The gilded vessel that holds the long-standing legacy of the Hennessy V.S.O.P is the latest creation from reputable graphic designer Peter Saville. The limited edition bottle is coated in matte gold, which upon closer inspection of the magnificent creation, the opulent colour flows in a gradient formation from the fairest tone to the deepest amber. The centre where the multifarious hues intermingle with the metallic shade is the signifying backdrop of the Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilege Collection 5. The design is a reflection of the research Saville has conducted on the natural science and genome of the grapevine, which stands for the essence and integrity of the cognac. The colour coding technique that Saville is known for incorporates both the designer’s modern abstraction and Hennessy’s revered heritage, ultimately resulting in a ‘pattern of life’ design that makes any owner of this limited edition Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilege Collection 5 resemble the regality of King Midas himself.
After designing the de facto album sleeve of his career in Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures in 1979, Peter Saville’s career effectively followed the emergence of the Brit’s new wave. Since then, his oeuvre included other new wave luminaries like New Order and David Byrne, and bands like Suede and Pulp. Now, the Manchester-born legend’s influential reach stretches to culture and fashion – he’s been commissioned by fashion figures (Yohji Yamamoto, Christian Dior) and even a football team (England’s 2010 jersey was by Saville!), and is currently serving as the creative director of Manchester’s city council.
To the uninitiated, here’s a quick guide to the best cover sleeves by the man himself.
The well-replicated and repurposed album cover that you see here is actually a radio wave from the Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy and is not however, an EEG reading of brain sensors, nor was it a reading of a heartbeat. This was also the only time the band had given the designer something they wanted for the cover.
Thinking that the album title was Machiavellian, Saville decided to find a Renaissance painting of the historic figure but failed. He settled on buying some postcards when a girlfriend (at the time) was the one who suggested the Fantin-Latour painting of flowers featured on one of them as the cover.
Saville took on this as a private project; this album had propelled Suede back into the good graces of fans and critics who were dubious of the band’s new lineup, with one even comparing the album with Ziggy Stardust as evidenced in the musical direction and the cover’s glam psychedelia.
Though the image of a Genoan tomb was chosen for its artistic significance, it unfortunately coincided with the death of frontman Ian Curtis. Saville and the band ultimately decided to use it as a gesture of good faith for Curtis as the singer had also selected it.
This is the only album cover that had any personal connection to Saville himself. The photograph of the leaf represented a private tragedy that occurred in his life and it took 50 takes to achieve the appearance as it were.
The creation of the album cover is markedly more complicated and technical as it involved plenty of procedures to achieve the desired effect with its skewing of saturation and manipulation of shapes, which also echoed the album’s music.