A few years ago, the ultimate urban status symbol, a sign of complete coolness, was the disposable coffee cup with cover. We carried them like conquerors, especially when going to our jobs, with our portable resting between our necks and our cheeks. We unashamedly admitted our need for caffeine in the street or in the subway. There was another episode, briefer, but just as strong, for a large transparent plastic glass with a domed plastic top. This time it allowed us to see –better for our photos—a flashy smoothie or latte, preferably made with matcha, since its color is so nice on Insta. With these “healthy” drinks we strolled along, a yoga mat in hand and a serene look on our faces of someone who has just come from meditating.
These pre-Greta Thunberg antics have been swept aside by a newcomer: now, it’s over, the single use container, we’ve discovered the water bottle! It is in its virtuous company, tucked in a back pocket, in a backpack, thrown in a shopping bag, or in a bike basket, slung on a wrist, or indolently hanging from a string, we now take them everywhere with us in the city. We pose them prominently near to our computers in co-working spaces. We coordinate them with our athleisure clothes. We bring them out for lunch with our glass containers of roasted veggies. We can’t get enough of them. How did this tacky survivor of trekking and the torments of camping (before the advent of the super van and chic huts) accede to the enviable stature of “coolest accessory” and collector’s pieces (like the collaboration Rainbow Evian X Virgil Abloh) or even designer (by Supreme or Prada amongst others)?
For once Le Futiloscope doesn’t have to go looking all over for reasons, the explanations are everywhere! Firstly, to fill your water bottle from the tap instead of buying plastic ones is a small eco-anxious militant gesture, as easy as can be. It permits economizing 156 bottles per year and per head, and that’s not bad. But it’s nothing compared to the narcissistic gratification that owning it can provide. After the personal iso-thermic mug, precursor of the trend, the new market for the water bottle is entertainingly sophisticated. We’re far from the ugliness of the plastic bottle of before or from the embossed metal ones of the scouts. We have neo-thermoses of ethereal beauty in pastel colors, organic arty designs, bio filters in binchotan charcoal here , or so chic ceramic purifiers there…In the US there are even debates between purists over the qualities of the “wide mouth”—so practical for cleaning or ice cubes—versus the narrow neck which allows sexy little gulps…Some customize theirs with stickers, proof that for the millennials the fetish has passed from their Macs to their bottles! There are cult brands like the American pioneer S’well, 200 sorts, especially the version faux wood, which is a big hit (it’s in all the Parisian concept stores). In French we don’t dare call a bottle a bottle: more and more we use the term reusable bottle, a real shame!
The bottle has a rapport with the sex of the user as well, it’s frankly refreshing in these times to see that. Guys, for example, are tempted by metal bottles by Gorpcore (see our preceding post), those that like the mythical Super Sparrow that give them the impression that they’re part of the tribe of Jack (London), rather than part of a start-up team of vegan yogurt sellers. Gals have a more aesthetic vision, they like glass, transparency and the refinement of the beauty of the concept, like filters that allow them to infuse herbal teas or diverse peels…besides, if the famous BKR that influencers brought back from New York 5 years ago, are now on sale in Sephora, it isn’t by chance. Some people have water bottle collections, one for every situation…! There are even sublime versions—the “Marble” from S’well for example—can be found at the trendy chic dinners used as water pitchers. And there, Le Futiloscope is really amused: that an object of no waste has become the new pretext for consummation, with no strings attached, it’s just too good to be true!