Every year, Kiehl’s takes pride in partnering with some of the world’s most innovative and exciting artistic talents every holiday season, such as Jeff Koons, Mickey Mouse, KAWS, Kenny Scharf, Peter Max, Jeremyville and Kate Moross.
This year, a selection of Kiehl’s most beloved formulas are encased in the whimsical designs of Helsinki-based illustrator Janine Rewell.
Her magical world of limitless imagination expands to the six limited edition products: Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Butterstick Lip Treatment, Ultra Facial Cream, Scented Body Soap and Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. Janine Rewell’s and Kiehl’s love of art, colour and beauty is also seen upon the one-of-a-kind advent calendar, with a daily dose of customer-favourite Kiehl’s formulas every day for 25 days, as well as gift boxes and tote bags that feature skincare stars and indulgent beauty treats.
How would you describe your illustration style?
My illustration style is founded on geometry, developed towards a more fluid and decorative look. The designs are busy, with colours used evenly everywhere, letting the eye wander around the image endlessly. I am always inspired by nature and the animal kingdom; the shapes of life have so much imagination and variation in comparison to the human-made. In the field of image making, the power of illustration is free to twist and create new worlds, where the fantastical meets the reality, inviting the viewer to visualise moods and feelings that don’t have a shape in the real world.
Tell us a bit about your inspiration and design created for the Kiehl’s holiday collection 2019.
Founded in New York, the core brand visuals hint on the imagination that the city provides, all the interesting subcultures and characters living together that makes New York what it is. I’m from and based in Finland, but during my college years, I did some design studies in Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, and I would often travel to New York for the weekends to get a glimpse of the pulse and pace of the city.
Ever since then, I’ve visited the city regularly to meet my old friends from that time. Building the character palette for the holiday campaign, I was definitely drawing inspirations from those visits to the city, recreating all of the different characters I’ve met with a hint of Christmas fantasy.
What would you say is the most unique project you have worked on?
A body paint based campaign for a high end shoe brand. It’s always exciting to work with a special kind of new media and in this case it was the human body. It’s a canvas that is forever changing its positions and angles. The curviness distorts the design, which makes you think about the design process from a different viewpoint.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Even after 15 years, I’m still amazed by the fact that I can live such a good life by doing what I love the most: drawing silly things!
What is your first memory of Kiehl’s?
My first clear memory was seeing the Christmas packaging that Craig & Karl had designed for the Kiehl’s Christmas campaign. I remember admiring it, and wishing that I would get this kind of brand collaboration one day. So, I’m really happy that my wish came true this year!
Do you have a favourite Kiehl’s product?
I’d have to say it’s the Whipped Crème de Corps. It has a wonderful texture.
What do the holidays mean to you?
As an illustrator, holiday season is one of the busiest. I often start creating Christmas themed illustration projects as early as in May, so it feels like the holidays are a big part of my life for most of the year. When the holidays are finally knocking on the door, I feel I have already overdosed on the Christmas spirit, and it’s time for a holiday from the holidays (laughs). I live in Finland, where sun barely comes out during the holiday season, so I usually travel somewhere sunny to break the long period of darkness.
What is your favourite holiday tradition?
On Christmas Day before the evening dinner, Finnish people have a tradition of going to the cemetery to remember all the people from the past generations. We would bring candles and Christmas wreaths to the graves. The sun barely comes up on the day, and the whole cemetery is beautifully lit with tens of thousands of candles in the dark.