Monday, 26 January 2015
Advanced search

Style icons

Cosmetics packaging is an excellent opportunity for designers to indulge in a bit of luxurious design. Design Week follows the trail


Richard James

Richard James Fragrance

Design: Richard James, Sean Dixon and Ateliers Dinand

Richard James, the Savile Row label, is bringing its 'modern classic' style to the fragrance market, with an eponymous scent that is sure to make a splash with the cognoscenti.

For someone who has been described by fashion writer Colin McDowell as 'the best colourist working in menswear in London today', James himself takes a surprisingly robust attitude to his packaging design.

'It's really a tube that's been squashed,' he says of the sensual and ergonomic bottle, designed in 50ml and 100ml versions by James, his business partner Sean Dixon and French luxury packaging group Ateliers Dinand.

'It's derived from a big understanding of the product, so it couldn't have been a trendy bottle,' he explains. 'The Richard James brand is about craft and beautifully made things, adhering to the good traditions of Savile Row. It shouldn't be fuddy-duddy or tired, but - like our suits - something that will still be a modern classic in ten years' time.'

With its thick glass base and 'gently compressed' exterior, James says he wanted to create 'an object in its own right' that was 'beautiful to hold'. The snugness in the palm of the hand is such that James likens the shape to 'a hand grenade', before thinking better of it.

All the same, despite the 'classic masculinity' of the bottle and its contents - a fragrance grounded in soft suede and Indian sandalwood, but overlaid with 'floral notes' - it also presents an undeniably feminine curve, recalling nothing so much as J-Lo's coveted behind.

Fourth Floor range

Design: North

Developed by Richard Stepney, who owns the fashionable hairdressing salon in London's Clerkenwell, the Fourth Floor range is a slick looking, type heavy, hair grooming product range that makes use of delicious ingredients such as green tea, mandarin and lime.

The project was started three years ago and Stepney approached design group North for the packaging, since it had already designed the hairdresser's promotional literature and identity.

'My brief to North was to create a packaging design that would be bold enough to stand out in a very crowded area of the cosmetics market, yet be subtle enough to separate itself from other existing hair care ranges,' says Stepney. 'I have always attempted to keep Fourth Floor independent from the trends of the hairdressing industry and I wanted the same approach with the product line.'

The result is an interchangeable range of shampoos, conditioners and styling products developed with the help of Italian chemist Corpolibero - who uses ancient formulas originally conceived by Italian monks. Available at Harvey Nichols, it will no doubt attract the same mix of designers and fashionistas who patronise the salon.

Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney's fragrance

Design: Made Thought

Fashion industry darling Stella McCartney's first perfume, featuring packaging and graphics by Made Thought, was launched in style last month at McCartney's London flagship store.

Stella - the perfume's name - is an Art Deco-inspired bottle with clean lines. The faceted Eau de Toilette bottle is McCartney's own design, but Made Thought 'dressed it' and made it more feminine, says Made Thought's Paul Austin.

The bottle was originally in a solid plum colour, but Made Thought introduced dégradé colouration, which fades lighter to the bottom. The packaging is a grey, snug, hexagonal three-part box from high-quality Italian board by paper manufacturer Fedrigoni.

The pixel-style 'Stella' marque, conceived by Wink, circles the silver neck of the bottle, and inside sits a traditional applicator. 'It's much sexier than spraying,' says McCartney.

'The entire feel is vintage with a modern twist, like [McCartney's] collections,' Austin adds. 'Our aim was to create something that felt hand-crafted.'

The Eau de Parfum, at just 5cm tall, follows the Eau de Toilette's angled shape, but is also described as resembling a small 'hand grenade'. Its packaging is more luxurious and features a solid 'coffret' complete with padded satin cushion. The bottle's lid is weighted to feel heavier and less 'machine-made', Austin explains.

'It is designed so that you can keep the bottle after you've finished with the perfume. I wanted the perfume coffret to be like a jewellery box,' McCartney says.

Made Thought's work grew from the group's specialist graphics for McCartney's London store.

Have your say


Follow Me on Pinterest