A drink with Garance Thiénot & Speedy Graphito

Sep 17, 2020 • 5 mins

On a sunny spring day in relaxed surroundings, with a magnum of champagne chilling, Garance Thiénot and Speedy Graphito met in the courtyard of the “Le Clos” bar in Reims, on the invitation of philosopher, Gérard Lemarié.  

The first sip of champagne

A prickly sensation on the tongue and a bit of acidity is what Speedy Graphito recalls from his first sip of champagne. He was around 12 years old at the time and this was at his elder sister’s communion. A very special drink for a very special occasion! The family very rarely drank champagne which gave the beverage an aura of luxury along with a feeling of transgression, as only adults were allowed to drink champagne.

With a mischievous glint in his eye, he remembers how the taste of it gave him goosebumps: “I felt like I was drinking a forbidden drink”. Speedy tells us that this first glass of champagne was like a rite of passage for him. Just like the children in a tribe picking up their weapons to go off on their first hunt, being allowed to drink this precious nectar was, for him, like stepping into the adult world.

As for Garance Thiénot, her first experience was not in the savannah but in Champagne, her home region, at a family meal during which the young girl and her cousins would finish off the champagne left in their parents’ glasses, in secret, of course, as it tasted better that way! There must have also been a first time when Garance felt these prickly bubbles on her tongue, but her memories are not as clear as Speedy’s since, in her family, champagne was not just reserved for special occasions. But she always felt privileged to be part of this very special world. 

Crossing paths

Speedy Graphito has had art in his blood since a very young age. ”My first drawing was in kindergarten, during nap time. I have kept it to this day”, he tells us in his soft voice. However, the reason for Garance’s choice of career is less clear. Whilst in some Champagne families, the babies’ lips are wet with this precious elixir to immerse them in the world of champagne from the moment they are born, this was not the case in the Thiénot family. Garance forged her own path. She had a creative streak and dreamt of becoming an artist. However, her love of champagne grew with every tasting and little by little the puzzle started to come together. “Of course, I loved champagne from the start because my father was always talking to me about it – it’s part of my emotional makeup - but I only gradually came to realise that champagne was my destiny”, she explains. So champagne it was, yet without losing her artistic spirit.

Speedy’s fresh, youthful spirit perfectly embodies our champagne house’s new ethos!
Garance Thiénot

A sparkling encounter

Because Thiénot is a young champagne house, Garance wants to appeal to a younger consumer. It therefore seemed natural for her to call upon a contemporary artist to achieve this, something that has rarely been seen in the world of champagne. She wanted to challenge our preconceptions but refused to take the easy route. An encounter must stir up our emotions and open the doors to our imagination, and this is precisely what happened when Garance met Speedy. The magic was there right from the start. “We listened to one another, we spoke the same language”, they chime in unison. The more Garance told him about the champagne house and the plans for its future, the more it sparked Speedy’s imagination. The young woman bravely decided to give him free rein, her only prerequisite being that the experience should be fun, festive and exciting! 

The tasting experience

 The “Speedy Graphito bottle” is a mix of flowers, colours, characters and hidden words. “It’s as multi-layered as the champagne bubbles themselves” explains the artist. He has given the bottle a unique identity whilst adding his personal touch, proof that Speedy has really taken the cuvée and made it his own. What’s more, this champagne has not tasted quite the same since he left his mark on it… The worlds of champagne and contemporary art have come together. Garance certainly took a gamble but she is more than happy with the results.

With the magnum bottle, a symbol of sharing and perfect for collectors, we are now able to reach those who would never have set foot in a contemporary art exhibition.
Speedy Graphito

Just the beginning…

In light of the success of this venture, Garance could have chosen to work with any other artist as this project offers endless possibilities. However, true to her values, she wants the collaboration to have a lasting impact. “It’s Speedy and no-one else, because he’s in touch with his inner child. He’s playful and fun. There’s a certain purity about him. We’ve a beautiful relationship and truly understand one another.” Speedy did not have to think twice before agreeing to repeat the experience. Each edition is limited edition. This adds value to the project and makes it all the more special for both partners. “It’s true that 3,000 bottles are not a lot, but that’s actually 3,000 works of art!” Garance reminds us. Sharing, emotion, creation, each and every sip tells a story written together by Garance Thiénot and Speedy Graphito. Both the inside and the outside of the bottle promise to be a sparkling experience that will continue to excite our senses.