Designed to bridge the gap between street and luxury, Dior artistic director Kim Jones has developed a bottle, decanter and pair of monochrome trainers for Hennessy XO. Accentuating the legendary blend’s impact on culture, the collaboration interweaves the richness of Hennessy X.O’s 150-year heritage with Kim Jones’ creative vision.
Featuring a trio of pieces (the Hennessy X.O Masterpiece designed by Kim Jones, the Hennessy X.O Limited Edition bottle by Kim Jones, and in a first for the brand, the HNY Low by Kim Jones) the Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones collection aims to blend “cognac and couture” and are the first in the Hennessy X.O Masterpiece series to be created by a fashion designer.
“We are thrilled to embark on a new odyssey blending cognac-making and couture with Kim Jones, a creative master of our time,” said Laurent Boillot, Hennessy CEO. “Inspired by the emblematic personality of Hennessy X.O, Kim has developed a resolutely contemporary collection that is destined to impact culture today and in the future.”
For Hennessy X.O, Kim Jones pays tribute to cognac-making and couture. These two processes touch on understanding science and the natural world, artisanal craftsmanship, and savoir-faire. He follows in the footsteps of a formidable lineage of great masters who have helped cement Hennessy X.O’s cultural resonance, including Frank Gehry, Cai Guo-Qiang and Ridley Scott.
I want my designs to educate and inspire people through the stories they tell
“I’m fascinated by the rich heritage of Hennessy, a household name behind which artisans have spent hundreds of years creating this special cognac,” says Kim Jones. “Storytelling is very important for me regardless of what I’m designing or who I’m collaborating with – I want my designs to educate and inspire people through the stories they tell.”
HNY Low by Kim Jones
Designed by Kim Jones and crafted in an LVMH-owned shoe factory in Italy, the limited edition HNY Low by Kim Jones is inspired by early basketball shoes. It is made of a light cognac-coloured nubuck leather, a material that takes on the patina of time, a reference to the precious eaux-de-vie.
Contrasting with the classic upper, a technical sole in tonal grooved rubber features an imprint of cognac vines and the Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones logo on its underside. At the same time, the initials KJ and the Hennessy bras armé emblem discreetly adorn the heel.
“I wanted it to be elevated and chic, to reflect both the long heritage of cognac and my design values,” says the designer, who also transposed the curves of the Hennessy X.O bottle onto the sneaker. “I wanted it to feel like you’re almost looking into the bottle. It’s a glass of cognac in sneaker form.”
True to the sneakerhead aesthetic, Kim Jones made packaging a part of the overall experience. Each pair of HNY Low by Kim Jones comes sheathed in cotton dust bags bound by a high-end drawstring, a shape recalling bottles that used to be wrapped in a thick paper during travel. The sneakers are presented in an oak box that revisits the barrels used to age the eaux-de-vie, its wavy top echoing the plateau for the Hennessy X.O Masterpiece designed by Kim Jones.
Where Cognac meets couture
Designed exclusively for Hennessy by Kim Jones, produced using 3D printing technology, and finished by hand, the sculptural Hennessy X.O Masterpiece has been produced in only 200 examples. The decanter demonstrates how humanity and technology can work together to create something unique, “like a piece of bespoke couture for a bottle,” the designer notes.
The Hennessy X.O Masterpiece draws inspiration from the making of Hennessy X.O, an art perfected by eight generations of Master Blenders. A specially developed titanium casing entirely encapsulates the bottle like an architectural second skin. Its twisting folds evoke both the couture technique of draping and the way in which, at the turn of the 20th century, Hennessy bottles were carefully hand-enveloped in tissue paper to protect their fragile parchment paper labels. Its base, an undulating oak plateau, nods to the barrels used to age eaux-de-vie that would eventually be blended to create Hennessy X.O.
While the bottle is entirely obscured from view, the cognac can be extracted using the fusil designed by Kim Jones, an elegant and playful ritual to serve a glass of the Hennessy X.O blend. As a finishing touch, the decanter has been dipped in gradient colours, inspired by the shades of the different eaux-de-vie selected by the Master Blender to compose Hennessy X.O.
Says Kim Jones: “When I saw how the vintage Hennessy bottles were wrapped, it spoke volumes to me about how precious each one is, and how they were handled. I was particularly touched by their history, and the sense of how generations have dedicated their time to making each step of the process better and better. That same process also holds true with fashion.”
The third element of the collaboration is the Hennessy X.O Limited Edition ‘ready-to-wear’ version of the decanter specially imagined by Kim Jones. The Hennessy X.O bottle is encased in an aluminium second skin, its structure showcasing the signature shape of the bottle while evoking a couture silhouette. A true representation of the merger of fashion and culture with excellence and legacy, the limited edition bottle is the final piece of the Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones partnership.