Aesop’s annual Gift Kits feature four gift kits packed with bestselling skin and body care products, and this year in particular, the Atlas of Attraction Gift Kits 2018/2019 include a special inaugural home-based gift kit, all wrapped up in thematic packaging that complement the products within, with alluring sleeve designs by renowned Dutch couturier Iris van Herpen.
Aesop Creative Director Marsha Meredith familiarises us with the attractive stories behind one of the brand’s most sought after collection this time of the year: the first time collaborating with a designer outside of the in-house creative team, and the creative process that goes about in putting together something as thought provoking as the thematic gift kits.
How did the collaboration with Iris van Herpen come about?
We have admired Iris’ work for a long time, and she is a designer 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 did the team come about in deciding on this year’s theme, Atlas of Attraction?
Each year, we approach the season in a poetic manner, and share something inspiring with our customers. This year it’s all about expressing the idea of seasonal journeys and connections, so we looked to graphics and imagery that evoked a sense of movement, discovery and wonder. Each Kit represents one of these journeys: the return to familiar horizons, the discovery of new landscapes, the strengthening of ties, and the embracing of fresh ideas that replenish or inspire.
How was the creative process for the Aesop team when it comes to building the ambiance for Atlas of Attraction?
How encompassing does it have 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 like-minded 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 to 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.
2018/2019 would be the first year when the Gift Kits include one for the home, ‘The Familiar Horizon’.
Why do you think now is the best time to push forth some of Aesop’s longstanding home products?
The home is like a second skin; it offers us a space to shape personal rituals that nourish the self, which in turn nourishes the skin. It has always been our belief that the home should be a sensory space, comforting and inspiring, so we wanted to create a kit that was both practical but also pleasing to the senses.
‘The Familiar Horizon’ comprises three much-loved formulations: the Istros Aromatique Room Spray (which was just launched last year alongside two other room sprays – Cythera and Olous) to combat the malodorous and enliven interior spaces; the fragrant Post-Poo Drops; and the refreshing and alcohol-free Aesop Mouthwash for impeccable oral hygiene.
That being said, ‘The Familiar Horizon’ honours universal rhythms of migration, speaking to homeward journeys and animals who navigate by 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.
The complete Aesop ‘Atlas of Attraction’ Gift Kits 2018/2019 is now available at all Aesop signature stores – including the recently opened Penang outlet at Gurney Plaza, select stockists and counters in department stores around the globe, and online.