Co-founder and Creative Director of AMBUSH®︎ Yoon Ahn, Redesigns the Iconic Moët Impérial Champagne Bottle.
A first of its kind, Moët & Chandon have collaborated with Yoon Ahn of AMBUSH to create a limited edition Moët Impérial bottle. The Moët & Chandon X AMBUSH partnership marks a historical moment for the Maison – since its creation in 1869, the signature champagne has maintained its iconic design till now. In addition, the collaboration also supports the preservation of Mother Nature as Yoon Ahn explains …
The bottle of Moët Impérial has not been redesigned in 152 years. What did you find challenging about reinventing the design of an icon?
I was thrilled to be given carte blanche to re-design the bottle of Moët Impérial, which had not been redesigned by an artist since it was first released in 1869. It was a great challenge given its recognizable and iconic codes, but I also saw it as a great opportunity to bring my own aesthetics to this iconic champagne.
What was your inspiration for the limited edition Moët Impérial bottle?
I brought the essence of AMBUSH to my design for the Moët Impérial bottle. That is really my driving force. I wanted to conserve some of the truly iconic codes of the bottle, like the tie, but I played with elements like color and label to make an impact.
This Moët & Chandon bottle has always been identifiable by its golden neck, so changing that color to black was quite drastic. I then contrasted it with a new all-white embossed label, to produce an eye-catching design that suggests a blank slate, like a window onto a future filled with possibilities for those who dare step forward. It was a strong and impactful move because it allowed me to achieve the clean modernity of stark contrasts, which is at the heart of my designs for AMBUSH. It makes for a striking design that is sharp, uncluttered…and very contemporary.
For this collaboration, you went outside of your “comfort zone” with a first collaboration with a “wine & spirits” brand. How was this first encounter with Moët & Chandon, a champagne House with a 278-year heritage?
At AMBUSH, we are not afraid to look outside our comfort zone. We have always embraced new visions. But we only accept collaborations where we can learn something new. This is indeed my first collaboration with a champagne House. Although champagne is a completely new world for me, I was curious to learn about Moët & Chandon and its champagne-making heritage. What made this collaboration with a 278-year old company so meaningful, was that it was based on a mutual respect and the desire to tell a compelling story. That is what makes any collaboration genuine. It cannot be just about marketing because today’s consumers are savvy. We have tried to create a new synergy which is a great way to communicate shared values.
How did you meet the challenge of bringing your innovative touch to a heritage House like Moët & Chandon? Did you see this collaboration as a way of “breaking the rules”?
I am a rule breaker by nature. But I am always true to myself, whether it is at AMBUSH or in collaboration with another brand. I always strive to be genuine. When Moët & Chandon offered me this incredible global platform, I knew that it was my responsibility to express my philosophy in a genuine way. It is also a “rule-breaking” move for such a prestigious French Maison to associate its name with a modern creative. It was daring and pioneering, and I respect that because it is also a genuine move for the House.
I am a rule breaker by nature. But I am always true to myself, whether it is at AMBUSH or in collaboration with another brand. I always strive to be genuine. – Yoon, co-founder and creative director of AMBUSH
You visited Epernay, home to Moët & Chandon, for the first-time last year. Was there anything that stood out from the experience?
My first visit to Epernay in the Champagne region really opened my eyes. Living in Tokyo, I always try to get away. In nature, I can recharge and refocus. In the vineyards of Moët & Chandon, I felt a close connection with the lush green nature of a true agricultural heartland and was impressed with the care that goes into preserving the land and its age-old traditions. The House is very much engaged in ensuring the wellbeing of its people, and it has a long history of doing so, which makes sense because so much of the daily work is still being done by hand, in the vineyards as much as in the cellars. You really see that the hand of mankind plays an essential role in making champagne. For me, the visit to Moët & Chandon in Epernay was about discovering a place where natural beauty meets human know-how, guided by almost 300 years of heritage.
What are some of the values you discovered you shared with Moët & Chandon during the course of this collaboration?
At Moët & Chandon, I could see first-hand how important it is for the House to value its teams and to care for its people. That care inspires positive outcomes and is ultimately reflected in what the House offers its clients. That translates into the care and attention that the people at the House bring to the smallest detail of their role in making champagne. Also, I could see the importance of investing time and resources in developing local production. Everything is done by the House on its own land and in its own facilities in Epernay. Those are crucial points for a modern, responsible business that knows exactly how everything is done in its name. And on a much smaller scale, we try to do the same at AMBUSH, by ensuring that our teams feel valued and appreciated, by ensuring the means of production to make a top-quality product, and by using local know-how.
Following this, what are some of the insights you have gained from this collaboration with Moët & Chandon?
In my own work, I have learned everything from experience. AMBUSH is about creative design combined with a great work ethic. A lot of time goes into making something exceptional. Creating true luxury takes time and labor. Today consumers want to know how things are made and where products come from. Moët & Chandon is in tune with that global community and strives to do the right thing for people and the environment. It is important to respect one’s own craft, to preserve nature, to have esteem for people and traditions, all of which are necessary especially if you want to bring to the world, something that is unique and exceptional.
This is the first time Moët & Chandon has chosen to support a charitable cause in a product collaboration. Were you surprised by this move?
When they mentioned that a portion of the profits of this collaboration would be donated to a charitable cause, I was thrilled but not very surprised. Moët & Chandon is well-known for its generosity and the spirit of sharing that it has always supported. But what surprised me was that the task of selecting the charitable cause was given to me. This is both a great responsibility and a strong statement of support for my choice and my integrity. Preserving this planet and the natural habitat for all species are very important considerations for today’s young generation, and I am very grateful that Moët & Chandon accepted my choice and generously offered its full support.
Tell us how you came to choose World Land Trust as the charitable cause to benefit from this collaboration?
This collaboration was truly eye-opening for me. On my visit to Epernay, I saw the devotion of the people at Moët & Chandon to nature and to their precious terroir. This inspired me to select the World Land Trust to receive the support of the House, so that together we could help preserve other terroirs around the world.
What specific project will you & Moët & Chandon support with World Land Trust?
Our Moët & Chandon x AMBUSH collaboration will preserve the Canandé Reserve in the Ecuadorian Chocó, one of the world’s most threatened tropical forests and a place as biodiverse as the Amazon rainforest. Only 2 percent of this forest remains today, still inhabited by 10 percent of animal species found nowhere else on the planet. The support from our collaboration will have a direct impact on stopping the deforestation of the Chocó, not just for the sake of its fragile species, but also to combat one of the causes of climate change.
Watch the interview here:
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All images and video courtesy of Moët & Chandon.