Francois Berthold was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1961 and studied illustration in Lausanne. After receiving his diploma in 1982, he moved to Milan and began working for Conde Nast and for the fumetti comic-strip magazines.
Within a year, he was appointed art director of Vogue Sposa. He later became one of the principal contributors to Vanity magazine, designing nearly all of their covers as well as illustrating editorial features.
Woodcut for Emois magazine.
Berthold divides his time between Paris and Milan. In Italy he contributes to Linus, Alter Alter, Per Lui, Vogue Bambini, Vogue and Alfabeta. In Germany Manner Vogue, in France Globe and Emois and in the USA Interview.
His discoverer, Alberto Nodiolini, believes that Berthoud's talent is to know how to translate phenomena like Expressionism into a modern perspective. He makes them comprehensible even to the very young who perhaps have never heard of them.
He uses the unusual technique of wood-cutting for his illustrations. "I like engraving fashion plates because it is terribly paradoxical, using such a hard instrument, giving weight to each gesture, to render something as light, as evanescent as an article of clothing" he says.
He has also created animated cartoons for Italian television and held exhibitions in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. His woodcuts have a savage sensual quality. Their somber atmosphere is charged with eroticism.
He illustrates for many major fashion designers like Mondi, Missoni, Moschino, Krizia, Lacroix, Romeo Gigli, Prada, Vivienne Westwood and many others. The illustration on the right is from Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1987.
In the 90's, he started illustrating for the quarterly New York-based fashion publication Visionnaire.
Berthoud is happy to be a commercial artist, preferring the immediate communication with a large public that journalistic reproduction achieves to the solitary admiration of the occasional art-gallery visitor.