7 POST 2013 - 2015 †
7POST was launched in 2013 as the print media trigger for the 7POST Augmented Reality application for smartphones and tablets. 7POST was originally conceived as a spin-off of the highly successful but short-lived fashion quarterly 7000, conceived and designed for would-be publishers Jean-baptiste Pauchard and his partner Katrina Tee by legendary graphic designer and fashion photographer Steve Hiett. 7000 ceased publication in the spring of 2013 after Tee and 7000’s third shareholder Eric Dailey tried to remove Pauchard when they became lovers.
After the mass-resignation of the 7000 editorial team in June 2013, most of the team decided to work on 7POST, originally conceived as spin-off of 7000 and a print media trigger for the 7POST Augmented Reality and 3D smartphone and tablet application designed by a Polish programmer. The title was jointly chosen by Hiett, Pauchard and 7000’s Features Editor Prosper Keating, a former Vogue and Vogue Hommes International senior editor recruited to 7000 by Hiett and Tee.
The first issues of 7POST were co-designed by Steve Hiett and the equally iconic Harri Peccinotti. Pauchard and Keating were credited as co-Founders and Chief Editors although Pauchard’s principal function was managing the production and distribution of 7POST through the London company Highway Production Ltd, set up for the purpose with Groupe Libération shareholder of reference Bruno Ledoux, who was interested in adding 7POST to the Groupe Libération titles and developing versions of the AR application for the Libération newspaper and its fashion supplement NEXT.
When Ledoux and other Highway Production shareholders staged a revolt against Pauchard in July 2015, alleging embezzlement, fraud and money-laundering, they were furious to learn that neither 7POST magazine nor the 7POST application, also marketed as iWay, belonged to Highway Production Ltd. The print magazine was the joint intellectual property of Hiett, Pauchard and Keating and the application belonged to its Polish author.
No further issues of 7POST appeared after July 2015 although Pauchard would publish some illicit issues through his Paris-based STUDIO57 exhibition venture in 2016 and 2017. Rendered valueless when Ledoux sold his 31.6% for €1.00 after the failed shareholder revolt, Highway Production Ltd produced a couple of issues of the spin-off title 7POST ART late in 2015 was eventually closed down by the British authorities in 2017 with seizure of all assets.
Highway Production tested the market in September 2013 with an experimental double-issue of 7POST, co-designed by Steve Hiett and the equally iconic Harri Peccinotti. Potential advertisers were excited by the 7POST AR application, triggered by images in the print edition. Unfortunately, Apple Store censors refused to approve the iOS version of the application and iPhone and iPad users were unable to download it. Apple Store denied anti-nudity bias and homophobia but would refuse to approve the 7POST App through the magazine’s lifespan, effectively preventing exploitation of its full potential. However, Highway Production would produce eight issues between October 2014 and July 2015.
The 7POST project was placed largely on hold for most of 2014 although Bruno Ledoux made a number of attempts to gain more control of it. Sadly for Ledoux, Libération staff refused to obey his orders, going as far as to express their disrespect for Ledoux and his fellow directors on the front page of the February 9th 2014 issue. The staff’s declaration of war included a sly dig at his attempts to bring the 7POST start-up into the company.
A proposal to bundle 7POST with the weekend edition of Libération was ignored. A €20,000 contract between Libération and Highway Production to produce a Libération-branded version of the 7POST application was signed and the money paid but Libération staff failed to supply any content. However, Ledoux would appear on the masthead of Issue #1 of 7POST as Shareholder of Reference. The issue also contained an ego-stroking interview of Ledoux that sat uncomfortably with the rest of the content.
This first issue contained a world print exclusive of the famous John Malkovich-Sandro Miller reconstitutions of iconic photographs. Originally scheduled to appear in Vanity Fair, the series was given to 7POST by Prosper Keating’s old friend and collaborator Sandro Miller.
Other keynote issues included the Sieff family special, an issue dedicated to Paolo Roversi, a biker issue entirely shot by Ellen von Unwerth in a rare deviation from her tarts-in-bedrooms aesthetic and the Art issue in July 2015.
Sadly, Jean-baptiste Pauchard’s habit of selling shares to investors without consulting existing shareholders led to Ledoux presiding over a shareholder revolt in July 2015. Some shareholders accused Pauchard of embezzlement but never took action against him.
When Ledoux and other angry shareholders learned from Prosper Keating that 7POST and the AR application did not in fact belong to Highway Production Ltd in terms of intellectual property, they were not pleased.
A furious Ledoux sold the 31.4% he now held in Highway Production for €1, reducing the theoretical value of the company from around €800,000 to just under €4. Highway Production was evicted from its Paris offices and no further issues of 7POST appeared after July 2015, the illicit issues produced in 2016 and 2017 by Pauchard through his Studio57 venture aside. The other shareholders conducted an efficient campaign of vilification against Pauchard and 7POST. No further issues of 7POST were produced after July 2015, the illicit issues produced by Pauchard through Studio57 aside.
Before British authorities closed the company down for illegal activity in 2016, Highway Production Ltd produced two issues of 7POST ART PARIS in conjunction with pop-up exhibitions organised in Paris with Ellen von Unwerth and Felix Larher. In 2016 and 2017 Jean-baptiste Pauchard produced several issues of 7POST ART and 7POST through Studio57, an ambitious but short-lived exhibition venture. Neither Steve Hiett nor Prosper Keating were involved with the fake 7POST publications.
In 2018, French authorities ordered the judicial liquidation of Studio57. In January 2019, former employees and other individuals associated with Studio57 and Highway Production Ltd were interrogated by French authorities about alleged fraud and money-laundering by Jean-baptiste Pauchard, who had been successfully sued by at least three former associates, including Prosper Keating. The fake 7POST died with Studio57 although Pauchard is said to be planning a relaunch of 7000 magazine.
Although the original 7POST was a commercial failure for various reasons, not least of which was Apple’s reaction to the content of its related AR application, it had many fans in the fashion world, who saw it as a breath of fresh air, much as they had perceived 7000.