7 POST 2013 - 2015 †
Launched in 2013, the original 7POST was originally conceived as a spin-off of the successful but short-lived fashion quarterly 7000. 7000 was a rebranding of SOON magazine by Jean-baptiste Pauchard and the legendary graphic designer and fashion photographer Steve Hiett. 7POST was launched by Pauchard, Hiett and 7000’s ex-Features Editor Prosper Keating. The last issues of 7POST appeared in July 2015 during a shareholder revolt against Pauchard, who was accused of selling shares to new investors without consulting existing shareholders, who included Libération newspaper majority shareholder Bruno Ledoux as shareholder of reference.
Unfortunately for Ledoux and other angry shareholders, it transpired that 7POST did not in fact belong to the London-based company set up by Pauchard and Ledoux to publish 7POST and develop its related Augmented Reality application for smartphones and tablets. Nor did any of these media belong exclusively to Jean-baptiste Pauchard, contrary to his apparent assertions to shareholders.
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.