Dior Artistic Director Kim Jones has designed a bottle, a carafe and a pair of monochrome trainers for beverage brand Hennessy.
Dubbed the Hennessy XO x Kim Jones collection, the trio aims to marry “cognac and couture” and is the first in the Hennessy XO Masterpiece series to be designed by a fashion designer.
Jones is the latest high-profile designer to recreate a bottle for Hennessy, following industrial designer Marc Newson and architects Frank Gehry and Daniel Libeskind.
However, the HNY Low Sneakers are the first sneakers ever designed for the beverage brand.
“I wanted it to be elevated and chic, to reflect both the cognac’s long heritage and my own design values,” Jones said.
“I wanted it to feel like you’re almost looking into the bottle,” he continued. “This is a sneaker-shaped glass of cognac.”
Taking cues from early basketball shoes, the sneakers have a simple design with a ridged rubber sole that has cognac vines printed on its base and a nubuck leather upper.
Jones wanted to create a monochromatic look, with a brown sole and laces and a cognac colored upper creating a sneaker that references both the cognac itself and the bottle.
“We took the details from the bottle, like the ribbon around the bottle that got very shiny and that became the laces, the little that you can see, the lugs and also the things that reflect in the bottle” , Jones said to Dezeen.
“It was really just looking at the idea of the color of the cognac, and in doing that I wanted one that would reflect what the consumer would be like, which isn’t that dissimilar to someone that Dior or Fendi have, they have the lifestyle where they’re casual but elegant,” he continued. “And that’s what I was really looking at.”
The sneakers were made at a shoe factory in Italy owned by Hennessy and Dior’s parent company, LVMH. They are packaged in an oak case reminiscent of the casks in which Hennessy rests, also designed by Jones.
He hopes the sneaker will be worn by the same customer who drinks Hennessy XO
“I like the fact that you can wear it with tailoring or denim, or you can wear it casual or dressy, and so it’s all one color,” Jones said.
“But actually the focus is on the actual color of the cognac itself,” he continued. “So it’s very simple. I find when you do things with shoes that are easier, people respond to it. It’s much wider and it’s stronger because it’s very clear.”
In addition to the sneakers, Jones created a shoe and a carafe, both inspired by the original tissue paper packaging that Hennessy XO was packaged in and the technique of draping used to create dresses.
“Seeing the way the old Hennessy bottles were packaged spoke volumes to me about the value of each one and how they were treated,” Jones said.
“I thought about looking at the shape of the bottle,” he continued. “It’s almost like a ball gown in a way. But without making it look historic, you want it to look modern, so take the metallic aspect and the idea of the curtains going up, not down.”
The carafe was cast from titanium, which completely encases the inner bottle “like an architectural second skin”. To extract the liquid, Jones also designed a fusil.
A second aluminum skin was created for the ready-to-wear bottle. For both pieces, Kim approached the design as if he were designing a garment.
“We treated it like a mini sample like you would a garment,” he explained. “And it’s kind of the central aspect of that that’s also really interesting.”
“With clothes, you can adjust it very quickly, with a piece of metal that’s shaped and made, it takes time and your initial idea won’t necessarily be what you want it to be at first because of technicalities,” he continued.
“So it comes back in different stages and different processes. And it’s interesting to see how that’s changing and evolving.”
Previous bottles designed for Hennessy include a limited edition crinkled gold by Gehry to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Hennessy XO and an angular bottle designed by Libeskind for Richard Hennessy’s cognac.
Photography by Brett Lloyd and Hennessy.