Interview with Fashion Illustrator Nicolas Tavitian

Nicolas Tavitian – Fashion Illustrator


Fashion Illustrator Nicolas Tavitian kindly agreed to an interview with Style Voyeur and I am honoured to feature this post on the prominent Parisian artist.

It is not only cool because of his outstanding drawings and insight into the world of Paris fashion but also because we have become pals and since 2008 Nicolas has been following Style Voyeur. It is great we finally get to do something together.


The most enjoyable part of this interview was when Nicolas apologised for his English, stating: 

“Sorry for the mistakes…I’ve learnt English by reading Dazed and Confused and Interview :-)”


Illustration of WA’s Gemma Ward (above)


Name: Nicolas TAVITIAN

Age: Almost 30

Where did you grow up: I grew up in a small French town, the town of Saint-Chamond where I’m definitely considered as an odd chatacter. The odd thing about it is, the reason why I was considered as someone a bit wierd are the same reasons I can be considered as someone a bit interesting in Paris. That place was boring enough to make me draw a lot. It feels strange sometimes going back there but some people I love are still living in the town.

Where do you call home: Paris. But there isn’t a precise place. I feel at home where my parents or my friends are. I have been living in Paris for the past 6 years. n763809590_1191511_3152.jpg

One of Nicolas’ illustrations of his favourite model Kate Moss (above) and (below) Magdalena modelling a Jean-Paul Gaultier design.

Image taken by Nicolas Tavitian at Paris Fashion Week.


First fashion memory: I was about 7 or 8 and I can still remember very well. I was sat on a sofa with my sister watching a TV show. One of the guests was a new fashion designer considered as someone very provocative in the late 80’s. It was Jean-Paul Gaultier. He was speaking a lot, introducing Nana his heavily made up teddy bear to the host. Jean-Paul Gaultier was wearing a pink pleated skirt. Rather than a man spoiling his fun, I’d seen Gaultier as someone very funny. I’d never seen someone like him before.

What do you do: Basically I draw illustrations for magazines.

How long have you been a fashion illustrator: For the past 6 years now.

1givenchy1.jpg(Above) Givenchy Fall 2008 with Australian model Abbey Lee Kershaw leading the way.

How did you get started in the fashion industry and why: I was working for Agnes B as motifs creator for a line of tee-shirts inspired by famous actors. One day Agnes came to me to check my work and she said something like “I like this, I like that. You should be a fashion illustrator for magazines. Make a call to this friend…” She was right. It was obvious. So I spent a week all nights long to meet her friend with something to show..I’ve never felt really concerned by clothes or fashion items BUT I’d always been very very interested by the pictures, the people and the imagination that is generated by fashion.

Name some of the publications you work for: I work for several magazines and product packages like Agenda, WAD, French Glamour, NYLON, European Elle, Victory, Vanidad, Fake, Neo2 Magazine, Madame Figaro, Dazed and Confused, POP, IBM, Virgin, Barneys and Custo Barcelona.

Anna.jpgNicolas credits this image he took as “Queen of the bees.”

(Below) @ Dior Spring/Summer 2010

Dior.jpg You have pictures with the worlds top models and designers backstage at the Paris shows. How is it that you have come so close to this world by being an illustrator/artist: I go to several shows during each Parisian fashion week thanks to some magazines I work for. During the shows the most important thing to understand is the inspirations of the next season. What you want, what you don’t want anymore. It is sometimes very inspiring, sometimes decisive. It’s not only about pretty faces and champagne, it’s above all about work.

Who is the most fun person to hang out with backstage at the shows: Hmmmm…someone you know very well.

Karl.jpg  Someone confiding in Karl (above)

Natasha, Mariaclara and Magdalena backstage at Givenchy (below)

natasha,magdalena andmariaclara.jpg

Who is your favourite designer: I love Alaia. His clothes are made for seduction and perfectly built. I like Alber Elbaz for Lanvin and Haider Ackermann for his own line. They know how to introduce fragility and emotion to a dress. I love Dries Van Noten for his culturally diverse style. His collections are always very inspired and never turning around one silhouette or fashion item. I think he’s more interested in a continuity. He has always worked at not being today’s flavour only.


(Above) @ Lanvin

(Below) another shot taken by Tavitian. The last look on the runway at Alexander McQueen Spring 2010 before his tragic death.

Lee-McQueen.jpgFavourite Model: I like this question, maybe it proves that my love for models is visual through my work. It can seem a bit cliche’ but I love Kate Moss. I was 13 when I saw her face for the first time and I can still remember. Claudia Schiffer, Elle McPherson and all these boy bands defined the idea a lot of people had of the human perfection in the 90’s. An idea based on the perfect faces and super bodies with big tits and huge biceps. This picture of Kate Moss came immediately to me as a new proposal. She was like an Egon Schiele drawing. First time I saw her in real life it was like watching somebody out of my adolescence.

My interest for fashion pictures has grown through the ‘Top Models’ era of the 90’s. I was fascinated by these girls. Now models are different but very inspiring. Their beauty is more individual which is the reason, I think, their careers are shorter.

I love Mariaclara Boscono, she’s very intense, a flood of thoughts and enthusiasm. I also love Sasha Pivovarova and Australian Abbey Lee Kershaw, they are very inspiring.

Lara.jpg(One of my favourite models) Lara Stone backstage

Who do you admire for their style: To me style is not necessarily about well made clothes, cut out in luxurious materials, quite the reverse. I think someone styled well is a woman or man who’s able to express their personality, their own tastes with good sense of proportions, colours, details and grey matters.

Style is the ability to express (consciously or not) something abstract, deeply in harmony with your mind and what’s part of a current climate.

Some people I admire for their style include: My grand-mother    and     grand-father,     Christopher Walken,  Anita Pallenberg, Greta Garbo, Tilda Swinton,  Laus Kinski, Nina Simone, Steve McQueen,  Muiccia Prada,   Anna Magnani,       Charlotte Gainsbourg,  Patti Smith,   Lauren Hutton,   Leonor Scherrer,   Anthony Hegarty, Lee Radziwill, Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois, Helena Christensen,   Kate Moss,  Simone de Beauvior, Nancy Cunard, Emmanuelle Alt, David Hockney, Franca and Carla Sozzani, Nan Kempner, Melanie Ward,   Marina Abramovic, Venetia Scott,   Eileen Gray,   Anastasa Barbieri…     


What is on the horizon for you in your career: I’m working hard on illustrations for a line of cosmetics packages developed by the department store Barneys, in NYC. I’m inspired by the mid 50’s and je ne sais quoi of 2011. Fingers Crossed!    


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