Paris Haute Couture Week. Schiaparelli, Dior, Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier… He was sitting front row and, unlike many, he wasn’t doing any Instagram posts, or gushing over the collections with his neighbors. Instead, he had his head down, sketching frantically the looks he liked. By the time the show was over, or few hours later, his illustrations would be ready to be published at Madame Figaro.
His conference with Stéphane Leduc at the #FMD15 was last Wednesday night. Not that I didn’t expect much, his reputation precedes him, but… I was instantly hooked. Let’s put aside his gorgeous looks and style for a second*, he was expressing himself in a deep and soft voice, taking the time to think/talk through the questions that were asked, with sincerity and candid humour. Big Bonus Points for his constant references to Godard, Piccoli, Callas and many other intellectual magnates. I believe that’s when he won me over. The conference was beyond good, and just like every time when I meet or interact with someone who’s inspiringly successful, I couldn’t help but nod to the saying “Humility is the mother of giants”.
You know when you’re young, and dream/visualize something, then years later… You grow up and it kinda happens. Funny quick anecdote: A dear friend once told me he always dreamed of touching the clouds. He grew up, he became an airman and he was once flying in a cockpit when he realized he was able to open the window. He literally put his hands out and… touched a cloud. How did it feel? – Super wet, he said. Marc-Antoine started drawing when he was 2, and when he was still a kid, he’d draw Annie Cordy over and over again. She was his muse, He dreamed of her and he loves to call her one of the first women in his life. He grew up, he became an illustrator… then Annie Cordy’s official illustrator and photographer… How awesome is that?
All of them. They’re his heroines. His muses. Whether they’re beauty classics à la Catherine Deneuve & Romy Schneider or modern powerhouses like Ines de La Fressange and Marpessa. He would draw each one of them, and they’re a lot, with the genuine way he perceives them. In his conversation with Stéphane Leduc, he’d always say “I have a lot of tenderness for that one.” or “This one was my first literary love”… And what’s crazy, you can perceive his emotions very clearly in the way he portrays them…
I remember the first thing I told him when I met him: He speaks just the way he draws. There’s so much lyricism in his work/words, and then pouf… there’s that strong pencil or color stroke. It almost makes a statement, but I believe the main aim is to create some movement to take you into the scene, or the world that the illustration try to It’s never too much, never too little, just enough to balance the illustration and take you away through the perceptible emotion it suggests…
… And that’s no brainer. The references he brings up when he discusses are endless. And he can quote a french writer, then an english cineast, then an Italian Politician, then an American music Icon. His savoir is undeniably tremendous. It’s always something that impresses me.
*Picture a tanned guy, Ken-Hair, wearing a white shirt, jeans and black perfecto… I know, right?