Champagne which first emerged as the drink to celebrate the coronation of the Kings of France since the 1700’s, has travelled globally as the nectar that puts the fizz into any special occasion. And now Moët & Chandon celebrates a new milestone in its partnership with Ambush.
The choice is perhaps ‘à propos’, given the label’s experience with Dior Homme Jewellery – an inspired choice to put new sparkle into the revamped bottle design. Yoon Ahn co-founder of Ambush, walks us through her inspiration behind the bottle design and her visit to Épernay, the manicured town in France which champagne built, which is home to Moët & Chandon.
The bottle of Moët Impérial has not been redesigned in 152 years. What was the most challenging fact about re-touching the design of an icon?
I was thrilled to be given carte blanche to re-design the bottle of Moët Impérial, which had not been redesigned by an artist since it was first released in 1869. It was a great challenge given its recognizable and iconic codes, but I also saw it as a great opportunity to bring my aesthetics to this iconic champagne.
What was your inspiration for the redesign of the Moët Impérial bottle?
I brought the essence of Ambush to my design for the Moët Impérial bottle. That is my driving force. I wanted to conserve some of the truly iconic codes of the bottle, like the tie, but I played with elements like colour and label to make an impact. This Moët & Chandon bottle has always been identifiable by its golden neck, so changing that colour to black was quite drastic. I then contrasted it with a new all-white embossed label, to produce an eye-catching design that suggests a blank slate, like a window onto a future filled with possibilities for those who dare step forward. It was a strong and impactful move because it allowed me to achieve the clean modernity of stark contrasts, which is at the heart of my designs for Ambush. It makes for a striking design that is sharp, uncluttered…and very contemporary.
Tell us what your sources of inspiration were in the redesign of Nectar Impérial Rosé bottle?
Just like for Moët Impérial, I looked primarily at the Ambush aesthetics which are really reflective of my own philosophy of design. Both bottles have the same feel, except that the transparency of the bottle of Nectar Impérial Rosé brings an added richness through the pink colour of the champagne.
You visited Epernay, home to Moët & Chandon, for the first time last year. What are some images that remain engraved in your mind?
My first visit to Epernay in the Champagne region opened my eyes. Living in Tokyo, I always try to get away. In nature, I can recharge and refocus. In the vineyards of Moët & Chandon, I felt a close connection with the lush green nature of a true agricultural heartland and was impressed with the care that goes into preserving the land and its age-old traditions. The House is very much engaged in ensuring the wellbeing of its people, and it has a long history of doing so, which makes sense because so much of the daily work is still being done by hand, in the vineyards as much as in the cellars. You see that the hand of mankind plays an essential role in making champagne. For me, the visit to Moët & Chandon in Epernay was about discovering a place where natural beauty meets human know-how, guided by almost 300 years of heritage.
What are some of the values you discovered you shared with Moët & Chandon in the course of this collaboration?
At Moët & Chandon, I could see first-hand how important it is for the House to value its teams and to care for its people. That care inspires positive outcomes and is ultimately reflected in what the House offers its clients. That translates into the care and attention that the people at the House bring to the smallest detail of their role in making champagne. Also, I could see the importance of investing time and resources in developing local production. Everything is done by the House on its own land and in its own facilities in Epernay. Those are crucial points for a modern, responsible business that knows exactly how everything is done in its name. And on a much smaller scale, we try to do the same at AMBUSH, by ensuring that our teams feel valued and appreciated, by ensuring the means of production to make a top-quality product, and by using local know-how.
How did you meet the challenge of bringing your innovative touch to a heritage House like Moët & Chandon? Did you see this collaboration as a way of “breaking the rules”?
I am a rule-breaker by nature. But I am always true to myself, whether it is at Ambush or in collaboration with another brand. I always strive to be genuine. When Moët & Chandon offered me this incredible global platform, I knew that it was my responsibility to express my philosophy genuinely. It is also a “rule-breaking” move for such a prestigious French Maison to associate its name with a modern creative. It was daring and pioneering, and I respect that because it is also a genuine move for the House.
You observed the unique champagne making know-how of Moët & Chandon in Epernay. What did you learn about the art and craft of making champagne?
It was impressive for me to see that Moët & Chandon has preserved for 278 years (or almost 3 centuries) a unique tradition of champagne-making and continues to pass on that know-how for the future. How those traditions have managed to survive for centuries to build a rare heritage is truly exceptional. I observed the great respect for nature and for time, in the way winegrowers work the land and care patiently for the vines while the grapes mature, and in the way that winemakers take their time to produce the champagne. In Japan, there is a real admiration for those who practice and preserve ancient traditions of art and craft, and I was happy to discover the same at Moët & Chandon.