Laduree's Kerrie Hess packaging, in stores today. Photo: supplied
MC: How did the collaboration with Laduree come about?
KH: We first talked about it a couple of years ago. I was in Paris for my first solo exhibition and I got an email from Laduree about meeting up and having a chat about collaborating. Their head office was only a couple of streets away from my hotel. It was fate! Of course I can pop in, I said. I was like a kid in a candy store. Going there and meeting the team was even better than I expected.
MC: How does it feel to see your illustrations on the iconic Laduree boxes?
KH: Wonderful. It’s a dream to work for one of my favourite brands. When I used to live in Paris I lived two metro stops from Laduree in the Champs Elysees. I would go a couple of times a week and get take away macarons. I’ve been a fan for so long. It’s such an honour to do the first Australian packaging illustrations for Laduree.
MC: Have you always been a fan of Laduree?
KH: Always. My first visit was a long time ago. I used to visit Paris every year, even when I wasn’t living there. I remember the first time I went [to a Laduree store] I got a Saint Honore, a decadent choux pastry thing. After the first bite I thought, oh my god, this is heaven. I used to dream about that pastry when I was back in Australia! It soon became a real guilty pleasure for me when I lived in Paris, I would grab a pastry, sit on my balcony at my apartment with a cup of tea, watching Paris go by. So many good memories seem to come with Laduree pastries in them!
MC: Did you know instantly what you wanted to draw on the boxes?
KH: Well, it’s a collaboration so there was a lot of back and forth involved. We discussed Sydney – the city’s style and landmarks – mixed in with Laduree’s signature pistachio green and pink colour scheme. We wanted to keep things pastel. The Opera House was a given, but the little bulldog is a nod to Paris, I think. And the girl’s style is very much that cool, Sydney girl. We wanted there to be a lot of green in the picture as well, as a nod to Sydney’s beautiful nature. It’s the perfect combination of Sydney and Paris.
MC: The Australian packaging comes with the release of a new, special Australian flavour: Macadamia. Have you tasted it yet?
KH: You know, I haven’t, to be honest. I think they’re keeping it under wraps. But I’m dying to try it. My favorite is salted caramel and I like Vanilla too. I think macadamia will sit somewhere in between those tow.
MC: Macarons have been having a moment for a while. Why do you think people love them so much?
KH: They’re such a sophisticated little treat. They make me think of Paris and the wonderful Parisian lifestyle of boulangerie-hopping and elegance. I’ve always love them, ever since I first discovered them on a trip to Paris many years ago. Plus: they come in the loveliest pastel colours and they photograph beautifully.
MC: What are the best places in Australia for francophiles like you to get a French cultural fix?
KH: I am a Francophile, aren’t I? [Laughs]. Okay, well I think the renovated Intercontinental in Double Bay has a real Parisian feel. It reminds me of the hotel courtyards in Paris. Laduree Sydney for macarons, of course. A pink and gold high tea at the Langham in Melbourne. And pastries from French Twist café in Brisbane followed by a wander through the Woolloongabba Antique Centre for vintage treasures.
Laduree's Kerrie Hess Australian-themed packaging, along with the macadamia flavoured macaron, are available in stores today.