Couture champagne for millennium parties

Bubbly makers are bringing in fashion's leading lights to give their products a new look

Forget your plain old bottles of fizz; champagne has joined the marketing makeover exercise and formed a brave new alliance with design. In the past few years, champagne makers have been hiring some of the fashion world's top creators to make designer bottles.

Pommery led the way four years ago by commissioning a series of designers, including Ines de la Fressange and Givenchy designer Alexander McQueen. Christian Lacroix, part of LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) designed this year's champagne "bottle wrap" for Pommery.

The wrap, a silvery bag with a blue leather base and matching straps, has been designed to hold a magnum of champagne. The Christian Lacroix insignia sets it off at the top of the bag.

Groupe Marne et Champagne, the world's second-largest champagne maker, called on Paco Rabanne to come up with a bottle encased in chain mail for its Lanson champagne.

The designer recently attracted mixed attention for predicting the end of the world and that Russia's Mir space station would crash into Paris during the solar eclipse.

Now, Jean-Paul Gaultier has created a corset cover in red vinyl for Remy Cointreau, brought together at the front with flat lace. The bottle was designed for a new Piper Heidsieck champagne, "Rare", and will sell for 600 francs (pounds 60) in nightclubs and specialty liquor stores.

"It's the most exciting bottle ever realised for champagne," said Vincent Duhem, Piper Heidsieck's product manager.

Marne et Champagne is hoping Paco Rabanne will spice up its Lanson brand, and Vranken Monopole hired an outside consultant in Paris to design new shapes and labels for its bottles.

"It makes sense to have an alliance between a quality product such as champagne - the most luxurious wine in the world - and with fashion," said Francoise Peretti, director of the Champagne Information Bureau in London. "Champagne represents the ultimate lifestyle - a wine people aspire to drink - and fashion has a very strong link with lifestyle," he added.

The changes come as champagne makers benefit from early demand for millennium parties, especially from abroad.

Exports were up 23 per cent at the end of May, with shipments to the United States booming 92 per cent up, according to industry trade group Interprofessional Committee of Champagne Wines, which represents the 120 champagne houses and 15,000 growers in France.

Piper Heidsieck sales last year totalled FFr565m, adding to the FFr137m of its Charles Heidsieck brand, whose more serious image contrasts with Piper's party style.

Company officials declined to estimate how many cases of Rare they expect to sell.

Not everyone feels a need to hire designers. "We consider that we have a prestigious brand and don't need to associate with a designer to make this point," said Jean-Baptiste Maugars, marketing director at Moet & Chandon, another LVMH unit.

Vranken Monopole, maker of the Charles Lafitte and Heidsieck brands, hired a Paris-based communications company to enliven the look of its champagne.

Vranken, which went public last year, has unveiled five champagnes specifically for the year 2000, including "Cuvee 21", its "haute couture" 2000 presentation. The long-necked bottle has a gold ring and crest plate, carried in a velvety blue bag with gold imprints enlaced in a golden cord.

The five vintages, which range from $20 to $60, will retail throughout 2000. "We've positioned the brands toward every segment to appeal to all social classes," said Virginie Martin, a marketing executive at Vranken Monopole.

Millennium hopes are also doing good things for share prices: LVMH, which fell out of favour with some investors last year because of the recession in Asia, is the second-biggest gainer in the benchmark CAC 40 index, its shares up 79 per cent this year. Remy Cointreau and Vranken each have risen about 10 per cent in six months.

Some companies are hoping that the new designs will stick beyond the new year and into the next millennium.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution