Talking Virtual Reality, Cognac, and Identity With These Superstar Twins
When you ask a world-famous dance duo about the importance of the self as identical twins, things get tricky—fast. The invisible or spiritual or even magical connection that goes beyond being siblings is a concept that you can’t (and won’t!) really understand unless you, yourself, are part of a set.
“We’re not just brothers. We’re twins,” asserts Laurent Bourgeois of Les Twins. At the tail end of a conversation with Esquire Philippines, both he and his brother Larry are doing their best to explain what it’s like to be similar but individual or independent yet linked.
“It is important to have our identity especially when we dance,” points out Laurent. “That’s what got us to the top. If we look the same, we’ll be a little too annoying because there’s no personality. We really show the world that I'm the best at what I'm doing and he is the best at what he is doing. When we are together...”
“...we complete each other,” interjects Larry, exhibiting in this small moment an eerie example of twinergy. He goes on about how they are totally opposite, how they get into fights about who has the best idea, and how they never agree about things.
“But we’re still twins...” emphasizes Laurent, who also remarks how you just don’t get it.
What you do get is this: It’s not the differences that matter nor the similarities but how these two things—contrast and synergy—in conjunction make things interesting. It’s what propelled the twins from the streets of Paris to Beyoncé’s The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. And it is with this limitless and seemingly chaotic energy that Les Twins steps into the world of Hennessy.
You can say they are here to shake up the 256-year-old cognac maker, and the first thing on the docket—which also includes performances, an original song and music video, a fashion collection, and special-edition bottles—was a very authentic virtual event.
Before this nighttime conversation (dark in Manila, afternoon in Paris), guests from around the world joined a three-day event to get to know the partnership. The twins make a point to say that both parties wanted to create something new, and so they pushed the boundaries of possibilities, devising a digital celebration that was experienced not through the flatness of Zoom but via Oculus headsets.
“Yo, hold on, hold on... the VR was crazy!” says Larry.
“It is crazy!” affirms Laurent.
“We got the world together!” adds his brother.
It was indeed a very special moment—entertaining, magical, and sometimes disorienting. Imagine: You pop on a headset in your living room and are suddenly transported to the garden, salon, and cellar of a French chateau. Laurent and Larry are here, and they’re not just conversing with you but also dancing circles around you. Before you know it, you’re in a sun-drenched patio, day-drinking with the brothers (Hennessy sent over a bottle).
Laurent only has good things to say about collaborating with Hennessy on the VR presentation: “It was a great experience. I would say, with Hennessy, I can finally see that everything I did before was worth it.” He explains how now, at 32, is the perfect time to do the partnership as it wouldn’t have been as “big” if he had done it at 21.
Larry, on the other hand, would like to talk about cheese. To clarify, he connects the experience to passion, specifically how the French are passionate about cheese: how it’s made and all that good stuff. With this experience, the brothers picked up another kind of passion: that of the careful creation of cognac by Hennessy.
All that passion and energy make its way to something more tangible: the Hennessy Very Special in Motion by Les Twins bottles. Hennessy did an excellent job of translating Laurent and Larry onto two glass canvases. It used motion capture technology to digitally record Les Twins’ live performance, created two designs that evoke movement, and then immortalized these on its cognac bottles.
The twin designs, which is a feat in itself as it is the first time there are two for one special edition, express the brothers suspended in motion, their bodies gently floating upward. One likeness features strobes of blue and gold light, while the other appears to be formed by sand in yellows, reds, and oranges. In keeping with the virtual reality concept, Hennessy also includes a “QR code that opens up the many facets of this movement experience to all.”
Also notable is how the very old brand adapts its codes for the partnership—a fact that only proves how Hennessy is never afraid to step into the present and even lead the charge into what’s next. Its bras armé, the halberd-wielding gauntlet that has been part of its logo since 1765, appears, for the first time, in double, mirrored and overlapping. The bottle’s font style is refreshed, too, transforming into graffiti-like letters that juxtapose nicely against the elegant Hennessy type.
That is beautiful but you’re here for what’s within: the cognac that has been slowly matured in oak casks and blended carefully. While neat is preferred in Esquire, Hennessy Very Special is well-suited for mixing. Why not try the twins’ concoctions? Larry’s CA Blaze is a fizzy floral drink (with elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and ginger beer), while Laurent’s Lil Beast is more suave (with almond syrup, lemon juice, and nutmeg). Whatever cocktail you down, it will be a taste of the undefinable energy that powers the twins and this very special pairing.
The Hennessy Very Special in Motion by Les Twins edition is now available.