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Bikes, Basketballs, and Sex Toys: How Luxury Labels Put Their Names on Every Type of Merch in 2017 |

Bikes, Basketballs, and Sex Toys: How Luxury Labels Put Their Names on Every Type of Merch in 2017

Photo: Courtesy of Pasta Di Martino

It takes a lot to impress shoppers these days. No one really gives a damn about an It bag or an It shoe, unless, of course, it’s been categorized as “ugly” or Rihanna posted a selfie wearing one. This year, instead of obsessing over a single sell-out piece, consumers were much more focused on collectible, logo-covered high-low items. Balenciaga and Gucci are leading this phenomenon, as was pointed out in Vogue’s Fashion News Director Mark Holgate’s story about the best-selling clothes and accessories of the year, but there was a huge amount of fun and quirky merchandise from labels like Christian Dior, Valentino, Dolce Gabbana, Céline, and Saint Laurent, too.

Karl Lagerfeld was one of the original designers to play with the idea of luxury fashion objects at Chanel, stamping the double-C logo onto water bottles, surfboards, tennis rackets, and many other everyday objects. It’s not like there were millions of people clamoring to buy sports equipment with a four-digit price tag attached, but it certainly did a lot to market Chanel to a wider audience. These sorts of projects act as more of a promotional push than a profit-driving strategy, and the releases we’ve seen this year did plenty to promote aspirational ready-to-wear brands. Earlier this month there was the release of Dior Homme’s BMX bike, and just before that Dolce Gabbana released pastas (they also have a line of refrigerators with Smeg, so you can have an entire Italian-themed kitchen if that’s what your heart desires). There was a VLTN basketball and VLTN logo tees. And Saint Laurent teamed up with Colette to release an exclusive line of collectables that includes a logo skateboard, a Polaroid camera, a Vespa, and a leather sex paddle. The clothes and accessories of these historic fashion houses remain paramount for the time being, but at a moment when our attention spans are shorter than ever, there’s ingenuity in taking the label from an exquisite dress and putting it on a sex toy or a box of rigatoni.


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