Water: the new collectible
There’s nothing more fashionable that inviting a friend to enjoy a… glass of water! As long as it has traveled from afar and costs a lot! Believe it or not, water has become a must-have product for trenders, to be enjoyed alone or with friends.
Some are sourced from the springs around Dandridge in Tennessee, the Catskill Mountains in New York State, and Cape Grim in Tasmania. Others are found in the depths of Norwegian glaciers, in Serbia, Iceland, or Fiji. This is artesian water drawn from mineral springs, sterilized with ultraviolet light, obtained “without the slightest human intervention,” “saturated with oxygen,” and blessed according the Kabbalistic rites. These different waters from faraway lands are sold for the same price as a renowned grand cru. Some cost more than 100 dollars per liter, presented in vials, flasks, carafes, and often served at prestigious “water bars.” Originally launched by Colette Paris, the former iconic hotspot for the world’s fashionistas, the concept quickly attracted a loyal following and saw other bars open in New York, Montreal, London, Toulouse, and Lyon. This H2O frenzy linked to healthy living and a tiny waist was largely driven by celebrities in the U.S.A., where there are more than 120 different brands of bottled water.
In its role as an ambassador for a healthy lifestyle, the bottle of water became an integral part of looks and styles flaunted by all self-respecting celebrities – just like the classic pair of tinted sunglasses. “I don’t leave the house without my bottled water,” was the message seemingly screamed by magazine photos. (And of course, the bottle in question had to be rare and expensive). Madonna supposedly spent as much as 10,000 dollars per month on her Kabbalah-blessed bottled-water habit! Water is now a star in its own right, and the Berkley Springs International Water Tasting Competition continues to award prizes every year. The trend has also created new professions. Martin Riese is a water sommelier who found fame and fortune by introducing clients at a renowned L.A. restaurant to waters from Slovenia and Denmark. The world’s collectors have even caught the bug, and the number of “aquaphilists” and “aqualabelophiles” – respectively, collectors of water bottles and their labels – has grown exponentially!
Needless to say, the future of H2O seems crystal clear!