Monograms: Something Old & Something New

Monograms, combining initials or symbols, have a long-standing appeal across cultures and eras. They’ve evolved from royal insignias to modern design elements, influencing fashion and branding. This post will explore the journey of monograms, from the historical elegance of Marie Antoinette’s monogram to the contemporary edge of Loewe’s Anagram. Discover how these symbols, once exclusive, have become universal markers of style and identity.

This is Marie Antoinette’s royal monogram, embroidered by Antoinette herself – on a cloth that now resides in the MET museum. 

Post Content Marie Antoinette Monogram
Image: Marie Antoinette’S Monogram

Marie Antoinette is a historically controversial figure, known for “letting them eat cake”. She is remembered for her lavish lifestyle and starving subjects. She perhaps was the Paris Hilton of her time. Living large, unaware of any harsh realities outside her palace walls.

Marie Antoinette’s famous monogram, featuring intertwined initials “M.A.” encircled by a wreath of roses and leaves, is a quintessential representation of her reign and the opulence of the French court during the 18th century. This monogram, often seen on furniture, jewellery, and documents from the era, encapsulates the elegance and grandeur associated with Marie Antoinette’s persona and the French monarchy’s golden age.

Her monogram is similarly lavish, feminine, balanced and pleasing to the eye. The curled tails on the A and the M flow downward like a fancy royal ballgown. It has a floral pattern embroidered on it, which adds to the overall feel of the monogram. It is elegant, sophisticated, delicate and beautiful. The letters being sewn in different colours addresses a legibility issue – so that we can tell the letters apart even as they intertwine.

The monogram’s intricate design, incorporating the fleur-de-lis—a symbol of the French monarchy—reflects the cultural and political significance of the time. It is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail and the importance of symbolism in the court’s aesthetics. The choice of roses, a symbol of beauty and love, alongside the fleur-de-lis, signifies the harmony between the queen and the nation, reinforcing her role as both a monarch and a figurehead of French national pride.

This monogram is so revered even today that you can even purchase jewellery and clothing with the monogram on them.

Image: Marie Antoinette Merchandise

In the modern era – we now see monograms used mostly by designers. We’ve all seen the famous initials of Louis Vuitton, or Gucci, for example. But more and more, we see monograms associated with brand identity, instead of personal necessity.  

This is Loewe’s anagram.

Post Content Loewe Anagram
Image: Loewe Anagram

Loewe’s Anagram, a quadruple-L insignia designed in 1970 by Spanish artist Vicente Vela, serves as a powerful symbol of the brand’s heritage and its evolution towards a more contemporary aesthetic. This emblem, often referred to as “el cangrejo” or “the crab,” reflects the brand’s deep-rooted craftsmanship and its connection to traditional Spanish leatherworking techniques. Cattle branding irons used to mark leather skins, a nod to the brand’s origins in the Spanish leather industry inspired the Anagram’s design. This historical link underscores Loewe’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship, values that have been central to the brand since its inception.

The recent redesign of the Anagram by graphic duo M/M (Paris) further emphasises Loewe’s modern approach while preserving the emblem’s historical significance. The redesigned Anagram keeps its original structure but adopts a more streamlined appearance, giving it a contemporary feel. This update aligns with Loewe’s broader strategy of blending its rich heritage with a forward-looking vision, as evidenced by the brand’s new identity and store designs led by Peter Marino and creative director Jonathan Anderson. The Anagram’s evolution from a traditional emblem to a modern icon represents Loewe’s ability to adapt and evolve while staying true to its core values and traditions.

After weeks of fiddling, here is the anagram I have put together for myself:

Post Content Monogram Tw
Image: Tw Monogram


Monograms: A Long History Across Cultures. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).
The History of the Fleur-de-Lis. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).
Loewe. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).
Fashion and Branding: A History. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).
The Palace of Versailles. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2024).