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François Berthoud Exhibition

GG Zurich
GG Zurich posted on September 1, 2011

Zuri Girl had the wonderful opportunity to interview and tour the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich (Museum for Design Zurich) with Christian Brändle, their Museum Director and Curator of the current exhibition: François Berthoud, The Art of Fashion Illustration. 

Although the name, François Berthoud, might not ring a bell immediately, anyone who has picked up an issue of Vogue or perused through fashion catalogs, has come across the glamour, seductiveness and creativity of this world renowned Swiss fashion illustrator.  Berthoud, original interested in graphic design and comic drawing, moved to Milan and in 1983 became Art Director for the publishing house Condé Nast. After spending many years working in Milan, New York and Paris, he returned to Zurich and has been running his own studio since 2008. One of his most recent works you likely stumbled upon was his portrait of the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, which appeared on the cover of New York Times Magazine.

The Museum for Design Zurich is the first museum to showcase Berthoud’s work in a one-man show and Brändle explained how, after meeting at a book launch 3 years ago, he was so impressed by Berthoud’s beautiful, intricate designs that he was inspired to share and showcase his talents.

The current exhibition presents Berthoud’s work in a field of tension between fashion, accessories and a subtle eroticism. Berthoud is a creative genius at transforming clothes, shoes, handbags, perfumes and accessories into illustrations for magazines, advertisements, packaging and campaigns for fashion’s finest, from Yves Saint Laurent and Bulgari, to Ferragamo and Viktor & Rolf to Christian Dior.

The exhibition examines the intricate process behind Berthoud’s work, enabling you to capture a glimpse at the precise details involved in each step.  Although computers are commonplace in fashion houses these days, Berthoud continues to work by hand as shown throughout the exhibition by the many, unframed pencil sketches. He feels “Compared to photography, illustrations offer more room for the imagination”.

The exhibition is divided into 3 main programs.  Upon entering is a specially produced 20-minute film that follows a sketch to its final product.  This is quite impressive as it really provides insight into the intensity of each creative step and you can see Berthoud in his workshop during each phase. The Museum team sorted through over 300 items to help create this impressive video.

The second and third parts of the exhibition narrate the creative process by displaying sketches and final prints as you travel through each stage including examples of his hand created color palettes to final store display packages.  The displayed selection of work, while all similar in their classy seductiveness also range in dynamics from the Zürcher Ballerina to the Balenciaga Runway to the Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris

If you are interested in fashion, art and the creative mind or simply intrigued by glamorous and enticing drawings, then this exhibition is sure to inspire you!

Exhibition Information

Francois Berthoud – The Art of Fashion Illustration

Until 9 October. Tuesdays – Sundays 10.00 – 17.00 / Wednesdays 10.00 – 20.00

Museum for Design, Zurich. Ausstellungsstrasse 60, 8005, Zurich.

CHF 12/ CHF 8 (reduced)

Special Events:
On 14 September at 6pm, Francois Berthoud and Christian Brändle are hosting a special event in English, “When the picture begins to breathe – insights into the work process”. This event is included in the entry cost on the 14th.

Additional Information: View the official website



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