When Alexander McQueen launched his first fragrance in March 2003, he was already famed as one of Britain’s most creative and transgressive fashion designers. Kingdom’s name played on the “queen” already present within the designer’s surname and may have alluded to his expanding empire as well as the fantasy and distinction he offered to the women who chose to wear his clothing—and now his perfumes.
This fragrance (created by perfumer Jacques Cavallier, under a licensing agreement with YSL Beauté) was a rich jasmine floral tinged with notes of dark, almost dirty, spice. The bottle was designed by Patrick Veillet, whose proposal was selected by McQueen from a number of submissions, and produced by metalware manufacturer Guy Degrenne.
Nestled inside a box marked with a red circle resembling a royal document seal, Kingdom’s bottle was a sleek object that could be laid down at various angles, a combination of convex and flat surfaces, of reflective and refractive materials. Its stainless-steel outer layer was even hinged so that it could open and close over the inner bottle.
The result was the effect of an inverted glass heart, the color of blood and rubies, encased within a durable, even armor-like, metal shell—an object of desire and power.
[This is a new series of posts considering perfume bottles as works of art and design. More to come!]
“Alexander McQueen launches first perfume: Kingdom.” FashionUnited, January 17, 2003.
Emran, Olivier. “Patrick Veillet, celui qui mettait de l’art dans l’objet.” ToutMa, February 11, 2013.
Lloyd-Jones, Trevor. “Fragrances: Alexander McQueen Launches First Fragrance.” The Moodie Davitt Report, April 16, 2003.