Before & After (30 years after, actually): Grossmith
Holmes & Marchant, a design and branding agency, has
worked on the resurrection of a luxury fragrance range called Grossmith. The fragrance was once worn by Queen Victoria and was
founded in 1835, before eventually closing around 30 years ago. Simon Brook, a
great-great grandson of the founder discovered his heritage when researching his
family tree. Simon bought the brand back into family ownership and worked with
Holmes & Marchant throughout the relaunch process.
To see the full story and more (awesome) photos, please follow the jump.
"Holmes & Marchant has devised the entire visual identity
for the brand, from logos and colour schemes to glass bottles, lids, boxes,
etching patterns and type. The agency drew on original bottle shapes,
decorative designs and typefaces to produce an up-to-date image with its roots
firmly in the past.
Through an interest in geneaology, Simon Brooke discovered
the company and bought it back into family ownership. He found a relative with
two books of perfume formulae from the early twentieth century and worked with
the best designers, fragrance house and team of advisors to recreate the brand.
Many aspects of the design in the launch range take their
inspiration from a crystal bottle, 1,000 of which were commissioned by
Grossmith in 1919 from Maison Baccarat.
These bottles were produced for Grossmith’s
‘Serie de Luxe’ range which included three of its most revered
scents – the same three scents that feature in the 2009 launch range.
To celebrate the new age of Grossmith, a limited edition of
these crystal bottles has been commissioned using the original moulds, with
beautiful gold etching designed by Holmes & Marchant on the front of each
bottle replacing the gold disc-shaped labels that featured on the 1919
The launch range for the revived brand consists of three
fragrances: Hasu-no-Hana, Phul-Nana and Shem-el-Nessim.
Each will be available as both perfume (100ml and 10ml) and eau de parfum
(100ml and 50ml) in ‘standard’ glass bottles and special edition
The wider brand identity also references the Grossmith
story, with the logo device based on designs used on old fragrance cards and
packaging of early Grossmith scents. The oval footprint of the
‘standard’ reeded glass bottles follows the shape of the original
Grossmith ‘standard’ bottle.
Other aspects of the design are inspired by the Baccarat
crystal bottles: each bottle has a square label with chamfered corners
(technically an octagon), based on the footprint of the Baccarat bottles. The
finger cap on the bottle lid also references this shape, as do the luxurious
display cartons and even the blotters onto which the perfume is sprayed for
customers to try in store.
“We’ve taken the personality from the early
fragrances and recrafted it to create a logo and identity that can work across
this range as well as for any future Grossmith launches,” adds Hanson.
“It’s very Art Deco and communicates that this is a luxury,
handcrafted product – reflecting in the packaging and the attention to
detail that has always been a hallmark of Grossmith.”
The range primarily uses a gold, regal blue and white colour
scheme – more subtle than the bright multicoloured labels of the
Victorian and Edwardian originals. It is intended to reflect the opulence of
the scents while allowing flexibility for future product launches. Each bottle
in the perfume range will come in an elegant, luxurious-feeling white box,
while the eau de parfum boxes will be a striking blue. Baccarat bottles will be
sold in hand-made oak presentation cases."