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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried