What’s in a logo? Ask Karl Lagerfeld, who stamped the notorious interlocking C’s on bikinis for Chanel’s supermodel-studded spring 1994 show, or Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air, whose simple, square HBA logo has become an instant streetwear classic. Logos mark us as members of a tribe, they convey status, and, in some cases — notably, Marc Jacobs’s tongue-in-cheek logo “Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs in Collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Marc of Marc Jacobs” — they convey a knowing high-low approach. The Nike swoosh says, “I’m athletic” (or at least athleisure-inclined), while the pink Polo pony denotes membership in the preppy sisterhood.
Logos transcend language — they can be understood around the world. Depending on the context, wearing them can mark you as a sophisticate or as a label whore. And they’re constantly being reinvented — think of the spray-painted Stephen Sprouse graffiti that covered Louis Vuitton’s monogram check in 2001, or the innumerable takes on designer logos on mass-market sweatshirts (Homiès, Célfie, Ballin’ciaga, et al). Click through the slideshow to see some of the best unapologetically flashy moments from fashion history, including Kanye’s Fendi fade and Charlotte York’s oversize Pink Pony.