A natural facet of creating and maintaining an air of mystery for a prestige Champagne is the need to keep external exposure and detail to a minimum. In line with this policy, bespoke advertising for Dom Pérignon as a standalone brand was non-existent for a long time.
The last drive to push Dom sales had been in the late 1950’s where, in a post 2nd World War world, there was an inherent need to build the new brand as a standalone entity.
With sales now booming and the print adverts of the 1960’s and 70’s focusing more on brand alignment as opposed to individual product, Dom was relegated to forming part of the wider Moét stable as opposed to a top tier offering.
The Neville Brody brand re-working of 2004 chose to re-instigate a direct advertising approach, such was the requirement in a world used to surfing visuals via the internet and where positioning against other ‘advert-friendly’ prestige brands was critical. As such, Dom was thrust back in to the pages of appropriate publications and well and truly back in the limelight.
The campaign for the 1998 vintage was given over to German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, well known for his collaborations with the Italian and French design houses of Fendi and Chanel. As his leading lady Lagerfeld chose Danish ‘Supermodel’ Helena Christensen to star alongside several male models and bottles of Dom Perignon. Shot in an 18th century Parisian townhouse (a nod back to the origins of Moét & Chandon) Lagerfeld stated that he was after a ‘Barry Lyndon’ effect, name-checking the gloriously shot period film by director Stanley Kubrick, to deliver the right atmosphere for Dom Perignon.
What transpired on the page was intimate, slightly erotic, but always classy and elegant, and the shoot produced so many iconic images that a book was released in November 2005 titled ‘The 7 Fantasmes of a Women’.
Made up of Christensen and the other models in various black and white images, and with very little wording to tell the whole story, no real explanation was given as to why the Dom Perignon was there at all.
The pairing of Lagerfeld and Christensen was a happy one with both having known each other for just under 20 years and some of Helena’s first work being for Lagerfeld. Indeed, she cited it as the main reason for taking the role, alongside being able to drink Dom Pérignon for two days straight. The resulting images were hardly out of wine publications of the time and laid the groundwork for the celebrity endorsements the brand still uses to this day.
Perhaps Lagerfelds crowning glory for Dom Pérignon was his tie-in creation “A Bottle Named Desire”. Unveiled in February 2006, this was a limited run of 1,998 bottles of the 1998 Vintage. With gold foil unique to this release, each bottle was dressed with 50 ‘golden’ studs attached. Housed in an elegant semi-opaque jewel case, each set was individually numbered below the golden shield clasp, and ‘signed’ by Karl.
The result was a visually stunning set with Lagerfeld intending the golden studs to emulate the vibrant bubbles within, capturing the very soul of the bottle and making it an object of desire. The set was exclusively available in the top London boutique stores including Harrods, who got a large allocation and proudly gave it one of their world-famous window displays.
Like the limited ‘Irodori’ 1996 before it, despite the eye-watering £1,000 price tag, the set sold out soon after release. It was then, and still remains, the most expensive first-release price for a Dom Pérignon vintage special edition.
Although the general Dom packaging went through several changes for both the 1999 and 2000 Vintages as the Neville Brody amendments bedded in, no further Prestige editions for these vintages were produced. It wouldn’t be long though before the Andy Warhol inspired editions of the 2002 Vintage came along and, in a further first for the brand, they began changing the infamous shield logo for the first time.