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Gossip columnists can only dream of possessing the high-society access pass handed to Nicolas Ouchenir by virtue of his unusual talent. As the go-to calligrapher for many fashion houses, he is personally responsible for penning over 15,000 invitations every Fashion Week—and he’s made his mark on the tattoos, trees and even gravestones of various wealthy clients. Pip Usher meets the man with the golden hand.

Nicolas Ouchenir calls from the Cannes Film Festival and switches his phone to video mode so that a panorama of the Mediterranean before him can be appreciated. He is seated at a long table that has been laid for a lavish lunch. Giddily, he zooms the camera in on a place card scrawled in the elegant calligraphy that has made him France’s go-to man for all manners of correspondence. “Penelope Cruz,” it reads.

When the camera resumes focus on his face, he’s grinning. “It’s a good life, ” he says, glancing at the brilliant sunshine and spectacular views afforded from the terrace. Calligraphy—deriving from the Greek words kallos (beauty) and graphein (to write)—has long been an esteemed art form and Ouchenir, who counts Christian Dior Couture, Chloé, Chanel and many more of the world’s most storied fashion houses as clients, has built an illustrious career from his command of the fountain pen.

  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Marsý Hild Þórsdóttir

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  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Marsý Hild Þórsdóttir
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