Kitsuné and Pernod have teamed up to celebrate the relaunch of absinthe, that anise-flavored spirit that Hemingway, Van Gogh, Modigliani and a host of other artists and drunks were all so fond of. The drink got a bad rap and was banned in the US and most of Europe since the early twentieth century, but the prohibition on absinthe is over, and it’s making a comeback. To celebrate la fée verte’s relaunch with Pernod, Kitsuné designed a capsule collection of clothing and accessories for men and women featuring a print that would also appear on the bottle. The print itself is vivid and playful: suited to breezy, boozy summer nights. SSENSE spoke to the print's creator, Lucile Troquet, a French-born London dweller who splits her time between print design, styling, fashion consulting, and just generally being winsome.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to do your first print for Maison Kitsuné?
Gildas called me up one day and started asking me questions about the print design work I had been doing for A.P.C. He heard Camille Biddault Waddington praising the MADRAS for A.P.C. prints, and knew that I had worked on them. He asked me if I could send him examples of my work. He then explained to me that Pernod had approached Maison Kitsuné about a collaboration. Up until that point Kitsuné had never done any print so there was a concern – how were they going to design a print that could work both on glass and on cloth? Gildas gave me his trust and the design project went really fast and smoothly.
How did you translate the spirit and history of absinthe in the print itself, and did you have any absinthe to get in the zone?
The ritual of how the liquor used to be prepared and enjoyed was looked into, of course: I started to draw Pontarlier glasses, absinthe spoons, fountains, sugar cubes...in order to bring together both Pernod and Kitsuné I finally decided to go for a lighthearted depiction of a fox in flowery absinthe foliage.
Tell us about your creative and technical process for print-making.
I was not involved in the technical side of the print making, I only designed the pattern. I made one pattern to fit the bottle as well as a repeat to go onto cloth. I was told there weren’t any restrictions when it came to colours, so I didn't hold back! I heard later that it was quite a nightmare for the team to achieve the print. I think I would have suggested less colours had I known we weren’t going digital. I am however delighted now that it is so multicoloured! The bottle also was hand-painted. Pernod found the only artisan in France able to do such a thing. It makes the limited edition bottle such a very special object.
Your personal style seems to be playful, too. Is there a personal element to this print?
I do like to play-act with my clothes. It may be perceived as quirky at times, poetic at others. Friends have described me as quintessentially French but with a love of British eccentricity. Peut-etre? When I draw a print it is usually quite intuitive but I always make sure I would want to wear it myself. Even though there were discussions with Gildas on how the absinthe print should look, I really felt as though I was given carte blanche to do as I pleased. As a result I think I made something that naturally appealed to me.
If you were to turn your life into a print, what would it look like?
I think a print of my life would definitely contain an aspect of trompe l'oeil or narrative illusion. There are always different roles that people play, even in day-to-day life. I'm definitely someone who enjoys creating an extra layer to whatever my daily routine might entail. A print of me could perhaps be a flowing floral in surprising colours with hidden characters among the bloom, or an energetic geometric print that reveals secret messages between its rhythmic angles and shapes...
Clockwise from right: the Kitsuné x Pernod bottle; Lucile's hand-drawn Kitsuné portrait, the Kitsuné x Pernod print; Lucile's fashion consultancy for Kitsuné resulted in this embroidered sweatshirt for FW 2013.