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IWTB Interview: Isabelle Oziol De Pignol

It is my privilege to share with you my two most favorite posts ever to grace the IWTB sites: exclusive interviews with the two brilliant artists who illustrated our site banners — Isabelle Oziol de Pignol (IWTBAR and IWTBAA) and Hogan McLaughlin (IWTBAB and IWTBAC). I am so honored that these talented people have chosen to work with me and it is my distinct pleasure to feature the art of Hogan and Isabelle now in hopes that you will enjoy learning more about their work and their lives. My heartfelt thanks, Isabelle and Hogan, for sharing your gifts with all of us.

Introducing Isabelle Oziol de Pignol

Not only is she established at some of the best fashion houses, Isabelle is also a masterful illustrator. She is the epitome of what you would imagine a beautiful French woman to be — sexy, smart, and chic, all the while making her intricate and stylish illustrations and everything she does appear effortless.

Isabelle also has her priorities in order, as she puts her family first, yet she truly is a force in the world of art, illustration, and fashion. As you see in her illustrations, including those for the banners for I Want To Be A Roitfeld and I Want To Be An Alt, she has the ability to bring life and creative energy to people by putting pen to paper. While some might believe this can be learned, I believe it is a natural gift and one that Isabelle possesses with magic, whimsy, and beauty.

Isabelle Oziol de Pignol

Where did you grow up?
I grew up on a small French island, lost in the Indian Ocean and called “Île de la Réunion.”

Was your early life nurturing creatively or did creativity happen organically?
I was not born in a “family of artists.” I am the only one who draws.

Has illustration always been a dream? If not, how did you evolve into this?
I didn’t think about illustration. At the time of choosing a career, I said: “what I do the best is drawing, let’s find a job which needs to draw.”

Did you study design or illustration to begin to carve a path for yourself or did you just naturally have the ability and sense?
As I like fashion too, I studied at the famous French school of art and fashion “Duperré.”

How did you first begin? Where were you, what made you want to take pencil to paper and create?
I started as a fashion designer in the mid 80s. I became specialized in menswear, climbing the steps and after a long time at Balmain, I became a freelance designer in charge of the menswear department of Balenciaga and the casual department of Burberry in Japan for seven years. It was exciting to be part of the adventure, to wake up those old houses, to work with Nicolas Ghesquière and the Burberry staff from London. But my son had some problems of health and I needed to be often near him. So I decided to stop working and care for my family. Some years after when everything was OK, as I was wondering if I would work again, one of my friends asked me to create a blog. It became so successful that now people are asking me to illustrate. I finally changed my job!

Do you remember your first illustration? If so, what was it? Do you still have it?
No, I don’t. 

What do you most like to use to draw?
I prefer using pen, basic and classic stuff, actually.

Are you more interested in art or in the people you draw?
I like the society. People I see are a tremendous source of inspiration.

How do you find meaning in what you do as an illustrator?
I feel myself (as much as I can) as a society observer.

What or who inspires you?
The street, early and edgy adopters, designers are inspiring me.

Is there something specific you feel the need to capture in each of your illustrations?

What drives you?
The purpose to tell a story drives me first.

What do you feel the attraction is to fashion for women? Why are we so obsessed?
I don’t really know. I would say that it is an easy way to become nicer and a language: the first way to show to others that you are cool, or trendy, or even rich… at just a glance.

Are you a fashion addict? Why? Are you always the first to buy the latest fashion or do you have a distinct style of your own?
I used to be a fashion addict. But now, getting “old,” I prefer style than fashion.

What do you think fashion will be like in ten years?
What a big question! Who knows?

(I prefer to answer in French if you don’t mind)
La mode vestimentaire n’a pas eu depuis 15 ans les changements spectaculaires des decades post war (40’s, 50’s, 60’s…) auxquelles nous étions habitués. Ce sont plus les comportements des consommateurs (engouement pour les produits de luxe auprès de la classe moyenne), des systèmes de production (essor de la globalization des marques comme Zara, Gap, H&M) et de diffusions (eshop) qui ont changé la mode.

L’accroissement de la démographie et le manque de matières premières comme le coton qui commence à se faire sentir, vont peut-être provoquer de gros changements dans notre façon de nous vêtir. Encore plus de recyclage, de vintage, d’utilisation de stocks de tissus vintage… Et peut-être un accroissement de productions locales.

Do you have a favorite illustration?
Not really.

Can someone learn to be an illustrator if they have only average drawing skills?
I think so.

What advice would you give to a novice artist who yearns for more?
To be self-confident and to keep an “open eye” to the world that surrounds you.

What can we expect to see from you next?
At the moment, I'm illustrating a web site, as well as a new collaboration with Luxury Edition, the press group who is producing magazines for "the leading hotels of the world" (for France and Italy). Nice and easy to illustrate the next trends. But the most important for me is the work I'm planning to do with "La Tribune et Moi" the fashion and culture "supplement" of the French economic newspaper La Tribune. I'm starting a story showing the daily life of a trendy, posh, and eccentric designer. Should be published in October. A very challenging opportunity!

See more of the work of Isabelle Oziol de Pignol

Isabelle Oziol de Pignol illustrations and photographs by Mirko Albini © 2011 Isabelle Oziol de Pignol. All Rights Reserved.

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Reader Comments (18)

love the sketches, love the photos ... love the stories
7 septembre 2011 | Unregistered Commentermadeleine gallay
I am so loving seeing the work of various artists on your site! I loved this interview, so interesting to read of Isabelle's start & the evolution of her career. Bravo!
7 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLee
OMG! I deeply admire her, drawing style, way of thinking. I am so happy to read an interview of a such blogger
7 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMadame M
Thank you for your comment, Madeleine, I am smiling because you loved it.
7 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
I so appreciate your kind comments, Lee, delighted to hear this from you.
7 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Thanks very much, Madame M! I share your admiration, Isabelle is a bright, talented, and gracious woman.
7 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
this is so inspiring I can't even express with words how much I loved reading about Isabelle! what a talent she is!
7 septembre 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdara
love your comment, thanks, dara! that's how i felt after reading your email earlier, too! i feel so lucky to know all of you inspiring writers and artists. rilke ends one of his duino elegies with that inexpressibility. i once thought it was laziness but now i understand. i have to dig it out for you speaking of laziness. Oh so glad I looked...

"...But this: that one can contain death, the whole of death, even before life has begun, can hold it to one’s heart gently, and not refuse to go on living, is inexpressible."
7 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
This is fantastic and inspiring. The illustrations are wonderful.
7 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Thanks a lot, Kate! I appreciate hearing this from you.
8 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Another woman to admire...
8 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca
Absolutely, Francesca, Isabelle is amazing! Thanks for your comment, dear.
8 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
I adore Isabelle !
She's very talented and she's an adorable person !
9 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStéphanie
wonderful interview. lover her illustrations.
13 septembre 2011 | Unregistered Commentercca.
Stéphanie, thanks a lot for your comments! She certainly is.
13 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Thanks very much, cca.! I love knowing that you enjoyed it.
13 septembre 2011 | Registered Commenterkellina
Isabelle ! Bravo ! C'est une belle interview dans laquelle on te retrouve tout à fait ! Et, comme d'habitude, les illustrations soin sublimes ;o)
18 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine
Bravo Isabelle, je suis très fière de te connaître et dans chaque ligne de cette interview je te retrouve : simple, sincère et sensible. Je suis ravie que ton talent soit ainsi reconnu. Je t'embrasse et à très bientôt.
18 septembre 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLili Bellule

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