For the New “It” Coupe, It’s Hip to Be Square

Most cocktail glasses are designed for function. They’re often based on classic styles–like Collins and Old-Fashioned glasses–that are suited to specific drink types, and while particular glasses may play with color, texture, and detail, we rarely mess with shape. On the other hand, the internet’s favorite glass of the moment, the square coupe, is a statement without a clear purpose. It’s a striking visual anomaly in a world of rounded, bowl-like coupes and vampish, V-shaped Martini glasses. This is why it has been popping up on social media, where utility and style are secondary.

These days, the Crate & Barrel Edge coupe, with its razor-sharp rim and long, thin stem, seems to be edging out Eve. It’s currently back-ordered until October. The Edge, with its more sculptural, streamlined design, seems like a natural evolution of Eve, especially since Crate & Barrel is CB2’s parent brand. Unboxing videos abound for both.

Over the past few years, there have also been plenty of competitors outside the Crate & Barrel universe. Ikea has a similar, even more alien design that’s inspired a slew of content, set at what looks like an ’80s-era Miami condo or atop a terrazzo tabletop or featuring slow pans and an overhead shot that I can only describe as clubby. And, of course, there are dupes.

New York-based blogger and content creator Camille Wilson of The Cocktail Snob first noticed modern takes on coupe glasses trending a few years ago, around 2019 or 2020. She cites the Eve coupe from CB2 (“a perfectly square fluted version”) as an early inflection point; it kept selling out.

One thing all of these coupe iterations share, Wilson says, is a “mature silhouette” that adds a sense of occasion to any beverage. “Even if you’re drinking, like, juice, it’s going to make your drink look really, really sophisticated,” she says. It can do wonders for your can of Poppi or a Coke, too. The shape seems particularly well-suited to nonalcoholic drinks, which can lack the sense of ritual and anticipation that comes from stirring a Martini.

Though the social media masses are into stylish, svelte takes on the coupe; the pros still aren’t sold on them. Philadelphia- and New York-based art director Kelsi Windmiller, whose clients run the gamut from cosmetics brands to restaurants, says that unconventional glassware can be a hard sell to beverage companies. The bigger the brand, she says, the more likely it is to be afraid of using “newer, more interesting stuff.” After a recent shoot, Windmiller and frequent collaborator Ian Loring Shiver decided to create some images for fun, using props the client had nixed (a “proportunity,” as they dubbed it), including the Edge. She says that glass, in particular, is challenging for clients because, to look its best, it’s limited to just a few angles. It’s impactful when shot head-on, but move the camera up or down, and it “gets a little wonky.”

For her part, Wilson likes the Edge for use in photos and video but less so when it comes to drinking from the glasses. “If you’re trying to be a little bit more practical and have guests over, I don’t think it’s exactly the best shape,” she says. “It can be a little awkward.” The squat, sharp cylinder atop a stem tends to spill when in motion. This probably explains why you’re much more likely to see a square coupe at home than out and about.

Though the emergence of ultramodern coupes precedes the pandemic, Wilson believes their sustained popularity as a category stems from renewed interest in preparing–or even just lending an air of ceremony to pouring–drinks at home. The steady stream of designer glassware collaborations, including Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s designs for Ghia and Molly Baz’s creations for Crate & Barrel, point to a growing market for dressing up home bars.

For many, glassware is less of an afterthought than it used to be. Squared-off coupes are uniquely urbane in design, but domestic in use. They don’t really make sense out in the world, but their impracticality is less of an issue and more of an asset when enjoying a drink in your living room. After all, the more restrictive the glass, the more you have to slow down and savor what’s in it.

Impractical and uncomfortable, the internet’s favorite statement glass is nevertheless coming for your next round.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *