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La Fête des Vignerons

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Being “Made of Switzerland”, we at SWISS are always keen to familiarize our guests with the features of our home country, its culture and its traditions from which we draw our daily inspiration. The knowledge, the expertise and the local landscapes and conditions are all a key part of Switzerland’s regional riches. And this is why SWISS is paying homage to a rare celebration that is a byword for French-speaking Switzerland: the Fête des Vignerons. We are proud to partner this globally unique event – whose values we share – and to transport throughout Europe this living local tradition. Welcome aboard!

SWISS: partner of the Fête de Vignerons

Rooted in the Swiss Romandy

The Fête des Vignerons pays tribute to the centuries-old winegrowing tradition of an entire Swiss region through a spectacular event and the coronation of the vineyard hands. This globally unique celebration, which is organized by the Confrérie des Vignerons, is staged once in a generation in the town of Vevey in Canton Vaud, in the heart of the Lavaux wine region. It is also the first Swiss living tradition to have earned a place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. As The Airline of Switzerland, SWISS is committed to all the regions of its home country. In French-speaking Suisse Romande, SWISS doesn’t just connect Geneva with the world: SWISS also strive to invest in the region’s cultural life and to remain close to its local customers, their lives and their passions. And it’s with these aims in mind that SWISS is partnering the 2019 Fête des Vignerons, an event that in many ways embodies the spirit and the nature of the Swiss Romandy. It’s a collaboration, too, that is based on the partners’ shared values, especially their common mission to promote the richness of Switzerland’s landscapes, traditions and savoir-faire.

A flying tribute by a Romand artist

To underline its partnership with this globally unique event, SWISS has applied a special 2019 Fête des Vignerons livery to one aircraft of its Geneva-based fleet. Such special liveries are rare in SWISS’s history: only four aircraft have borne one since its foundation back in 2002, as the company reserves such actions for promoting and publicizing truly exceptional messages and events. In 2017, to mark the renewal of its Geneva-based fleet with the new C Series aircraft, SWISS dedicated its first CS300 to French-speaking Switzerland by commissioning a special “Avion des Suisses Romands” livery from Western Swiss artist Mathias Forbach, alias Fichtre. The livery underlined SWISS’s strong attachment to Switzerland’s francophone region and its inhabitants. This year, SWISS is re-emphasizing the same commitment by partnering an event that is in many ways a byword for the region – not just to pay due tribute to this living Swiss tradition, but also to help spread its fame throughout the rest of Europe. To ensure a certain continuity between the two liveries, it is Fichtre who has again been invited to create this new flying artwork. The artist is all the more pleased to do so because he is himself from Vevey, where the 2019 Fête des Vignerons will be held.

The artist

Mathias Forbach alias Fichtre

Mathias Forbach, who is 34, is a freelance graphic artist who works for clients both in and outside Switzerland from his Vevey base. “Creating one aircraft livery was incredible. So when SWISS asked me to design a second, I was phenomenally proud!” Fichtre recalls. “As an artist and an illustrator, I love the idea of a coherent whole. But I love shapes, too. I wanted the freedom of form and the movement to be felt in the ensemble of the two sides of the aircraft. And that’s what the Fête des Vignerons is: a spectacle, a coherent whole that is made up of thousands of people all on the move. Or that, at least, is how I remember the 1999 version of the event. In my first livery for the Swiss Romandy, it was the words that were the guiding threads, and everything came from a smile. Here it’s the colour, the life and the festival that emanate from the smile. On one side we have autumn and winter colours and on the other we have lively summer shades, to make this link between elements that don’t quite touch – like Matisse’s découpage collages or Keith Haring’s energetic works. My challenge was to create a link between the two sides that meet up at the top, like a combination of coloured elements which are festive and which have their own sense and meaning in this huge, fluid movement.

Mathias Forbach alias Fichtre

“I still remember the last Fête des Vignerons in 1999. I was 16 at the time, and I went with my grandmother. It was a real moment of sharing and joy, and it made a big impression on me.”

The artistic vision

Inspired by emotion

Throughout his visual encapsulation of the Fête des Vignerons event, Fichtre was guided by a desire to reawaken the memories of the older generation while simultaneously arousing the interest of younger people today by offering a modern design. His work was also inspired by the exceptional nature and the magic of the event, which he has captured and conveyed by adopting a style that is spontaneous, festive and colourful, with illustrations that blend concrete elements with freer and more dynamic forms. Fichtre has also mined his own experience to find his inspiration, recalling his visit to the previous Fête des Vignerons in 1999. He has lasting memories of this as an occasion that was filled with wonder and delight.

