AugustMan (Malaysia)


Aesop creative director Marsha Meredith familiaris­es us with the a ractive stories behind the Aesop ‘Atlas of A raction’ Gi Kits 2018/2019, in collaborat­ion with renowned Dutch couturier Iris van Herpen


IT’S A YEAR of firsts for Aesop’s annual Gift Kits, one of the brand’s most sought after collection this time of the year, featuring four gift kits packed with bestsellin­g skin and body care products, all wrapped up in thematic packaging that complement the products within.

As Aesop explores the Atlas of Attraction, with a special home-based gift kit ‒ a first for the Gift Kits, the year’s range also features alluring sleeve designs by renowned Dutch couturier Iris van Herpen. Together, they pay homage to the different journeys we embark upon at year’s end, when we are granted the gift of time to connect with others and to explore our inner impulses and attraction­s.

Inspired by the shifting contours in aerial views of rivers and landscapes, van Herpen explores the attraction’s map through ‘A Curious Connection’ (a compatible couple of two body care favourites), ‘Contours of Discovery’ (a quartet of bathroom staples), ‘The Familiar Horizon’ (a trio of home essentials) and ‘Orbit of Intention’ (a trio of skin care regimen), using organic lines as the representa­tion of our unfolding path, and circular forms that symbolise the cycle of returning to that which inspires us.

Packaged in reusable amenity cases made of water resistant and washable materials in a refreshing tan palette, each kit is wrapped in an elegant sleeve featuring a customised van Herpen couture pattern, precise, lasercut technique used in many of her garments - handpicked by the designer from her extensive archive of designs to evoke the narrative of each individual kit.

These couture patterns are also expanded into evocative window installati­ons for select Aesop signature stores, created from CNCmachine­d stainless steel by van Herpen’s atelier in Amsterdam. The airy, cloud-like forms, hand-burnished to achieve a lustrous and iridescent effect, welcome customers with shifts and glows of the movement, as they step into the nearest Aesop store to purchase the Aesop Atlas of Attraction Gift Kits 2018/2019 from November 1 onwards.

How did the collaborat­ion with Iris van Herpen come about?

We have admired Iris’ work for a long time, and she is a designer we were immediatel­y drawn to. Our thoughts melded together quite seamlessly despite the fact that we work primarily in skin care, and Iris works in fashion. However, just like Aesop,

Iris gains inspiratio­n from outside her immediate industry, looking to nature, art, architectu­re, science and technology to inform her work. The brand’s collaborat­ion with Iris was founded on a mutual interest in unconventi­onal materials and an affinity for science, philosophy and nature. From these shared interests, we exchanged creative ideas and inspiratio­ns to arrive at the Atlas of Attraction theme. The process was an absolute pleasure, and it was a privilege to witness the creativity and quality of thought from Iris in response to ours.

How was the creative process for the Aesop team when it comes to building the environ for Atlas of A raction?

How encompassi­ng it has to be in representi­ng the year’s Gift Kits and Aesop’s brand philosophy as a whole? We believe in an honest and genuine approach with our customers, wherein ageing is understood and individual­ity is a strength. We anticipate long-term relationsh­ips with them, and endeavour to continue meeting their needs as their skin changes over time. Thus, we focus our efforts on the contents of the jar and rigorous scientific research rather than wasting energy on excessive packaging, celebrity endorsemen­t or empty promises. Each year, we carefully consider the contents of each kit to bring together a selection of festive season gifting options for our customers, on top of drawing constant inspiratio­n from the arts, and find pleasure in forming creative partnershi­ps with likeminded collaborat­ors.

Our relationsh­ip with the arts has been integral to the developmen­t of Aesop; it has fuelled and inspired us for 30 years! While our primary business is skin care, we are constantly seeking inspiratio­n from the arts, and using them as an avenue through which we inspire, learn and communicat­e with our customers.

The bathroom quartet ‘Contours of Discovery’, for instance, is inspired by humankind’s abiding appetite for exploratio­n, honouring a belief that new landscapes refresh the spirit in some way, leaving us transforme­d and replenishe­d. Hence, the artwork is a rippling graphic, presenting an illusion of movement and exploratio­n. Whereas the ‘Orbit of Intention’, featuring a trio of skin care formulatio­ns, acknowledg­es the capacity to transform our frame of mind from the analytical to the creative; an idea that’s artistical­ly represente­d through a kaleidosco­pic graphic, suggestive of the brain’s ability to shift and change.

What’s new in the Aesop Gi Kits this year that we can get aboard with?

Our kit range for 2018/2019 includes our first Home Care Kit which comprises three much-loved formulatio­ns: the Istros Aromatique Room Spray (launched last year alongside two other room sprays ‒ Cythera and Olous) to combat the malodorous and enliven interior spaces; the fragrant PostPoo Drops; and the refreshing and alcoholfre­e Aesop Mouthwash for impeccable oral hygiene.

‘The Familiar Horizon’ honours universal rhythms of migration, speaking to homeward journeys and animals who navigate by the sun, stars and biological compass. Iris’ couture pattern of a sinuous graphic, evoking the swirling aerial formations of a starling flock, represents this particular gift kit on the sleeve. AM

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