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Before & After (30 years after, actually): Grossmith

by First name Last name on 11/11/2009 | 3 Minute Read

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Editorial photograph Now here's a cool story:

Holmes & Marchant, a design and branding agency, hasworked on the resurrection of a luxury fragrance range called Grossmith. The fragrance was once worn by Queen Victoria and wasfounded in 1835, before eventually closing around 30 years ago. Simon Brook, agreat-great grandson of the founder discovered his heritage when researching hisfamily tree. Simon bought the brand back into family ownership and worked withHolmes & Marchant throughout the relaunch process.

To see the full story and more (awesome) photos, please follow the jump.

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"Holmes & Marchant has devised the entire visual identityfor 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 rootsfirmly in the past.

Through an interest in geneaology, Simon Brooke discoveredthe company and bought it back into family ownership. He found a relative withtwo books of perfume formulae from the early twentieth century and worked withthe best designers, fragrance house and team of advisors to recreate the brand.

 Many aspects of the design in the launch range take theirinspiration from a crystal bottle, 1,000 of which were commissioned byGrossmith in 1919 from Maison Baccarat.

These bottles were produced for Grossmith’s‘Serie de Luxe’ range which included three of its most reveredscents – the same three scents that feature in the 2009 launch range.

To celebrate the new age of Grossmith, a limited edition ofthese crystal bottles has been commissioned using the original moulds, withbeautiful gold etching designed by Holmes & Marchant on the front of eachbottle replacing the gold disc-shaped labels that featured on the 1919editions.

The launch range for the revived brand consists of threefragrances: 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 editioncrystal flacons.

The wider brand identity also references the Grossmithstory, with the logo device based on designs used on old fragrance cards andpackaging of early Grossmith scents. The oval footprint of the‘standard’ reeded glass bottles follows the shape of the originalGrossmith ‘standard’ bottle.

Other aspects of the design are inspired by the Baccaratcrystal bottles: each bottle has a square label with chamfered corners(technically an octagon), based on the footprint of the Baccarat bottles. Thefinger cap on the bottle lid also references this shape, as do the luxuriousdisplay cartons and even the blotters onto which the perfume is sprayed forcustomers to try in store.

“We’ve taken the personality from the earlyfragrances and recrafted it to create a logo and identity that can work acrossthis 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 todetail that has always been a hallmark of Grossmith.”

The range primarily uses a gold, regal blue and white colourscheme – more subtle than the bright multicoloured labels of theVictorian and Edwardian originals. It is intended to reflect the opulence ofthe scents while allowing flexibility for future product launches. Each bottlein 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 besold in hand-made oak presentation cases."