Lucie De Moyencourt is an artist, architect, illustrator, writer and an avid bike rider. Her story reads like a classic novel. Born in Paris to a ballet dancer mother and antique dealer father, she grew up in Cape Town and attended the French school in Hope Street with her brother.
From there, Lucie went on to study architecture at UCT before going to Paris to paint. She returned to Cape Town last year and is currently working at local architecture firm DesignSpaceAfrica on the design of five Cape Flats train stations, a project that will transform commuter experiences and public spaces.
When I met Lucie, I couldn’t help but like her. She’s super talented, but then again it’s in her blood. In between it all, she manages to create artwork that is colourful and full of life – just like her.
When I arrived at Lucie’s Sea Point apartment, she opened the door with her signature red lipstick and a beaming smile framed by untamed locks and wearing what looks like my mother’s wedding dress. But my mother would not have worn hers with sneakers.
I bought this for my birthday party from a second-hand store. Isn’t it lovely? It’s Django meets Pride & Predjudice in Matjiesfontein.
And with that she offers me tea and a piece of warm banana bread.
Her home is full of quirky pieces, each telling a different story. One is titled ‘love is never thinking it might end before we do’ by one of her favourite artists, Charming Baker. There’s another that stands out – an illustration (below left) by her French grandfather Andre de Moyencourt, an illustrator and a man of fashion.
We chat about fashion, art and life but the conversation always goes back to family. Her space, her clothes, her décor and her whole being are a perfect mix of her Parisian heritage and her love of SA. She wears rich African fabrics and prints with pride and undeniable Parisian flair. I see this in her work too.
No red lips, no Lucie?
‘I have been wearing the same colour for six years. It is the only one worth buying and it has transformed the attitudes of many girls who say that red lipstick does not suit them; the matt-est most saturated red colour is M.A.C’s Ruby Woo.’
Her Sea Point apartment has the most beautiful light and is filled with her own and others art, a space to get lost in and one that you don’t really want to leave.
Lucie’s illustration of her artist friends apartment, where she stayed in London
We chat about her current exhibition at Salon 91 (on until 22 June), ‘Collections and Archives, A group painting show’.
This collection was inspired by a three-month stint painting inside the magical and unique Deyrolle, a taxidermy and naturalia shop in Paris. It was further fuelled with post break-up newfound time and energy for escaping into the world of oil paints. This bright and expressive body of work forms part of my ongoing love affair with the Rue du Bac, quirky animals as well as turquoise.
Do you have a favourite?
‘The Bunnies are always my favourite. Anything with a bunny is usually my favourite!’
Lucie will show again from 24 June at Salon 91. Expect to see a pack of white lions walking across a starry sky.
What’s on your iPod?
‘Everything from Rachmaninoff to Ace of Base, with a lot of Tommygun mixes in between!’ (Tommygun is her brother and ‘the best DJ in the world’.)
Your biggest inspiration?
‘My tennis-playing, limerick-telling, succulent-expert, girls picking-upping 89-year-old legendary grandfather Tom Bromley.’
When you’re not painting or working, where can we find you?
‘On a dance floor.’
Fashion wise, I am a chameleon. Most things I have were given to me. My mom has two friends in Paris who are serious shoppers. Once a year she will come to Cape Town with her treasures, little Ralph Lauren shorts and the most beautiful pieces. The jackets are from her, I even picked up a Jil Sander blazer.
This neckpiece is intended to be worn on the head. It is 1950s Xhosa beadwork embellished with pins of ballet dancers. The strange hybrid of beads and kitsch is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and something only my treasure-hunter dad could have found.
This bag is special. My dad picked it up with his razor-sharp eyes, possibly at the Milnerton Market. Amazing isn’t it?
Photographs: Cindy Taylor