Maxime Büchi is a modern-day renaissance man, creating his own social movement through a clash of aesthetics, literature, and street style, but mostly tattoos. His name alone rhymes with some of fashion’s best. Sure, the Swiss-born, London-based skin artist will beautifully inscribe a girlfriend’s name in a cushion of filigree, but could just as easily immortalize a Renaissance painting or an esoteric Masonic symbol in a client’s unsuspecting flesh. Just ask Michele Lamy, the heavily inked wife and muse of Rick Owens, who raves, “Maxime is an artist and great craftsman. My next tattoo will be a Büchi!” We caught up with the international gent of mystery…
When did you first realize your passion for tattoos?
As a child I was hyper-aware that personal style would be my medium for self-expression and identity. I grew up in Switzerland with free-spirited parents who supported my desire to experiment with many mediums. I followed my interests, which lead me to fashion, tattooing and eventually the beginning of one of my magazines, Sang Bleu.
Tattoo art has had a strong influence on fashion of late, especially menswear. Why do you suppose that is?
I think tattoos have become increasingly relevant in men’s fashion because it is a subculture that has become engrained in youth culture—for both men and women. My first memory that links fashion and tattoos is Jean Paul Gaultier and the Canadian model Ève Salvail. If you consider how important tattoos have been in the punk movement and California gang culture, it was only a matter of time for it to be integrated into fashion.
How did you enter the men’s fashion scene?
Kris Van Assche produced a collection named after my publication, Sang Bleu, in 2008. Then I worked on several logos for fashion houses such as Rick Owens, Damir Doma and Silent by Damir Doma. At Mugler last year I art directed the first campaign with Rick Genest, in collaboration with Nicola Formichetti. My type-design company B+P Swisstypefaces also designed the new Balenciaga logo. Soon I began tattooing a number of people in the industry, including Lea T, Jason Ferrer, DJ Mike Nouveau, Marcelo Burlon, Cassette Playa, Nicola Formichetti, and Boris Bidjan Saberi.
What are your picks from the Paris men’s collections last month?
In no particular order, because I detest choosing favorites, I liked Thom Browne for putting on an amazing theatrical production. It was the perfect combination of punk, kink, and menswear. Dior Homme was authentic to the design of Kris Van Assche. I identified with all the clothes at Rick Owens, a storm of self-expression that’s also wearable. Givenchy embraced the hip-hop and nouveau-gangsta style that appeals to my inner hustler. Last but not least, Dries Van Noten blew my mind and I can honestly say I want everything!
Lastly, on a personal level, what do you find sexy?
Intention. Anything that is done with intention, whether a thought or action.