One of the world’s most revered cognac houses, Louis XIII refers to time as its raw material. Its cognac is made from the finest eaux de vie, bequeathed by generations of cellar masters to their successors, and presented in decanters that have been mouth-blown by skilled master craftspeople.

Such is the brand’s reverence for time and its power to create, that it enlisted three creatives – couturier Guo Pei, filmmaker Mati Diop and singer, songwriter, and visual artist Solange – to demonstrate just how potent time is, in a film project entitled Believe in Time

Fashion designer Guo Pei. Photography by Cheyan Kim

Appearing at first to be the prelude to an epic tale of empires and galaxies, Solange’s narration of Believe in Time is reminiscent of her music, and is just as compelling. Sparking thoughts of poetry, power and pain, the film epitomises time as a powerful force of life and beauty.

Creation is presented as a marvel only mastered over time. Through the piece, we find ourselves having a newfound adoration for things as disparate as fire, music and the Himalayas, which leads us to eagerly anticipate what else time may offer. Most importantly, we understand that the most wonderful things of our world were distilled through time – a message that Solange poetically delivers.

Solange has long been a siren of female power, identity, and expression. Her 2016 album, A Seat at the Table, was pegged as a radically honest collection of personal stories, and introduced a visual language that is now characteristic of her work. The artist celebrates movement, experimentation, poetry and the Black female body.

For Believe in Time, she created an original track that was built in real time – starting with one instrument and gradually adding layers, sonics and textures. Through the building up of music, we are made to wait for ever-potent time to reveal the whole. 

Photography by Manuel Obadia-Wills 

Demonstrating the beauty of slowness, the film builds suspense, eagerness, and reverence through the simple enumeration of time and its products. By the end, Solange herself emerges as the centre of the piece, embodying Mother Earth and referencing the aesthetic form of the ornate Louis XIII bottle.

She appears in a custom garment by Guo Pei – the first and only Chinese designer to become a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture – featuring precious fabrics, rocks and metals and made with traditional Chinese embroidery techniques over a two-year period. It’s yet another demonstration that the best things are worth the wait. Indeed, Believe in Time leaves you as eager for a glass of cognac as it does for Solange’s next album. §