In the same year that YSL unveiled his Forties collection, the Rolling Stones introduced their iconic logo—a tongue hanging out of an open mouth—designed by Jon Pasche. At the time, Pasche was only paid £50, but the piece has been heavily repeated on album covers, posters, and merchandise. If you’re wondering what connection this has to fashion, look no further than one of the most important pieces of brand merch: the t-shirt. Rolling Stones logo tees have had a continued popularity through the decades, and often make appearances in street-style pictures. The image of a tongue wagging out of an open mouth is provocative. There is a sexual implication to it, even without knowledge of the band’s notoriety. To this day, the shirt can be found everywhere from vintage shops (if you seek authenticity) to Urban Outfitters (if you don’t).
Also introduced in the 1970s was Diane von Furstenberg’s iconic lip print, based on her own lips, as designed by Andy Warhol. In 1977, Warhol created an image of von Furstenberg for his magazine, Interview. In the rendering, the designer’s mouth gives a sly smirk. DVF isolated the lips from that image (retaining the silk-screen effect), repeated them, and a print was born. It has since become a major part the brand’s identity, and is used for everything from iPhone cases to dresses, sometimes in different colors, and sometimes in abstract patterns that fall over items like leaves. They carry quite a bit of personality, even without being tied to a specific persona. DVF’s mouth is mysterious—it’s not the same full-on shape that most people use when designing a mouth. It’s not quite a smile, but it’s certainly provocative. Although the print reduces DVF’s mouth to a shape, it retains its humanity, a group of little secrets peppered onto her products.
More recently, accessories designer Yaz Bukey has adopted the mouth as her logo which carry a much more explicit shape. Titled “C’est Ahh,” the lips, which are bright red and hang open, are meant to mimic the way the mouth looks during an orgasm. “C’est Ahh” was the first major piece Bukey designed, and in recent years, Bukey has morphed into hats, sunglasses, furniture, and more.
Although lips as a pattern or detail have never seemed to be a trend, per se, it seems as though the intrigue of the shape, the subversive, sensual message they can send, the possibilities of what a mouth can do, and the general quirkiness (when you think about it, disembodied anything is kind of weird, no matter how cute the image is), continue to inspire designers and artists alike. They may bare teeth, a tongue, or a sly smile, but one thing is clear: Lips will always be in fashion.