Making Wine Fashionable

Fashion Makes its Mark on Wine

By: Ryan Greene

Even before the merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with Möet Hennessy to form LVMH in 1987, there has always been a strong link between fashion and fine wine and champagne. This is perhaps due to the high-end association of the two, and the fact that both involve artistic creation. In addition to fashion brands buying up wine estates, a number of famous designers have also taken a shot at designing wine labels, not without its share of controversy.

A number of fashion houses currently own wine estates as part of their portfolio. François Pinault, the billionaire owner of Gucci, Christie’s, and Yves Saint Laurent, purchased Château Latour (Bordeaux), Araujo Estate (Napa), and a number of other wine estates. Pinault is said to have purchased Latour due to his love of wine, never realizing the degree of investment return. After a failed attempt to purchase Latour, Chanel also entered the wine world by purchasing Château Rauzan-Ségla (Bordeaux) in 1994 and Château Canon (Bordeaux) in 1996. And in addition to its many champagnes, LVMH has also penetrated Bordeaux with the purchases of two of its greatest châteaux, d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc. While many bemoan the corporate infringement on the wine world, it is a trend that is likely to increase in the coming years.Sothebys-Hong-Kong-Sale-April-2014-Latour-1982-1

But there is an even more direct link between fashion and wine, as famous fashion designers are often commissioned to design the labels on wine bottles. This includes the controversial design by Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld of the 2009 Château Rauzan-Ségla label for the estate’s 350th anniversary. Traditionalists in Bordeaux derided the watercolor design as being too ‘non-Bordeaux’ and childish. The label designed by jewelry designer Jade Jagger for Château Ducru-Beaucaillou was met with a more positive reception.Château-Rauzan-Segla-20091

But the most fashionable of all labels have been designed for, you guessed it, champagne. For the Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1996, the fashion house of Italian designer Emilio Pucci designed not only the bottle, but also an ‘ice jacket’ to keep the champagne cool. Jean Paul Gaultier created a more avant-garde design for the Piper-Heidsieck champagne house. One of its bottles was wrapped in black fishnet stockings and sealed with latex, while the other was luxuriously decorated with black Swarovski crystals.04_piper-heidsieck_par_jean-paul-gaultier_bouteille_et_verre_white

And finally, a love of wine has even inspired some fashion designers to produce their own. Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli produces a Super Tuscan red wine from the Chianti Classico region, Degli Dei Toscana IGT Cavalli Selection. Clearly, this marriage of fashion and wine is here to stay.cavalli-tenuta-degli-dei-tuscan-red-wine-3x75cl-giftbox_temp