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Pierre-Louis Mascia's Aesthetics of Refinement

Fashion illustrator Pierre-Louis Mascia speaks to Dazed Digital about his work and his parallel career as accessory designer.

Some of us may not be familiar with Pierre-Louis Mascia’s name, but at some point while leafing through a magazine, surfing the internet or going to a fashion fair, we have probably stumbled into his work. Mascia is indeed a renowned fashion illustrator and his clients include Neiman Marcus, Elle, Vogue US, Vogue Japan and Chanel, just to mention a few. His taste and elegance transpire from his illustrations, delicate collages and paper cut-outs characterised by modern lines, conciseness and timelessness. Mascia’s representation of female figures is striking: his women are imbued with allure, sensuality and a certain sense of chic aristocracy. 

The French artist launched three years ago his own accessory line. Mesmerised by a music bag he acquired and that had allegedly belonged to composer Maurice Ravel, Mascia designed ten versions of the same bag, creating a unisex item in two formats that quickly became popular. A collection of scarves with floral motifs and prints that evoke a sort of expressionistic style with intense and unusual colour combinations and bold strokes, followed, completing his accessory line and perfectly matching his aesthetics of refinement, luxury and distinction. 

Dazed Digital: Do you prefer working as illustrator or accessory designer?
Pierre-Louis Mascia: Deep down in my heart I feel more like a fashion illustrator. When I work as illustrator, though, I must understand who is my customer and what they are looking for, so it’s a completely different kind of approach. Working on my own brand allows me to be freer and mix fashion with my own passion for art, drawing and graphic representations.     

DD: When did you launch your accessory brand?
Pierre-Louis Mascia: Three years ago. I started with a bag inspired by composer Maurice Ravel. I focused only on this bag, producing different versions of the same model and this piece became rather successful. After that I imagined Ravel, a 30s dandy, with another accessory and added to his wardrobe a scarf. I felt it was the best choice, as a scarf allows you to mix your artistic inspirations - such as paintings - with the functionality of an accessory. I began working on different motifs, mixing cashmere, traditional patterns and paintings. It felt a bit like cooking, throwing into a cauldron different ingredients, it was fun yet very interesting.

DD: What inspires your patterns?  
Pierre-Louis Mascia: Often people who start contemporary brands have in mind modern fashion icons, but, when I create, I usually have in mind different kind of icons such as Maurice Ravel or Gustav Klimt. My inspiration comes from paintings or from artistic movements such as the Art Deco. There are many artists I love such as Kees van Dongen, Richter, Alphonse Mucha, Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Jenny Holzer, Peter Knapp and Tim Walker. I also love gardens, so I like floral motifs a lot and each season I try to develop beautiful pieces with flower prints. 

DD: What plans do you have for your future?
Pierre-Louis Mascia: My priority is to make high quality designs. My accessories are the sort of pieces that people want to keep throughout time, like Hermès’s timeless designs. That’s why at the moment I don’t have any specific plans apart from one, establishing my name and brand and staying in the market. After that I can open one or many shops, but, for the time being, I prefer to take things slowly and go step by step since it’s easy to become famous, but it’s also easy - especially in the financially critical times we are going through now - to go down and be forgotten.