Olivier Zahm is the latest subject in Style.com’s ongoing series “The Future of Fashion,” interviews with fashion people who do things like tweet or blog on the Internet. Olivier, the editor of Purple magazine, runs Purple Diary (link NSFW), which includes photos from his point of view of life’s most fabulous things, such as sitting front-row at Miu Miu or having a naked woman roll around your office (link NSFW) for the cameras. Yeah, those naked women in Purple — where does that come from, anyway? And just WHY? Olivier gets into it a bit.
I had this idea of having a personal diary, an intimate diary, mixing intimacy or privacy with my public life and creating a sort of contrast between what’s really intimate, like sex and love, and what’s really public, a party, a fashion show, an exhibition. What’s meant to be public and what’s meant to be private and make them, like, coexist. It was suddenly exciting because it was, in a way, breaking the barriers of something, which is actually what the medium itself, the Internet itself, does. For celebrities it’s a nightmare, but for me it’s a pleasure. It’s a decision. I would love to go further into intimacy, but my girlfriend and my lovers are sometimes a bit reluctant.
Oh, so he is a man with one girlfriend and multiple lovers. (Maybe that’s where Hugh Hefner got it wrong.) And this is the subtext of his somewhat abstract Internet presence? Style.com probes further.
You say you’d like to go further into intimacy?
It’s always delicate because I respect the girls around me. They’re real people and I respect their privacy, so I can’t really go too far, but sometimes it’s really playful and they’re OK. But when they’re more emotionally involved, it can be a bit difficult, and I totally understand. To me love and sex is the most beautiful thing on earth, you know. It’s more beautiful than a landscape, so I love to keep pictures of the girls in these private moments because they are giving you the most beautiful side of themselves. It’s like a gift from God. It’s beautiful. I’m not New Age, I’m not mystical, I just really love it, and it’s so beautiful to capture with a camera that I really want to share that, you know…And also, Purple is a lifestyle. With my magazine, what I want to do is personally to be more free, and I want people to be more free, to open their possibility of contact, of sex, of love. I want that. This is important to me. I consider that Purple is a free lifestyle. Not in a stupid way, not in a childish or immature way, in a mature way now because I’m 45, 46. So the blog is also this vocation to see what constructs a lifestyle, to see what could be. If my life would be perfect, it would look like the Purple Diary. You see what I mean? It’s an illusion, too. I’m constructing a character.
See what he means? He likes to take pictures of naked girls and keep pictures of naked girls and show them to the world. He is a man that loves naked girls, which … makes him perfect for the Internets.
Every man should be a playboy, no? It’s the nature of man, right? …Of course, I love art and have been doing art critiques and have been curating shows, but if you ask me what I prefer, woman or art, I would say woman. Art is art. I need art in my life as much as I need food, but the most beautiful thing on earth is to meet a woman. That’s what you will remember at the end of your life, right? Plus, it’s a game. It’s really funny. You can’t seriously consider yourself a playboy, or you’re already a bad playboy.
Oh, it’s hilarious, toying with the female psyche. Kind of like that “economic crisis,” right?
To me this economic crisis is just a massive intoxication. We are rich and we are smart and we are, let’s say, beautiful, so what’s the problem? It’s just a way to scare people and to make them work more. There is no crisis. I don’t see the crisis. To me there is no crisis. It has always been difficult to find money, and it will always be difficult to find money when you want to be free and to do what you want, where you want to, whatever the bank system is. And when the bank system will have collapsed, I will continue to do a magazine.
And, it goes without saying, lots of chicks.