Inspiration In Full Circle

by Y-Jean Mun Delsalle
Photos courtesy of Dom Pérignon
02 Oct 2018

After a history of collaborations with bold, inspiring creative talents – from Andy Warhol to Karl Lagerfeld, and Tokujin Yoshioka – the vintage-only champagne house, Dom Pérignon, has named American rock legend Lenny Kravitz as its Global Creative Director

The story of Dom Pérignon has always been one of fortuitous encounters. This continues with that of Mr. Lenny Kravitz and Dom Pérignon cellar master, Mr. Richard Geoffroy, who were introduced to each other some 11 years ago in Paris.

“Early on, we were attracted to each other based upon our art form, our discipline and our dedication,” Mr. Kravitz says of his friendship with Mr. Geoffroy. “Richard is a master at what he does. It has nothing to do with anything that I come from or have been educated in, so I found that intriguing. Besides coming to my house, he started coming to my shows, and after the shows, we would talk. It was interesting to me how he could relate what I was doing on stage to what he does, talking in esoteric terms about intensity, discipline, love, elongating and connecting the dots.

“I like that champagne is the Earth, it’s nature, it’s time encapsulated in a bottle. Somebody can just drink it and say it tastes good, it makes me feel nice – that’s the extent of it. But for me, when I’m drinking a vintage, what year was it, what was going on historically, with the weather, with production? Talking to Richard about the 2008 vintage, I found out that it was a difficult process. It was an exercise in not giving up and keeping focused because we don’t dictate what nature does – it does its own thing. I find that to be quite magical.”

Embracing numerous creative avenues throughout his career, Mr. Kravitz is not only a Grammy Award-winning singer, musician, songwriter and record producer, but also an actor, photographer and designer. Tapping his artistic creativity, lifestyle and attitude, the first expression of his collaboration with Dom Pérignon is a set of black-and-white photographs he took last May using his Leica Monochrom camera, which will be showcased in an advertising campaign and an international touring exhibition in various cities including New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Berlin.

Mr. Kravitz united a diverse group of exceptional personalities from music, cinema, fashion, dance and sports at the Stanley House, the first Los Angeles-based, single-family residential project designed by Mr. Kravitz and Kravitz Design, his design firm established in 2003, which designs interiors and products such as Leica cameras and custom Rolexes. “When I think about Dom Pérignon, it is all about bringing people together,” Kravitz discloses. “It is all about communication so that you can then have inspiration and be inspired to do something. You do not need an occasion. Life is the occasion.”

After inviting actress Ms. Susan Sarandon, actor and producer Mr. Harvey Keitel, singer-actress Ms. Zoë Kravitz, fashion designer Mr. Alexander Wang, dancer and choreographer Mr. Benjamin Millepied, football player Mr. Hidetoshi Nakata, and model-actress Ms. Abbey Lee Kershaw, Mr. Kravitz captured the alchemy created between them, observing their interactions and how they inspired one another. There are scenes of them drinking Dom Pérignon, talking, laughing, dancing, even one shot echoing Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Just like The Factory and Studio 54, Mr. Kravitz connected people while documenting the privileged moment, finding unlimited inspiration in this night that never ends.

Mr. Geoffroy remarks, “In recent years, we’ve been developing the idea about inspiring others and being inspired, or giving energy and being given energy. There’s sort of a spiral in that sense of caring and love, and then being given it back, which is very Lenny’s, and it’s why we’re that close, that connected. Creativity is like a terrific engine that needs to be fuelled, and the fuel mostly comes from the outside, which you keep absorbing and sending back out.”

Mr. Kravitz continues, “The theme for me was inspiration and human contact. That’s why I wanted to put together this group of people of different ages, fields and backgrounds, who find that common element that joins them all together, which is celebrating life, celebrating each other, celebrating the differences. I thought that was beautiful, to just be very human with it. Also Dom Pérignon is an icon, it’s the top of what it is, but we don’t have to wait for a wedding, anniversary or birthday to pull out the champagne. It’s normally to celebrate something that’s happened, but life is happening, life is precious every day and we’re not promised tomorrow, so it’s also about seizing the moment and celebrating just because it’s Thursday.” Accompanying him on this adventure was Mr. Mathieu Bitton, a photographer and filmmaker who shot a movie on these meetings initiated by Mr. Kravitz and Dom Pérignon, and a catalogue will also be published.

As Creative Director in 2019, Kravitz will conceive furniture and objects centered on drinking champagne. Self-taught in design, he learned from observing, reading, sourcing, traveling and through intuition. “I just love to exercise my creativity and use different mediums,” he notes.

Having a real eye for beautiful objects, he grew up in the ’60s and ’70s when art, music and theater were incredibly vibrant. “New York City was on fire then,” he recalls. “Both my parents were in the arts. My mom was an actress, my father a journalist and NBC producer.

“I grew up around lots of different artists, going to the opera, the ballet, the symphony, going to see James Brown at the Apollo, the Jackson Five at Madison Square Garden… and different writers that my mother was friendly with like Lorraine Hansberry, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni. I was watching these artistic people do their thing, while sitting in rehearsals with my mother. It was extraordinary. That set the tone for me and began educating me very early.” And now he’s taking this incredible source of inspiration and sending it back out to the world.