Home Fashion Will Hendrick’s Gin and Wiederhoeft new collaboration spark a new marketing craze?

Will Hendrick’s Gin and Wiederhoeft new collaboration spark a new marketing craze?

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Valentine‘s Day has become a marketing boon; many sectors like beauty, floral, hospitality, fashion, and wine and spirit amp up love-themed merch and promos for the February holiday.

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The latter has forged alliances throughout the year, making them not-so-strange bedfellows. Until recently, those generally meant liquor brands sponsored fashion events.

A new collaboration called ‘Gintimates’ from gin maker Hendrick’s and New York-based designer label Wiederhoeft explores the idea of a deeper connection. FashionNetwork.com spoke with the Scotland-based alcohol label, designer Jackson Wiederhoeft, and a seasoned wine and spirits marketing executive on this unique pairing and the potential for similar matches.

Designer Jackson Wiederhoeft instantly felt the connection between the aesthetics of his brand and Hendrick’s.

Both brands share a common interest in romanticism and Victorian-era silhouettes,” he told FashionNetwork.com over email, adding his penchant for corsetry.

“We immediately think anyone should dress in corsets. Our motto is ‘ABC,’ which stands for ‘Always Be Corseting,'” he noted of wanting to attach the idea to a bottle, “The corset we developed for the collaboration is a derivative of our neck corset, worn in place of a necklace.”
 
This is the designer’s maiden voyage in the spirit brand collaboration, which includes a sheer pale rose-accented corset for the bottle, a blue and white pinky garter-belt-inspired ring, and a rose cocktail garnish chain for a glass rim. The Hendrick’s accouterment is the tip of the iceberg for fashion, says Wiederhoeft.

“This could be a great way for designers to expand their product offerings. I could see the products in this collaboration being perfect in the wedding industry. Every bride deserves a pinky garter while eating a slice of wedding cake. Guests could take their martini garnish home as memorabilia,” he said.
 
According to Michael Giardina, USA vice president of marketing for mixables/Hendrick’s Gin and Milagro Tequila, the partnership exemplifies Hendrick’s unique approach to cocktail culture, especially around holidays like Valentine’s Day.

“Hendrick’s historically creatively reimagines peculiar traditions and aesthetics inspired by the romantic eras of our past; thus, undergarments felt like a place to play, especially given the nature of Valentine’s Day,” he said via email of the quest to make the cocktail intimates a reality adding, “The launch of Gintimates marks Hendrick’s first official foray into the fashion space. We couldn’t dream of a better partner than Wiederhoeft. We’re having fun exploring an unconventional approach merging the two.”

“We were very familiar with Wiederhoeft’s unconventional yet elevated work and knew they were the one for this idea, for the collection to be dreamy, luxurious, and provocative. Wiederhoeft was more than capable of bringing that to life,” Giardina continued, noting that both brands lean into past eras’ opulence, elegance, and whimsy. Wiederhoeft’s association with celebrities like Jennifer Coolidge, Rita Ora, Ice Spice, and more appealed too.

The marketing executive sees the potential for collaborations to lead to a new audience.

“This is more important than ever in the crowded spirit industry. When it comes to fashion, we’re continuing to see the trend of consumers seeking limited-edition pieces from luxury brands, particularly through exclusive partnerships, indicating an opportunity for such collaborations to thrive in 2024 and beyond,” he suggested, noting that strange-seeming bedfellows are right up the companies alley.

 “Hendrick’s is an unconventional gin made through a very unusual distillation process that gets finished with an infusion of rose and cucumber. This admittedly odd way of making a gin lives at the heart of everything we do. Celebrating the peculiar by putting our unique spin on culture, whether it’s fashion or another luxury category, uncovers new ways we can reward curiosity for our consumers,” he added.

Wiederhoeft – Courtesy

Another veteran wine and spirits marketing executive, Jennie Leuzarder, the North America portfolio director at Distill Ventures, the world’s first independent drinks accelerator, agrees about the potential and need for these types of collaboration.

In this role, Leuzarder assists founders in scaling next-generation drinks brands, working with global liquor giant Diageo, who is also vested in discovering new brands. She explains that the incubator program looks for brands “with a clear purpose, authenticity, and a strong connection to diversity and culture that align with current and upcoming consumer trends.”

In the bigger picture, Leuzarder thinks packaging is an ample opportunity for spirits.

“On an industry level, we are particularly interested in innovative packaging. This is where the intersection of spirits and fashion becomes crucial. Collaborations in the past have often been superficial. Surprisingly, the industry has yet to see more profound collaborations that tap into the fashion world’s visual creativity and aesthetic finesse.” she noted.

She admits challenges such as shelf size constraints, pouring considerations, cost-effectiveness, and a shorter lifespan than a perfume bottle may hinder these collaborations, but feels the full landscape for tie-ups is unchartered.

“The intrinsic connection between the fashion and alcohol industries suggests a natural partnership. While collaborations exist, they often involve fashion houses incorporating spirit logos into clothing or designers decorating a label bottle for a special occasion,” she continued.

Fashion and liquor partnerships mainly benefit the former as subsequent event press generally doesn’t include sponsors; the goal is to reach a client with an upscale taste level and isn’t new.

In the 1990s, Absolut followed up its successful art collaborations with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf, among others, to partner with fashion designers such as David Spada of Rainbow Rings fame, Tom Ford and Jean-Paul Gaultier, which further cemented their pioneering reputation for marketing to the LGBTQIA community.

More recently, in 2018, the British designer Gareth Pugh gave the iconic bottle a brand tag label and a pair of otherworldly geometric angel wings. In 1999, Piper-Heidsieck paired up with Jean-Paul Gaultier for a red patent leather bottle corset—currently a collector’s item commanding upwards of $1000 in some cases—which most closely resembles the new Hendrick’s offering.

More recent wearable collaborations include Bombay Sapphire and Christian Siriano, in which he created clothing and a handbag inspired by the blue bottled gin’s cocktails; Wu-Tang Clan frontman RZA paired up with Ballantine and Japanese streetwear brand Neighbourhood; Maker’s Mark X Phoebe English‘s upcycled and deadstock capsule collection, Glenfiddich X Priya Ahluwalia’s custom satin bomber jacket; Waterford Distillery X Lestrange’s clothing inspired by the distilling process and English-brand Percival has paired itself with both Campari and Jameson on branded logo clothes.

Other recent bottle designs include Moschino X Disaronno and Ambush X Moët & Chandon, the latter being a part of the LVMH stable. This French luxury giant could ostensibly manage these partnerships quite easily. Interestingly, most of the partnerships include young independent British brands who notoriously need cash flow for their brands.

As both categories are often considered luxury, Lezauder sees the expansion of these types of collaborations as quite organic.

“The untapped potential lies in approaching spirits packaging and labels with the same artistic consideration as high-end fashion items. With the rise of ultra-premium ($45 +) and prestige ($100-199.99) and prestige plus ($200 +) spirits brands, there is a unique opportunity for fashion designers to infuse their influence into the alcohol industry,” she said adding, “However, a challenge remains in finding fashion brands willing to explore the alcohol industry. Breaking out of established lanes and embracing cross-industry collaboration could open new vistas for both, especially considering the changing dynamics of socialization through platforms like social media, where visual appeal is paramount.”
 

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