In a year that saw sky-rocketing unemployment, disappearing retirement savings, a deadly flu pandemic and the several untimely and tragic demises of some of our leading icons such as Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy, Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richardson, David Carradine, Farrah Fawcett, Les Paul and Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein – let’s just say that raising a glass this December 31st becomes not just about celebrating the start of the new year but also toasting to the completion of such intense times!!
Champagne has been associated with luxury and festivities since the time when France crowned its kings in Reims, in the heart of the Champagne region of northeastern France. By the 19th century, it had become an affordable indulgence and grown enormously popular. Production shot from 300,000 bottles in 1800 to 20 million bottles in 1850, and kept growing. In 2008, 405 million bottles were produced. It has become imprinted on our cultural consciousness that special events call for a bottle of champagne.
To us at SQUA.RE, leading this innate cultural consciousness related to all festive and celebratory occasions is Dom Pérignon – and our favourite is their classic Dom Pérignon Oenothèque fantasy, regarded as one of the best advertising campaigns in the past few years. Released in January 2008 as a black-and-white photography campaign entitled Visions and a Decision, the visualization is done by Karl Lagerfeld, the script penned by über-muse Amanda Harlech and the central characters modeled by Claudia Schiffer and Brad Kroenig. This effort is directly in honour of Dom Pérignon’s seminal Oenothèque vintage, which can be considered as the crowning glory of its cellar (Oenothèque meaning “library of wines”).
Spinning off Lagerfeld’s wild yet stellar imagination, the campaign centers around an old money Dom Pérignon heir (played by Brad Kroenig), in an epicurean pursuit of realizing his fantasies through that one perfect woman (played brilliantly by Claudia Schiffer). Dom Pérignon champagne helps him live out all these fantasies!
Schiffer effortlessly sums up the role of the ideal femme fatale, role-playing various different desirable personalities through her numerous different guises – from the innocent virgin to perfect bride to naughty “French-maid” housewife to sultry disco queen to raunchy dominatrix! The innate essence that she carries right through all her different roles serves as a direct manifestation of the Oenothèque’s unique aging concept in itself. Typical vintages are released after seven years to reach the Dom Pérignon standards, but the Oenothèque can take anything up to an extra ten years to perfect. Like Schiffer’s character, despite having morphed through various stages, the Oenothèque retains her own distinct personality right through!
Let us all take inspiration from this innate distinct and refined personality that Dom Pérignon has managed to retain through thick and thin since the seventeenth century. Similarly, as individuals, we should never lose our innate distinct qualities and essence, no matter how bad the times may get or how many difficult trials life puts us through. Let this be a turnaround new year, where you see people celebrating like they have something to look forward to. Despite what Nouriel Roubini might say, my emotion is that the future looks brighter, that there are signs of recovery and that we have a better year ahead. Last, but not least, let’s draw inspiration from the most quintessential trait of Dom Pérignon champagne – it brings people together!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!