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Kim Jones is uniting technology with artisanal craftsmanship

The multifaceted designer Kim Jones talks about 3-D printing and science, how that’s connected to his fondness for cinema, sci-fi and technology and how it all translated into the collaboration with Hennessy.

HNY XO KIM JONES MASTERPIECE BEAUTY SHOT

Several years ago, Kim Jones, British fashion designer, got smitten by different worlds – technology and art – an infatuation that led to him merging them in his head and later translating them into his design. Jones does not have a background in science; he attended the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the city of London. Yet he regularly draws inspiration from sciences to create rarefied, gorgeous designs, one of them being the Hennessy X.O masterpiece, employing unexpected materials and 3-D printing. "The idea of taking something very technological and fusing that with something different, it's very exciting," he discloses. "It's all my caps together. It's a graphic design interest. It's the idea of the form of taking one manufacturer to another manufacturer. It's the idea of taking something made out of paper and then creating it in metal. It's all those different things combined," he continues.

Capitalising on his creative journey at the Maison, Hennessy had a tête-à-tête to tap into his inspirations, a world full of curiosities.

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What drew you toward a futuristic universe ? 

The bottle being held almost by a mechanical arm makes it feel much more powerful and more, you know, almost untouchable in a way. And I thought that was what was interesting about it. 

  

What was interesting about it? 

I like the clarity of a clear space, the masterpiece bottle feels like it's a precious object and it's almost untouchable. So that's why I wanted to have the hand, the robot hand, in this clean environment. It's about keeping it really clean so that the focus is on the product.  

 

Let’s talk about the artistic direction... 

I was looking at lots of different things from the scientific side and I thought that was a really fun way to look at it. I just think it is kind of like you're looking at this precious thing and, you know, throughout LVMH, in all the different genres, you do have things that aren't necessarily touched by hands at certain stages. It's done with something mechanical because if it wasn't like that, it would damage it. The acid from a hand... a glove might slip... you know, those kinds of things. So, I just look at things, I see the process of things going through, and it's like, making clothes or making a bottle, or, the way it flows with everything. I find that fascinating because I'm quite a sci-fi fan. 

  

It's a very innovative direction, isn't it? 

Yes, you see how those shoes are made, and you get it. It's how you relate to both. I go to these factories all the time and I was thinking about that, plus the eaux de vie, and the idea that it's untouchable, it becomes scientific. It's one person that can approve it. That's like; he's the ultimate scientist. I kind of like having someone fun in that role, in the laboratory. It's the past and the present; you've got the heritage of the house, and you've got this modern thing, and the idea of them coming together; it's so scientific. I know for a fact that if it's really clean and futuristic and bright, you focus on the product. The first thing you'll see is that, because it's all about that. That's what I like. Sometimes I go to stores and they're over-saturated with products, so if you strip it back, you see the product much more clearly. 

 

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You mentioned a robot hand earlier. Can you also imagine robots being part of the artistic direction?  

Jones is a master of marshalling what he learned, merging worlds together, adding his, others, fusing them to perfection if one might.  

I love the idea that a lot of the shoes were made in a factory, and the process was very mechanical and robotic, modern and futuristic. I love the idea of bringing that with something that is really much crafted; the human knows how to be the person that says 'that's correct'. The inside is cognac and then the outside is very much mechanical and I thought it was really interesting fusing it together.

 

In collaboration with Hennessy, he designed a pair of sneakers from nubuck; while the material was still in leather, it was as well subjected to mechanical forces.

Say you saw the shoes spinning around with an arm. There's something almost mechanical and almost scientific to the approach of it as well as the human aspect of it. There isn't a science in it, but it feels very scientific the way it's developed. Like with cognac: it's all done by someone's nose and taste, which is kind of the ultimate scientific tool. I find that very cool.

 

Jones sure knows how to present his designs to couture clients, but his view on the decanter is largely protected from the distorting pressures of the retail environment: 

And so, I think the decanter is kind of that thing of things. It's sort of untouchable in an aspect, which is also quite nice because you know people use them. A lot of people buy these things and present them as an object in their houses. And the pipette that you have with it and things like this, they are fascinating, too.

HNY XO KIM JONES HNYLOW BEAUTY SHOT

Although Jones is considered to be one of the most innovative and consequential fashion designers currently at work, his collaboration with Hennessy brought forth a design that looks more like modern sculptures. He loves anatomy-defying shapes, ones that got us reminiscing about sci-fi matters and objects.

It comes as no surprise that Jones's work for Hennessy unites the most forward-looking technology with artisanal craftsmanship. And while the creative director was visiting Cognac, he disclosed, without even needing to speak, that he "realized that all the touches are hand-applied – it is literally like couture." Pretty much like Jones's own world.

HNY XO KIM JONES MASTERPIECE BEAUTY SHOT
  • The collaboration features a limited edition ‘ready-to-wear’ version of the masterpiece carafe specially imagined by Kim Jones. The Hennessy X.O Limited Edition, encased in an aluminium second skin, stays true to the iconic shape of Hennessy X.O while evoking a couture silhouette.

    In 1870, Maurice Hennessy, a 4th-generation member of the Hennessy family, created a special cognac for his family and friends. This new style of long-aged, “Extra Old” cognac has become the original and emblematic icon of the Maison – a complex blend to transcend time.
     
    Deep and powerful, with a balanced structure, Hennessy X.O promises an intriguing sensation on the palate. With each drop, an invitation to embark on a journey of the senses through the seven tasting notes.

  • The sculptural Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones Masterpiece is produced using 3D printing technology and finished by hand. Detailed with a cognac-hued ombre, an effect inspired by the shades of eaux-de-vie, the cognac itself is extracted using the pipette designed by Kim Jones.

    In 1870, Maurice Hennessy, a 4th-generation member of the Hennessy family, created a special cognac for his family and friends. This new style of long-aged, “Extra Old” cognac has become the original and emblematic icon of the Maison – a complex blend to transcend time.
     
    Deep and powerful, with a balanced structure, Hennessy X.O promises an intriguing sensation on the palate. With each drop, an invitation to embark on a journey of the senses through the seven tasting notes.