Pierre-Louis Mascia

Pierre-Louis Mascia

Pierre-Louis Mascia S/S21 - Photo Credit: Francesco Brigida

SOL sat down to chat with Toulouse based Pierre-Louis Mascia, a trained illustrator and graphic designer and now founder and creative director of his eponymous brand Pierre-Louis Mascia.

The initial collection of scarves launched in 2007 thanks to a chance encounter with the Uliassi brothers, owners of the historical Achille Pinto printing factory in Como, has now morphed into a full lifestyle brand that includes menswear, womenswear and more recently homeware.

Each collection is driven by Pierre-Louis’ personal research and the inspiration he gathers from the world around him, offering a cornucopia of vibrant and bold motifs and colours, allowing for each piece to take on the appearance of a modern day peinture à l'huile.

For the FW 20/21 Maison collection Pierre-Louis envisioned a fictional character who takes refuge from the frenzy of reality, withdrawn inside a castle in the middle of a dense forest. The collection’s deep and accentuated colours and patterns give life to a nocturnal, introspective and intimate mood.

You can view the full collections on the Pierre Louis Mascia website here and follow the brand’s colourful world via the official instagram @pierrelouismascia.

A special thanks to Next Agency Milan for allowing this feature to take place. @maxzarasterck

Tell us a little bit about the story behind Pierre-Louis Mascia?

After my degree at l’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Toulouse I moved to Japan where I travelled to learn the Japanese traditions and applied arts of painting, dyeing and paper making. Going back to Europe I started my career as a graphic designer, mixing other art disciplines like music, theatre and dance. My illustrations technique brought me to work for Neiman Marcus, Galeries Lafayette and magazines like Vogue US, Elle France, Surface, the British Fashion Council, Camera Della Moda Italiana and fairs like Premiere Classe, Who’s next and Tranoi. This has brought me to consult for fashion brands and to develop my own visual universe, with a clear vision of a silhouette and a way of decorating and dressing up. Meeting the Uliassi brothers, owners of the Achille Pinto printing factory in Como, Italy, and understanding what we could do together brought me to create a collection of scarves and in 2007 the Pierre-Louis Mascia brand was born. The collection that started with scarves, developed into a menswear and womenswear collection as well as a lifestyle collection including homewear and a project for brand extension in other projects that will be presented during 202.

How does ‘unpredictable classic’ express itself through your designs?

My entire creative philosophy is “unpredictable classics” - I don’t work based on trends but I design through personal research and inspiration. I strongly believe in the beauty of graphics and colours, so definitely printed colorful “classics” should be staples in all wardrobes.

Your work is a plethora of colorful motifs and patterns- is there a particular visual image that you can recall from your past that hugely impacted you and pushed you to follow your vocation?

My work is based on research, through what I see in nature, in a museum, by reading a book, going to a vintage store or a market in Toulouse: this way my visual universe is perpetually mutating, changing with the experiences I have, my travels and the things I see. Even in these troubled times I managed to travel, without moving, because I trained my mind through images and even by simply reading a book I can see new worlds that inspire me and my collection. Even a book about sociology makes my mind travel in space and time, taking inspiration through the colors of a stone and the name of the wind, teaching me lightness and the importance of having strong roots.

As a Fashion Designer whose brand ethos crosses over between Fashion, Art and Design, Aesthetics plays a vital role- what does it mean to you on both a professional and personal level?

My work is very intuitive and more focused on a certain design element rather than a certain aesthetic. I can be inspired by everything around me and at the beginning of my studies my work was a kaleidoscope of different shapes, colours and textiles but when I delved deeper into my craft to observe how I experience life and also how to gain self-fulfilment, I started to focus on one specific element of design; being shape. I focused completely on shape and actually liked what I had created because it was so thought through. That is why I also work solely in black and white so that I can focus on the movement and the shapes around the body without distractions.

Pierre-Louis Mascia

Pierre-Louis Mascia S/S21 - Photo Credit: Francesco Brigida

As a Fashion Designer who merges Illustration and Design, Aesthetics plays a vital role - what does it mean to you on both a professional and personal level and how does that play out in your collections?

My work ethic and creative process is essential to produce the PLM collections. Each season I develop around 15 to 20 patterns, inspired by my research and vision, and that subsequently becomes a printed decoration that I apply on both menswear and womenswear collections on different items: the bomber jacket, the skirts and pants, the shirts, the kaftans, the padded kimonos, the knitwear collection and most of all the scarves and shawls collection.

Can you take us through your creative process when doing up with a new collection?

It can start with anything from a book I'm reading, a painting in a museum, from a garment in an archive to a flea market in a village in France, where I live and work. I am fascinated by cross- inspiration, ancient music and art, crafts and literature. It's like a personal storytelling, a story that you have to find a way to translate and express: it all starts from expressing emotions, emotions are very important.

Tell us a little bit more about your current collection Pierre-Louis Mascia Maison.

The Pierre-Louis Mascia Maison collection comes at a crucial moment, when the concept of HOME opens up and virtually embraces the whole world. When the perimeter of our homes become all the space travelled during the day, the need for that space to become the most wonderful place on earth is no longer just a dream, but something that must become a reality. For the FW 20/21 I managed to envision a fictional character who takes refuge from the frenzy of reality, withdrawn inside a castle in the middle of a dense forest. The collection is nocturnal, introspective and intimate, with attenuated colors. Everything is printed with the 18 signature prints that are fully covered by copyright in order to protect the patterns from being copied. The patterns are developed on silk twill, shiny velvet and soft compact wool cloth. Alongside the plaids, printed front and back and the printed silk feather-light douvets, the core of the collection is a wide range of pillows, enriched with bows and tassels.

Pierre-Louis Mascia

Pierre-Louis Mascia, Maison Collection F/W20 - Photo Credit: Thomas Betrand

You are currently moving into lifestyle with the new collection Pierre-Louis Mascia Maison, can you tell us a bit more about this and how do you envision the brand in years to come?

My vision for the future is to have a complete lifestyle collection covering different products with interesting partnerships with different artisanal producers and brand extensions where my signature prints can be applied to virtually anything, considering that I see the world as a way to convey a vision and a colorful place to live and be happy.

Which piece is your favourite from the new collection Maison?

My favourite piece is always linked to silk: it is the printed duvet, colorful and light to use on the bed or to cocoon yourself into, like a soft and colorful protection.

Pierre-Louis Mascia

Pierre-Louis Mascia, Maison Collection F/W20 - Photo Credit: Thomas Betrand

Where can one keep up to date with the world of PLM?

The best way would be on the Instagram page @pierrelouismascia where you can also go to the e-commerce page of the site.

And finally if you could be summed up in one of your pieces - which one would it be and why?

My work in the last years has been focused on developing a wide series of products, clothing and homewear with Achille Pinto that has taken my brand and helped me develop my dream, making it real. Nonetheless my favourite piece is always the scarf: it can be any size, from the classic long scarf to the fringed shawl and the big wool blanket, but the first item produced in the collection is my favourite: it is a two dimension decoration applied on cloth that turns into a 3D object where the design is distorted and turns into something else like a morphing experiment that never ceases to surprise me.