Icy Ling, CEO and Co-Founder of IC & Co

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12 Aug 2023

Since Alice Bastin was appointed as Waterford’s Creative Director in 2022, she’s been committed to shaking off conventional views and misconceptions about decorative crystal and injecting a new age of artistry into the two hundred year old brand. Alice’s previous roles at luxury fashion houses Chloé and Celine, as well as her most recent tenure at Alexander McQueen, have placed her in an unrivalled position to reimagine Waterford’s heritage through unexpected collaborations and impactful visual brand storytelling, creating campaigns with a refined, timeless and understated luxury sensibility.

Music is an emotional thread that is constant in Alice’s creative work for Waterford and the brand has partnered with the Luther Vandross Estate and Primary Wave Music to launch a special Luther Vandross x Waterford crystal collection. Inspired by the lyrics of Luther’s famous 1981 Platinum single, Never Too Much, the design of the collection’s crystal cuts reference the song’s lyric, “...A Thousand Kisses From You Is Never Too Much.”

Luther Vandross is internationally regarded as an American music legend and the voice of a generation. He had the unique ability to write and sing about the sentiments associated with love and express the shared emotions everyone feels in their search for love. Love of family, love of friends or the love for someone special were all themes Luther explored regularly and by doing so, his music often reached and touched people at the most joyful and memorable moments of their lives.

The emotive music of Luther Vandross combined with his heartfelt and soulful lyrics have inspired Alice to direct a campaign that connects people of all ages, genders and beliefs. Bastin has created a culturally relevant visual brand narrative that reflects the social conversations happening in today’s diverse world. Through Bastin’s fashion lens, the campaign art direction is a celebration of inclusivity and diversity and begins to explore Waterford’s ambition to bond generations.

The partnership with Luther Vandross officially launched in Philadelphia this April when Waterford joined with Primary Wave Music to support a charity event hosted by the Luther Vandross Foundation. The charity luncheon provided the opportunity to preview the brand’s partnership with the Luther Vandross Estate, a collaboration that sees the Luther Vandross x Waterford crystal collection launch this August on waterford.com and with exclusive retail partners Bloomingdale’s in US, David Jones in Australia, House of Waterford in Ireland and Harrods in the UK.

Waterford was the lead sponsor of the event, providing the brand with an opportunity to support the work of the Luther Vandross Foundation through a charitable donation. A demonstration of Waterford’s commitment to actively encourage and lead cultural conversations around diversity and inclusivity. Introducing the partnership through a corporate social responsibility initiative was a considered decision by the brand to encourage conversations about the collaboration to focus on the brand’s core values. Waterford is about creating an inclusive space where identity is defined by an individual’s personality, attitude and sense of style, rather than their age, ethnicity and gender.

It was an honour for Waterford to be able to help the Foundation succeed in its aim to change lives for the better and through the brand’s sponsorship of the inaugural luncheon, Waterford was able to support the Foundation’s ambition to provide financial assistance and educational opportunities to under-represented communities. Helping talented individuals to express their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit by giving bursaries to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the US.

Reflecting on the partnership with the Luther Vandross Foundation, Waterford’s Creative Director, Alice Bastin, says “music is an emotional thread that will be integral to our new brand narrative at Waterford. Luther’s music has inspired and bonded generations and his legacy lives on through the important work the Luther Vandross Foundation does. It’s incredibly important to me that Waterford supports the work of the Luther Vandross Foundation and promotes cultural conversations around diversity and inclusivity. It is an honour for Waterford to be able to contribute to the important work of the Luther Vandross Foundation and to give talented students attending HBCU’s the financial aid to further their passions in education.”

During the luncheon members of the Foundation and past recipients of Foundation bursaries, as well as members of the Luther Vandross family and estate, marked individual kisses on a decanter and with the help of a Waterford Master Craftsman attending the luncheon, each kiss was hand cut in the crystal decanter to create a truly unique and original piece. It is intended that the decanter will be auctioned at a later date and all p roceeds from the sale will be donated by Waterford to the Luther Vandross Foundation.

David Gottlieb, Manager of the Luther Vandross Estate shares his thoughts on the collaboration “this unique collection honours Luther Vandross's timeless legacy, beautifully capturing the spirit of his music in each crystal piece. It's more than just barware, it's a testament to Luther's profound influence on music and his ever present essence in our lives."

Inspired by the Luther Vandross Foundation bespoke decanter, Luther 81 X is a limited edition collection featuring a decanter and pair of tumblers, each design is hand cut with a graphic pattern of multi single karo kiss cuts. Only 81 pieces of each design have been hand blown and cut by Master Craftsman at the Waterford factory in Ireland. The limited edition pieces are hand finished with an etched Luther Vandross signature, collaboration logo and a bold single karo kiss cut on the base.

Honouring the music and legacy of Luther Vandross the craftspeople at the House of Waterford have also created a bespoke crystal art piece that pays homage to 80’s vinyl and celebrates Luther’s 1981 debut album Never Too Much. The one of a kind wall mounted 12 inch crystal disc is displayed on a steel and brass backplate, emphasising the 81 polished precision cut track grooves and the detailing of the disc’s hand etched centre label featuring Luther’s signature.

The collaboration’s cocktail and barware collection, Luther 81, features a unique thousand point karo cut design. Each set of two crystal glasses, including tumblers, martini glasses and champagne coupes, are individually decorated with 500 karo cuts and every piece in the collection is finished with a bold hand cut single karo kiss on the base.

Commenting on the partnership and collaboration with the Luther Vandross Estate, Lisa Fruggiero, Vice President Brand Partnerships at Primary Wave Music, a strategic partner of Waterford, says “Luther Vandross's genuine affinity for crystal always mirrored the crystal clear quality of his voice and spirit. Our collaboration with Waterford beautifully symbolises this, adding a level of sincerity and elegance that embodies Luther's legacy in a unique, tangible way."

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