Sunday, December 4, 2016


Christopher Lee Sauve [photo source]

Of the creative minds fusing street art with street style, pop culture and social activism, Christopher Lee Sauvé has risen to infamy on the coattails of cartoons and celebrities. Starting off at Adbusters Magazine, a move to NYC  and a t-shirt citing "Save Anna" (at the the time of big bank bailouts and uncertainty over the editorship of American Vogue) grounded his success with fashion favorites and spawned projects with Madonna, Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Furstenburg, Alexander Wang, among others. Known for his subversively-insulting-but-sincere style statements, Sauvé's creative palette embraces iconography as modus operandi, best placed to represent "the commercialization of celebrity" where "we no longer see celebs as people, but as the sum of parts packaged and sold to us" as noted by NOW. Sauvé expands, "For example, you can take Marilyn Monroe and simplify her abstractly into lips, a mole, a curl of hair and an eyelash, or Bowie and his zigzag" [source]. Keep reading for our conversation with the art director / illustrator / designer on artistic interpretation, color and contention...

Rendition of an icon--CLS Madmaus iconography [photo source]

Controversy is no stranger to the world, the presidential candidates or... your work! Is it a conscious choice to incite excitement through contention, or merely a natural element of being a "designer?" What is fashion to you, and what inspired you to interact with the style scene the way you do? For your fashion tees, why Mickey and Terry?

For almost any designer, it's only natural to raise at least a little contention through your work. Whether it's blatant or subtle, you quickly learn that if you aren't pushing boundaries, then you aren't turning heads or garnering attention. You're not offering a new perspective to the world. And, you need that attention in order to survive professionally. 

It's up to that artist/designer on just how safe they want to play to each unique audience. For me, personally, I fully support pushing work that creates a store, as long as it's exhibited with compassion. Fashion as always influenced the work I focus on the most. It's an industry I've connected with on both a love and loathing scale. We get one another. Fashion is important because it's the best way to display your individuality. I enjoy poking fun at the industry when it's taken entirely too seriously which happens far too often. Yes, we absolutely need fashion. But the world would continue on just fine (especially ecologically) without it.

Mickey and Terry are just more examples of how there's an underlying seductive or taboo nature in anything mainstream. I've featured these characters in some of my work because they are perceived so uniquely depending on your audience. Are they good or are they really bad? That's up for you to decide. Juxtaposing art with commercialism is always fun. They are controversial but undoubtedly recognizable, that's for sure. And neither of them are going away anytime soon.

T by Alexander Wang lookbook; Christopher Lee Sauve designed the brand's print collateral from 2009-2012 [photo source]

Montreal and New York City both have bagels, a "Village" and places of historic significance. As a City dweller both North and South of the Canadian border, what stands out about each? How do you compare the style scene here (NY) and there (CAN)?

New York is universally known for its fashion forward scene. You can't really compare it to any other place in the world, even outside of that. She's this tragically chic, illustrious enigma. And to experience her is uniquely personal. 

Canada is my homeland and the birthplace of so many great comedians. There is a certain whit that only happens in Canada. Mike Myers just wrote a book called 'Canada Which I Love.' Also, my favorite pop artist, Douglas Coupland, is Canadian. For music, of course I am a fan of Montreal native Leonard Cohen.

Madonna and entourage wearing CLS [photo source]

There are a lot of posh and pretty people in the world. What draws you to a celebrity or a brand? What celebrity do you admire and who would you want to collaborate with? What has been your most 'creative' collaboration to date/how so? Are there any prime projects coming down the pipeline? Will you design another 'fashion' line, or will you stick to art direction or will you try something different in 2017?

I'm drawn to eclectic, exuberant, fierce, hilarious, humble, gloriously insane and positively influential leaders of their own little worlds over just another pretty face. Anyone can be an Instagram star, but not everyone can command organic respect. Every collab I've been fortunate to be a part of has only lifted me professionally so it's hard to single anyone out. Some of the latest work I did for Marc Jacobs and also Madonna was pretty coll though. 

Plenty of new stuff in the works, but you'll just have to wait and see... I can't say just yet where my next major creative move will be, but I hope to do all of the above and then some!

Studio Sauve [photo source]

Digital has changed the way people interact with each other, and the world. Has it changed the way you do 'you?'

Digital evolution has only made me better at my craft because it's always evolving, so you must follow suit in order to stay ahead of the curve of supply and demand. There are already preteens that can code in their sleep. Gotta stay sharp. But I've always stayed true to CLS. Don't fix it until it's broke.

Artwork for Riotgrill Festival [photo source]

Color is both descriptive and expressive. What color(s) do you identify with/why?

Black and black. Is there a better color? Oh wait, scientists did discover an even darker black recently, right?! But yea, it's difficult to argue with a chicer color, really.

Scandal by CLS [photo source]

Five Favorites, and 3 words to describe yourself.

Faves: Good Coffee; Great Art; Damn Good Books; Rare Sneakers; Hazel, my French
Myself: Love to laugh; Driven; Curious

Christopher Sauvé at PAMM Miami, April 2016 [photo source]

Anything you want to offer up on philosophy / background / family/ inspiration / dislikes...

Canadian by birth. Art and design freak. Lover, not a Fighter.

Art direction for Under Armor [L], Art direction for Marc Jacobs S/S 2016 Fashion Show [C], Illustration + Design for Juicy Couture [R]

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