Fashion influencer Camille Charrière, a contributing editor at Elle UK with 1.4 million Instagram followers, wore a couture Celine gown followed by an upcycled Harris Reed dress on the day she wed French film producer Francois Larpin in December 2021. The star-studded, vintage-chic fete — which was planned in only two months and covered by Vogue — was an artful mix of minimalism and maximalism. But the style element of the wedding whose impact has arguably lingered on the internet the longest is not the vintage-chic looks, or the fever-dream of a Parisian party.
It’s the wedding invitations, which were, incidentally, created by Orfeo Taguiri, a multidisciplinary artist originally from Brookline.
Nearly two years after Charrière and Larpin’s wedding, copycats and lookalikes of the irreverent, whimsical invitations — featuring a couple perched on a wine glass, and a knife and fork dancing under the stars — abound, with video instructions for how to DIY them, and others that are just simple rip-offs claiming the designs as their own. At the time of writing, a TikTok search for “Camille Charrière wedding invite” yields related videos with a collective 8.3 million views.
Taguiri spent his childhood in transit between New England and London with his American father, a Rhode Island School of Design professor, and his English mother, who practiced as a psychiatrist in both countries. Taguiri currently lives in West London, near Portobello Market, where he illustrates and creates fine art for gallery shows, from paintings to wood carvings, with a poetic sensibility.
In London, Taguiri ran in similar social circles as Charrière, who liked the style of his illustrations and wanted to commission something “playful and sophisticated.”
Taguiri’s work fit the bill. His illustrations are soft, inviting, and frenetic — they have a quality of being both moving and thoughtful, but also jotted quickly, almost unfinished — a laissez-faire sensibility he brought to Charrière and Larpin’s stationery.
Taguiri’s purposefully pared-down, casual, and minimal cartoons might be the antithesis of what comes to mind when one thinks of wedding stationery. He explained over a Zoom call that they are an effort at un-self conscious expression, created for a purpose outside of galleries and the art world.
Likewise, this deconstructed, playfully rebellious approach to art resonates with a deconstructed, playfully rebellious approach to weddings — a drive for today’s couples to treat their nuptials as a place for self-expression and creating personal meaning through their aesthetic choices — to make it their own.
Taguiri thinks the art choice is about a delicate balance: “There’s such a strong tension of embarking on this traditional decision and event, but trying to do it in a way that feels real and authentic — not old-fashioned, something that your grandparents did.”
He created several versions of the invitations for Charrière and Larpin; the cartoon of the canoodling couple sitting on the edge of an oversized wine glass arguably the most-cited by Pinterest admirers. “I had recently done a drawing for L’Uomo Vogue, so the idea of playing with scale and character around a wine glass was in my mind,” Taguiri said. “This invite was for the moment that would immediately follow their formal ceremony. I wanted it to capture that softness and loveliness before the whirlwind and fireworks of the evening.”
“This is definitely a trend in the industry right now — couples are leaning into quirkiness,” rather than, “societal norms, such as your parents’ tried and true calligraphic invitation,” says Sarah Lema, lead planner for Mavinhouse Events, an Ipswich-based wedding and event planning firm.
The wedding invitations were such a hit that they spawned countless copycats. “Every so often someone will tag me in something on Instagram or DM me and say, ‘By the way, this person’s done your exact image,’” said Taguiri. “Which can be strange to see. But a lot of people comment and say, ‘Is this the original?’ or ‘It seems like this one was published way before.’ And then there were also plenty of people crediting me.”
Many tried to recreate the invitations at home. The problem with becoming niche-famous on the internet — people are bound to rip things off. Or, find inspiration from them. Something Taguiri knows well, though, he said, “I think for the most part, it’s kind of a compliment.” (Charrière seemed less pleased with the replicas.)
On a TikTok reel with 30.9 thousand views, Toronto-based illustrator Julia Kun wrote, “Thanks! I designed and drew them myself with inspo from Orfeo Taguiri.” TikTok user @kelsey_inez designed similar invitations showing off her DIY approach, on her wedding invitation videos which have 25.6 thousand and 178 thousand views, respectively. On Pinterest, “cool girl wedding save the date ideas,” “garden party invitations” and “whimsical wedding invitations” yield similar results.
That said, the artist doesn’t mind the imitations. There’s a purpose to the drawings being simple enough that anyone could copy them; Taguiri said, “It corresponds to my belief that art or writing or any sort of creative practice is useful for everyone, regardless of whether or not you’re going to make money from it. I love the idea of a drawing that anyone could do — it seems to connect with a lot of people, because it’s speaking some sort of truth that they connect to.”
Lema credited the illustrations’ popularity to the trend of betrothed couples seeking “permission to think outside the box. You can still have a black-tie formal wedding without a stuffy invitation.”
“It’s a healthy mix of high-brow low-brow,” she explained. “It’s the McDonald’s french fries served on silver platters at the end of the night, custom designer sneakers worn with a party dress, a return to DJs instead of a 15-piece band. It’s about risk-taking — tossing convention to the wayside.”
After the wedding invitation went viral, Taguiri started receiving requests for commissions for wedding stationery — something he’d never received before Charrière’s. “It was meant to be a one-off thing,” he explains. “And once this thing on TikTok happened… a lot of people emailed me, and still every week I get multiple people emailing me.”
Almost two years later, he still receives at least five requests per week — ”which is quite a lot. That’s a lot.”
Taguiri says when he has time to work on the invitations, he’s happy to engage — and that it makes for a fun, collaborative storytelling process. “People will say, ‘We love our sausage dogs,’ or ‘He proposed while we were out on a boat in Central Park,’” he offered. “So, immediately, my mind goes to sweet little things I could do: a heart sailing into the harbor on a boat, or the two dogs wrapped around each other.”
Taguiri continues to create new large-scale art projects, as well as new illos. In spring 2023, Taguiri released Little Passing Thoughts, a book of over 350 of his illustrations, in an event at Yvon Lambert in Paris. He posts his gallery art on Instagram under @orfeot and his illustrations under @orfayo.
“I like to think that my strong suit is actually in idea generation,” he continued, “So when people come to me with whatever their personal story is, my response to that is something that someone else couldn’t copy. I’ll always be generating new ideas.”
Gina Tomaine can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @gtomaine.