A Conversation with Yoon Ahn from AMBUSH
We talk to Yoon Ahn, Tokyo-based creator and the co-founder and creative director of the fashion label AMBUSH, as we celebrate her new collaboration with Moët & Chandon. This partnership between Moët & Chandon and Yoon is particularly momentous because it is the first time in 152 years that the iconic bottle of Moët Impérial, the House’s signature champagne born in 1869, has been redesigned by an artist. We discuss the partnership, the inspiration behind the design and the charitable cause this collaboration is supporting.
You have lived in many places before settling in Tokyo which you call home now. Would you define yourself as a multicultural artist and why?
I was born in Korea and grew up as an Asian-American in the US and Korea. I had the chance to be exposed to different cultures because we moved a lot, my father being in the US army. After college, I moved to Asia. Today, I live and work in Japan. I value my multicultural background, and I consider myself lucky.
What did your own multi-culturalism bring to you in this collaboration with Moët & Chandon?
When I first moved to Japan, I was making jewelry and fashion inspired by the streets. The spirit of collaboration is very natural to modern streetwear styles. For me, this collaboration with Moët & Chandon was mainly about channeling multiculturalism so that we could embrace a very diverse consumer base and bring a vision that is both modern and all-inclusive. There are no borders when you are a creative in a world that is interconnected. I feel that Moët & Chandon is very much connected to this notion of a global community of people that is diverse, without regard to borders. With this collaboration, the goal was precisely to embrace cultural diversity, something I was happy to do because it was based on a shared vision.
For this collaboration, you went outside of your “comfort zone” with a first collaboration with a “wine & spirits” brand. How was this first encounter with Moët & Chandon, a champagne House with a 278-year heritage?
At AMBUSH, we are not afraid to look outside our comfort zone. We have always embraced new visions. But we only accept collaborations where we can learn something new. This is indeed my first collaboration with a champagne House. Although champagne is a completely new world for me, I was curious to learn about Moët & Chandon and its champagne-making heritage. What made this collaboration with a 278-year old company so meaningful, was that it was based on a mutual respect and the desire to tell a compelling story. That is what makes any collaboration genuine. It cannot be just about marketing because today’s consumers are savvy. We have tried to create a new synergy which is a great way to communicate shared values.
How did you meet the challenge of bringing your innovative touch to a heritage House like Moët & Chandon? Did you see this collaboration as a way of “breaking the rules”?
I am a rule breaker by nature. But I am always true to myself, whether it is at AMBUSH or in collaboration with another brand. I always strive to be genuine. When Moët & Chandon offered me this incredible global platform, I knew that it was my responsibility to express my philosophy in a genuine way. It is also a “rule-breaking” move for such a prestigious French Maison to associate its name with a modern creative. It was daring and pioneering, and I respect that because it is also a genuine move for the House.
What was your inspiration for the redesign of the Moët Impérial bottle?
I brought the essence of AMBUSH to my design for the Moët Impérial bottle. That is really my driving force. I wanted to conserve some of the truly iconic codes of the bottle, like the tie, but I played with elements like color and label to make an impact. This Moët & Chandon bottle has always been identifiable by its golden neck, so changing that color to black was quite drastic. I then contrasted it with a new all-white embossed label, to produce an eye-catching design that suggests a blank slate, like a window onto a future filled with possibilities for those who dare step forward. It was a strong and impactful move because it allowed me to achieve the clean modernity of stark contrasts, which is at the heart of my designs for AMBUSH. It makes for a striking design that is sharp, uncluttered…and very contemporary.
This is the first time Moët & Chandon has chosen to support a charitable cause in a product collaboration. Tell us how you came to choose World Land Trust as the charitable cause to benefit from this collaboration?
This collaboration was truly eye-opening for me. On my visit to Epernay, I saw the devotion of the people at Moët & Chandon to nature and to their precious terroir. This inspired me to select the World Land Trust to receive the support of the House, so that together we could help preserve other terroirs around the world. Our Moët & Chandon x AMBUSH collaboration will preserve the Canandé Reserve in the Ecuadorian Chocó, one of the world’s most threatened tropical forests and a place as biodiverse as the Amazon rainforest. Only 2 percent of this forest remains today, still inhabited by 10 percent of animal species found nowhere else on the planet. The support from our collaboration will have a direct impact on stopping the deforestation of the Chocó, not just for the sake of its fragile species, but also to combat one of the causes of climate change.