Rhythmic Nature, cyclical seasons

The work as a whole reflects the cycle of the seasons, which sets the rhythm for Nature and viniculture alike. On one side of the fuselage, the colours used are warm, representing spring and summer. The other side evokes autumn and winter with its blend of colder hues. The two sides meet at the top, symbolizing continuity and the seasons’ cyclical nature. Nature plays an important part in Fichtre’s creation, especially the features of the landscape around Vevey, the traditional venue for the Fête des Vignerons event: the lake, the vineyards, the autumn leaves and the bunches of grapes.

A tradition that unites generations

The once-in-a-generation Fête des Vignerons draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the town of Vevey. It’s a tradition that brings generations together, too, uniting them around this globally unique event. And this aspect of the Fête, too, is mirrored in Fichtre’s new livery, which combines all the key features of the festival and the region: the costumed participants, the starlings, the vines and the grapes. These elements, which are recognizable to generations of Fête attendees, have all been presented in a colourful modern style which will doubtless attract the attention of younger viewers, too.

The decorative elements

The smileys

A signature Fichtre feature that can also be found on the “Avion des Suisses Romands”, smileys are much in evidence in the new livery, too: in two bunches of grapes, in the sun and in a frieze. Smileys are used to convey people’s moods. And here we can attest that every smiley is smiling, communicating the pleasure, the excitement and the wonder that the Fête brings its participants. The smiles are such a key part of the work – in the starlings’ beaks, the people’s faces and even the aircraft is smiling! In terms of the overall livery, the differing sizes of the various smileys represent the way the Fête, which is only held every 25 years or so, brings generations together, too. Smileys are also a symbol of the zeitgeist of today, and a communicative form that has gained widespread use over the last 20 years, particularly through the Internet and social media channels. They also reference the energetic paintings of Keith Haring, and have already earned themselves a firm place in the history of modern illustration.

The music notes and the cotillions

These livery elements capture and convey the festive nature of the event. Music is everywhere during the Fête, and the cotillions are a visual synonym for joy, euphoria and celebration.

The region

Numerous elements in the design represent the region where the Fête is held and its magnificent landscapes: the view of the Lavaux, the vineyards, a splendid autumn sunset over Lake Geneva and a view of the mountains opposite Vevey, the Fête’s traditional home.

The wine

The bottle of wine represents the final step in the process of transforming grapes into wine. The bottle is the end of the labour, the reward for all the toil throughout the year. The grapes (and thus ultimately the wine) are heavily dependent on the climatic conditions – on the soil in which the vine is planted and on the sunshine it receives. So Fichtre’s livery design also includes the various factors that influence the quality of the wine produced: the lake which provides the humidity, the soil of the terraced vineyards and the sun itself.

«The Fête des Vignerons is an occasion for everyone: it brings generations together, connecting people from the villages, the countryside and the vineyards, locals and foreigners.»

The characters

The Fête des Vignerons is an occasion for everyone: it brings generations together, connecting people from the villages, the countryside and the vineyards, locals and foreigners. The hats depicted in Fichtre’s creation are typical of the Swiss winemaking tradition. The Fête des Vignerons is a genuine folk event that provides a lively stage for numerous participants who dress up in traditional costume.

The flora

These features, such as the oak, the maple, the vine leaves and the ears of wheat, represent Nature and the seasonal cycle. The colored leaves mark the beginning of autumn marks and the start of the grape harvest; and the wheat is harvested in mid-July, which is when the 2019 Fête des Vignerons will begin.

The starlings

The starling is one of the Fête’s prime visual elements. The flocks (or “murmurations”) which swarm above the vines in autumn are a fascinating sight that is an integral part of the local landscape and that heralds the arrival of the grape harvesting season. The starling is also a gregarious bird, and as such a harbinger of the coming Fête. In Fichtre’s work, the starling also represents freedom, movement, space and Nature. Drawing his inspiration from the simple collages of Matisse, Fichtre has added a light border to highlight the birds.

Facts & Figures

184 smileys – Fichtre’s signature feature – have been incorporated into this special livery.

300 square metres of film have been printed and carefully applied to the aircraft’s skin.The application alone took 36 hours.

1 439 979 kilometres is the distance the aircraft is expected to travel in its special Fête livery – five times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

months is the period for which the special livery will be carried.

42 destinations will be served by the aircraft from Geneva, including Palma (in summer), St. Petersburg (in winter) and Dublin (all year).

150 356 passengers are likely to be transported by the aircraft in its 2019 Fête des Vignerons ambassadorial guise.


In 2016, SWISS started deploying the Bombardier C Series as the world’s launching carrier on short- and medium-haul routes. Following Airbus’ acquisition of a majority stake in the C Series in the summer of 2018, the aircraft manufacturer decided to rename this aircraft type to Airbus A220. After updating its technical and commercial systems, SWISS adopted the name Airbus A220 on 27 October 2019.