Message In A Bottle
I‘ve always found the vessel for fragrance a bit awkward. From the iconic bottle of CHANEL to some of the more contemporary brands. We understand that from the point a scent touches the skin it interacts with everyone of us differently. And although in perfumery we sell this narrative of each fragrance being a personal experience, there are very few brands that actually covey this in their bottles. I must admit when I first encountered Le Labo I was so intrigued by the idea of a bottle with my name. I felt the fragrance was entirely mine. Although a name printed on a bottle is not necessarily the most visually interesting thing, it gives the user a sense of ownership of the experience. Such a simple design application that effectively communicates the idea that a fragrance narrates each individuals story in different voices. But in perfumery, packaging and bottle designs are judged on old notions of luxury; an extravagant bottle, a cohesive visual design systems or how the overarching brand concept unfolds across each fragrance bottle visually. What space is left in this structure for an individual to enter and find their own meaning?
Two years ago we abandoned this traditional benchmark for the visual branding of a perfume bottle. The structure did not sit right with our beliefs that each fragrance just creates an environment ultimately for the user to inhabit and to create their own world or story’s within it. Thus, we removed every single element of branding (logos, fragrance names, etc.) and every few months we invite a group of young abstract artists to paint each bottle individually. There is no bottle alike, just as there is no fragrance the smells exactly the same on a person. Our hope is that the bottles serve as an invitation for the user to find their own meaning in the fragrance and craft their own narrative.