For an industry that prides itself on its one-day-you’re-in-next-day-you’re-out ethos, fashion is nevertheless mindful of its own history, where even the flavors of the week must account for decades, if not centuries, of accumulated taste. But embracing this historical reverence without being labeled old-fashioned requires a delicate branding balancing act–something that Honor, a fashion line that debuted its first collection a year ago, is doing by updating a few time-honored design traditions.
To get the look she wanted, Giovanna Randall, an opera singer and pre-med student turned fashion designer, approached Ro and Co, a studio that’s created collateral for designers like Timo Weiland, Candela, and Katherine Fleming. The pitch? To make Honor look as if it were an old-world atelier with a rich history that had been revived. The appeal, creative director Roanne Adams tells Co.Design, was the chance to design something that looked like an established brand without looking old. “Thankfully the name Honor really lent itself to this idea,” she says.
They started by designing a family crest, illustrated by Barcelona-based artist Miguel Abio, that places Honor’s mascot–Randall’s three-legged cat, Oscalina–in the center and framed by more traditionally heraldic imagery like winged birds, floral decoration, and a ribboned banner bearing the line’s name. Around the perimeter is the tag line “Honor the past, honor the present.”
The seal is included on the line’s stationery, which was modeled on the kind of stationery Grace Kelly might have had. The designers made petite business cards that were smaller than usual, each encased in its own tiny envelope so they wouldn’t get dirty, and designed runway invitations that doubled as a box of gourmet macaroons. “Then, we decided to go all the way and not only gold-foil the information on the card but also gold-gild the edges as well as blind emboss the crest,” Adams says. Getting that crest to reproduce perfectly on all the different paper stocks, buttons, stickers, and sew-in labels ended up being the hardest part of all–but it’s the added value of these supposedly disposable objects that makes it feel like a souvenir from another place, a different time, a sturdier era.