Receiving a brief from Chivas Brothers to design its Royal Salute 38-year-old scotch whisky, an inspirational chord was struck. The design of the bottle – targeted at the Asian market – had to be lavish, opulent and steeped in British heritage if it was to justify a £900 price tag.
One designer’s work came to mind. Growing up in the suburbs of North-West London in the 1970s, Punk was both my passion and my rebellion. I remember visiting Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s shop Seditionaries, being seduced and, if I’m honest, a little scared by, the outrageous clothes and attitude.
I have always been fascinated by Westwood’s love affair with Britishness and her subversion of traditional symbols and regalia. In particular, I loved the witty re-interpretations that used tartan material for bondage trousers and crowns made of Harris tweed.
Our design borrows principles from her world. The neck of the bottle is crafted like the handle of a sword, crowned with a jewel. The overall mix juxtaposes natural materials such as granite and gold with bright, contemporary colour. With Westwood in mind we gave a new approach to a whisky brand that went beyond ‘heather and weather’ to express British luxury in a new way.