the helm. Born in 1901, Cassandre was heavily influenced by cubism and surrealism and designed a number of bold typefaces including the Bifur in 1929, the sans serif, Acier Noir in 1935, and an all purpose font called Peigot in 1937 as well as striking posters and covers for Harper's Bazaar. He fought in the French army against the Germans in World War II and worked as a painter and costume and set designer for theatre until his suicide in Paris in 1968.

What? Cassandra's logo, which makes use of Yves' three intials in a vertical arrangement, has been central to the French design house for over four decades, usually executed in striking black or gold. The logo is particularly symbolic of Stefano Pilati's reign at the house, appearing as a focus point in countless advertsing campaigns (Kate Moss peering through a window and Claudia Schiffer leant against a YSL sign in the Hollywood Hills) and in his clothing and accessory designs.

"Cassandra's logo, which makes use of Yves' three intials in a vertical arrangement, has been central to the French design house for over four decades"

Why? Following the appointment of Hedi Slimane in March, it was announced that his tenure would be marked with a name and logo change for ready-to-wear: Saint Laurent Paris (referred to as "Saint Laurent") which will be used alongside the Cassandre logo. In 1966, the house, then producing solely haute couture debuted ready-to-wear under the name "Saint Laurent Rive Gauche" with a logo featuring orange and pink squares, designed by Yves in collaboration with perfume designer Pierre Dinand; Slimane plans to leverage some of the fonts and nomenclature of that era.

The move is symptomatic of the appointment of a new designer. When Slimane joined Dior in 2001, he renamed Dior's menswear line "Dior Homme". After her apointment in 2008, Phoebe Philo oversaw subtle changes to the Céline logo. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone so precise and detailed as Phoebe,” said Peter Miles, the New York-based graphic designer who developed Céline’s new brand identity. “She sees things microscopically. ‘Can you just make the logo two millimeters shorter?’ ‘Can you move it down there by three millimeters?’ I had to change things by the smallest margins on boxes, bags, ads, business cards, everything, but always for good reason.”

The Saint Laurent Paris name and logo (a simple capitalised, Helvetica design) will go into effect to coincide with Slimane's debut collection debut in stores in spring 2013.

Text by Laura Bradley