“I went to Amsterdam and I took out this bag [the Aesop woven bag] and I said, ‘I know it's a big question, but would you be interested in working on this [the gift kits], and Iris [van Herpen] said, ‘Why don't we do more?’ And that's how this year’s campaign came about,” Marsha Meredith, creative director of Aesop tells us.
Marsha Meredith, creative director of Aesop
While Aesop’s primary business is skin care, the Australian brand continuously looks for inspiration from the arts–using them as an avenue to inspire, learn and communicate with their customers. And if you’re familiar with the brand, you’ll know that they never do anything half-heartedly and are very meticulous, to say the least. From the interior design of their stores (if Luca Guadagnino collaborated with Aesop on their Rome store, something is definitely right), to their product formulations and philosophy, that thoroughness is evident. And this year’s collection of gift kits–collectively titled ‘Atlas of Attraction’–is no different.
The gift kits were designed in collaboration with Dutch couturier Iris van Herpen. Known for her unbridled creativity and nonconformist approach to fashion, van Herpen is at once designer and sculptor, scientist and artisan, philosopher and architect. “We're very careful with who we select to work with. We always look for people with mutual values, passion and mindsets, and Iris is one of those people. Because she has the same preconceptions and passions about nature and architecture and science, we quite quickly realised how to work with our combined interests. The flow of ideas was very quick and quite seamless. She's very fluid, loves collaborating and she's very open to other people's ideas. If there was another opportunity, I’d love to do more with her.” Meredith says.
When Meredith and van Herpen thought about the year’s end, they stumbled upon an idea that resonated with both Aesop and van Herpen. “That feeling when you suddenly have a little more time on your hands than usual, and you start to think about those adventures that you take at the end of the year; the thought that we are all drawn and attracted to particular places, ideas or one another, inspiring and pulling magnetically at us. And because Iris has that fascination coming from dance and moving into fashion with movement, you can see how logical it is for us to think about expressing those journeys through the movement in her designs.”
The gift kit offerings feature four different journeys: an essential body care duo (A Curious Connection), a trio of nurturing skin care formulations (Orbit of Intention), a refreshing hand and body care quartet (Contours of Discovery), and for the first time, a trio home kit (The Familiar Horizon), with the Istros Aromatique Room Spray, Post-Poo Drops and Mouthwash inside. The gift kits are packaged in reusable amenity cases, each wrapped in an elegant customised Iris van Herpen couture pattern sleeve, handpicked by the designer from her extensive archive of designs.
Inspired by the shifting contours in aerial views of rivers and landscapes, van Herpen also designed an evocative window installation for selected Aesop signature stores. Recalling the precise, laser-cut technique used in many of her garments, the installation is created from CNC-machined stainless steel and the airy, cloud-like forms are then hand-burnished to achieve a lustrous, iridescent effect. This results in the piece changing colours as you move around it. “The organic lines in the pieces represent our unfolding path, while the circular forms symbolise the cycle of returning to that which inspires us,’ van Herpen says.
When asked which journey out of the four Meredith identifies with most, she says “As a creative, I relate a lot more with Orbit of Intention. That’s because the moment you do take a pause and allow other ideas that weren’t at the top of your mind to come forward, that’s always interesting. Not just ideas, but also connections that happen at the time. That said, this year The Familiar Horizon is going to be my personal journey–I’m going to spend Christmas with my parents.”
So now we ask you, which journey is the journey you're interested in taking?
A Curious Connection: Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser 200 mL 6.8 fl oz / Rind Concentrate Body Balm 120 mL Net wt 4.1 oz | RM170
The Familiar Horizon: Istros Aromatique Room Spray 100 mL 3.4 fl oz / Post-Poo Drops 100 mL 3.4 fl oz / Mouthwash 250 mL 8.4 fl oz | RM310
Orbit of Intention: Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Masque 60 mL 2.0 oz / Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol 60 mL 2.0 fl oz / Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste 75 mL 2.9 oz | RM360
Contours of Discovery: Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash 500 mL 16.9 fl oz / Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm 75 mL Net wt 2.6 oz / Geranium Leaf Body Scrub 180 mL Net wt 6.1 fl oz / Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser 200 mL 6.8 fl oz | RM390
The complete ‘Atlas of Attraction’ collection is now available at all Aesop signature stores, select stockists and counters in department stores around the globe, and at aesop.com.