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Louis Marie de Castelbajac

Monochrome with surprise details

The artist-designer who melds history and pop culture.

Artist-designer Count Louis Marie is a descendent of the Castelbajac family and resides in the Chateau de Loubersan. Son of designer Jean Charles and nephew of Bill Chambers, he was raised between Paris and a certain English milieu. At present, he lives in Paris and New York.

Born of a French father and Norwegian mother, his existentialist aesthetics take divergent paths: “Co-existing in me are the Nordic strength and the comfort of a Europe that is more refined but less skilled in the art of survival”.

Primitive strength and sublime sophistication, a double track along which he has pursued his work as art director, broadly speaking.

He started out in 2007 with the Panda Kunst T-shirts carrying political slogans, followed by Le Void, a line of knitwear and T-shirts with plays on words. Then came the bags designed for Tyler AlexandraEllis, now known as l’Armagnac. His own line, the one with the 700 label created in 2013, is partly the reason for his comings and goings between France and New York in a systematic alternation of world capitals and mental worlds.

With young de Castelbajac, and thanks to l’ Armagnac, a foray is made into the world of art with a new series coming upshortly. In the meantime, his curriculum comprises the drawings, photos and collages exhibited in Paris in 2009 entitled The Anatomy of 1, followed by the works of The Blood, the Bow&Arrows of Desire, in which the violence of the media provide food for thought.

Driver of creativity: “The fragile side is the most developed. And fragile is what you have to be to grow”.
Art direction: it’s art expression, definitely.
Armagnac: a tribute to the French region in which it is produced, and from where I come. The 700 label celebrates the 7 centuries of the world’s oldest liquor.
What his home has to say: Louis Marie’s cabinet of curiosity melds history with pop culture, original letters by Alexandre Dumas with robots and drawings “things I have done with Keith Haring”, the boat model standing above the fireplace comes from the French Naval Ministry and the sofa is shaped like a boxing glove.
Eclecticism: A way of describing reality.
A useful address: the flea market of Saint Ouen, boat section.
His collection: war maps. Through these maps, ancient places tell of lives sacrificed to save others. Mine go from the age of Napoleon to the World Wars, and as far as Vietnam and Iraq. It is interesting to trace the simplification and development of messages as technology progresses.
His film: Kanałby Andrzej Wajda, winner at Cannes in 1957 with an escape through tunnels excavated in igloos: “Fatalistic and claustrophobic”.
His style: my DNA is a combination of elements in conflict and so is my style: the basic “assumption” of a classic style with flashes fromthe 70’s and 80’s.
His monochrome: it concentrates all of your strengths and who you are in one colour. The one you choose in the morning governs your whole day. It implies a subtle form of control: it is my wearing black that makes the day so.
Always: brown buckle fastened shoes (often) with matching belts (always).
Never: trainer shoes and never three colours in the same outfit.
Today’s colour is blue: jeans, T-shirt, tailor-made close-fitting blazer.
Signature trait: gloves, to be worn on a motorbike for instance, or with a T-shirt.
His the hat: destructured Borsalino models without a contrasting band, but strictly in the monochrome of the day.
Favourite colours: orange, white and red.
His style secret: never take things entirely seriously, always flaunt a humorous touch.
The detail: the suitcase is all important. Socks in an unusual shade to contrast with the colour scheme: orange or purple.
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