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VLF studio: Pihakapi

Work / Graphic Design

VLF studio’s characteristic bold, clean and imaginative designs

VLF graphic design and art direction studio was founded ten years ago by Thomas Cristiani and Antoine Roux. Distinguished by its bold, clean and contextually sensitive designs, VLF has firmly cemented its name in the fashion industry. Thomas and Antoine first met during their university years in 2005 and started working soon after as a Paris-based art and design duo. Antoine moved to London four years ago, however, transforming VLF into a company with bases on either side of the channel.

One of VLF’s latest projects is a striking campaign for newcomer Italian fashion brand Pihakapi, which debuted its first ever collection this January (2018) under the creative direction of Vejas Kruszewski. “We wanted to create a visual contradiction between traditional Italian couture aesthetics and futuristic, sci-fi imagery. Vejas is a young designer with a sophisticated vision so it felt natural to celebrate these contrasts in the brand’s identity,” Thomas and Antoine tell It’s Nice That. Pihakapi’s shapely logotype, for example, draws on engravings found on ancient Roman buildings, which the designers explain, grounds the brand in Italy’s century-old design history.

“On the other hand, the monogram’s round, elastic shape evokes a sense of newness and movement. Looking at standard great fashion house identities – Chanel’s double C and Saint Laurent’s YSL – we decided do the same with the letters PHP,” the studio explains. Instead of creating a simple, straightforward letter-based logo, Thomas and Antoine produced an elegant yet abstract monogram that bends and curves as if it were alive. “While shooting the campaign, we discussed how the pictures would work in relation to the logo with photographer Arnaud Lajeunie. We then started doing mockups on set and combining all the different elements. This allowed us to consider the angles we would need in order to emphasise the visual tension in the final compositions.”

Another recent endeavour, is VLF’s sleek campaign for fashion designer Véronique Leroy. In order to celebrate the French fashion brand, VLF decided to create a film for Paris Fashion Week instead of a typical show. The video was accompanied by a series of striking posters, which VLF created alongside the Leroy team and director Grégoire Dyer. “Our main reference was THX 1138, George Lucas’ first movie, particularly for its use of endless white environments in which actors seem to float,” VLF explains. Inspired by the bourgeois and the countryside, the team decided to focus on an individual model walking down a lonely catwalk and interrupted by shots of flat landscapes, rural houses and farmyard animals.

“The posters build on this contrast: a simple collage of a bourgeois woman and snapshots of the French countryside," VLF continues. "Once we finished the film, we needed create film posters for people to see when arriving at the theatre. Their composition is mostly inspired by Haneke’s movie Der Siebente Kontinent, and its simple film poster format – 120×160cm. The placards were then displayed in the glass boxes you find in movie theatre entrances.”

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VLF studio: Pihakapi

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VLF studio: Pihakapi

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VLF studio: Pihakapi

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VLF studio: Pihakapi

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VLF studio: Pihakapi

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VLF studio: Pihakapi

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VLF studio: Veronique Leroy

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VLF studio: Veronique Leroy