From Louisa to Laetitia
Behind every great man, there stands a great woman.
In this way, Louisa Motais stood at Édouard Cointreau’s side, playing a leading role behind the scenes. Wherever Édouard was, there Louisa was too. She was born Louise Aimée Motais to a wealthy family. They were married in 1875 and she became his devoted wife. That same year, Édouard Cointreau created COINTREAU, a liqueur with a base of sweet and bitter orange peels, inspired by La Parisienne, a woman who thinks and acts freely, in the image of Louisa Cointreau, wife, muse, and confidante.
YES, Louisa. OF COURSE, Louisa. OBVIOUSLY, Louisa. She was known as the “guiding spirit of the firm,” Louisa, Édouard’s shadow. She spoke little, but did a lot both for the life of the company and the emancipation of women. It was she who opened up a whole raft of possibilities. She, the future president of the Union de Femmes de France (French Women’s Association) was one of the first women to be awarded France’s highest honor, the Légion d’honneur in 1929 for her charitable deeds, including opening a hospital at her own expense to care for wounded French soldiers returning from World War I. And again, it was she who took charge of the firm’s social policy, giving them a little known and avant-garde dimension by believing that everyone contributed in their own way to the success of the business and therefore deserved to be rewarded accordingly.
Inspiration, muse, woman of the world, the arts, and culture, Louisa helped women and artists. Sometimes a guardian, sometimes a patron - Louisa, always avant-garde, lived with passion and audacity - three terms that have been embedded in the cornerstone of the brand ever since, for always. Although she left us at the middle of the last century, her spirit remains. Who would she be today? A woman, Parisian at heart, serving as Creative Director for La Maison Cointreau?
The ANSWER IS OBVIOUS: LAETITIA CASTA
Laetitia Casta is the archetypal Parisienne: “a woman who thinks and acts freely, mistress of her fate, who goes where she is least expected. She is bright, vivacious and passionate; she knows the boundaries better than anyone, but dares to cross every one as she forges her own path. She is a woman with the nous and the knowledge to be herself – a shooting star.”
INTERVIEW WITH LAETITIA CASTA
BEING A CREATIVE DIRECTOR
“For me, being a Creative Director means, first and foremost, having something unique to say.”
CREATIVITY ABOVE ALL
“The partnership was born out of creativity, and a love for it. I felt moved by the history of La Maison Cointreau, and the values that we share. Our collaboration has a deep-rooted connection because of our histories and that of all women. The history of Louisa. Women are rewriting this story day by day, through their creativity, their intuition, unique perspectives on others and their era.”
WOMEN “Women have grace. They have an aura of mystery about them, which men lack all too often. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. There is something infinitely deep within them. This small spark is also something that I hope to explore and draw out”.
“Femininity is not exclusively physical. Femininity has no need to draw attention to itself. Feminine allure is acquired with confidence and charm. Weaknesses and anxieties are accepted. Freedom is won from all rules and conventions. Women become more and more beautiful over time. Being a woman is not about draping oneself over a chair. It means knowing how to be everything, how to embrace every part of oneself. For me, femininity means liberty, boldness, self-expression and being open to the world.”
INTERVIEW WITH LAETITIA CASTA
“My strength lies within: it is the power to resist, like a little plant standing strong against bad weather or winter. It does so because it is firmly rooted in the ground. I do so because I am firmly rooted in life. I remember the past, but I do not dwell on it. I am not the kind of person who is constantly looking over my shoulder. I had a short childhood, but it is very true to say that I have kept every shred of it with me. I am constantly extending my childhood. It is the light that draws me near, protects me and offers me every opportunity. Personally, I never set out to build a career, I’m more inclined to live a quiet life in private out of modesty. I live in harmony with my body. I have had experiences. I have been out of date. I have fought with myself. And made my peace again. I am not trying to recapture lost youth. I am a joyful rebel. What saved me was always being elsewhere. Beauty calms me, it is my escape. I like passionate people, those who dedicate their lives to one line of research or an ideal. Whether scientists, writers, painters or dancers, they redefine life in light of the best it has to offer.”
“Like the philosopher Bachelard, I like to believe that imagination is the source of willpower. And that willpower allows us to turn our dreams into reality, to build them as you would build a house. This is what my life is made from. My life is fed by these things, which are an infinite source of wonder and happy moments.”
“Living life to the full. Daring. Exploring. Creating. Conquering my own doubts so I can reach out to others, finding myself and reinventing myself. Being free-spirited and connected to the things I care about.”
“Nothing is artificial. Nothing is superficial. Genuine authenticity has emerged. Through this commitment, Cointreau is continuing the adventure that connects the Maison with artists. In doing so, and in offering me an opportunity to become its Creative Director, Cointreau is asking me to be a lot more than a mere ambassadress. And that is an opportunity that I am welcoming with open arms”.