skip to Main Content

Art Watch : François Berthoud

François Berthoud is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth – watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch. 

Who is François Berthoud

François Berthoud is regarded as one of the leading names of the fashion world, renowned for his original and vigorous style, that emits a certain vitality. Notably, before embarking upon a career in design, François working for some of the biggest names and brands in the industry like Yves-St-Laurent, Chanel, Givenchy or Prada. Born in Le Locle, Switzerland, the illustrator turned fashion designer lived for 18 years in Le Locle itself. 

He completed his education from the School for Graphic Design in Lausanne in 1982, and post left to pursue his calling and passion, fashion/illustration. To his work, owing to his training he brought a novel approach and his work remains in high demand and highly coveted for his quirky, sensual approach to his subject.

Some of his illustrations were commissioned by the immensely influential and talented Anna Piaggi for Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair. The rest as they say was history, since then his work has appeared in many of the leading fashion publications.


Initially in his career, Berthoud went to Milan, where he illustrated cartoons for the ‘Alter-Alter’ and ‘Linus’ comic strips. 

It would come to Berthoud as a great honour to hear the words spoken about his work by his mentor Anna Piaggi, who has lauded and appreciated his style. Writing about him she says “While François illustrates fashion in an apparently formal and decorative way, in reality he analyses his subject in depth and with an elegant sense of detachment before recreating it in his atelier-laboratory…. he experiences fashion with a sharp sense of irony and a visual culture rooted in conceptual art. But his style is totally now!”

In a tribute to Anna, it must be said that her magazine Vanity, which emerged in the 1980s, was unique for the entire industry and would make waves in the history of fashion.

“The Vanity experience has been crucial for me. It was the first issue after Antonio Lopez and I was very young and unknown then. Many other assignments followed and it launched my career. Anna Piaggi was a very generous person. She had a creative mind and she was very curious about anything new. She believed in new talents.” recalls Berthoud with a great deal of fondness.

Berthoud’s painstakingly produced and meticulously arranged linocuts and his expressive drip paintings and elegant computer graphics have graced the face of countless advertising campaigns. His work is to tirelessly present the conceptual aspect of fashion, maintaining a strict line between the edge of eroticism – which he claims to be all important, and a softer approach. 

François largely worked from his studio in Milan, before he set up his own in Zurich, in 2007 when he returned to Switzerland.

For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – do not miss the ART WATCH

Back To Top