7 POST 2013 - 2015 †
Launched in 2013, the original 7POST was conceived as a spin-off of the successful but short-lived fashion quarterly 7000, founded by Jean-baptiste Pauchard and designed by legendary graphic artist and fashion photographer Steve Hiett, who had thought up the title 7000. A dispute between the shareholders of 7000’s publishing company resulted in the collapse of the magazine in June 2013 and the non-appearance of the fifth issue.The magazine’s creative team resigned en masse via 7000’s Facebook page after being asked to work unpaid by the two shareholders who had attempted to exclude Pauchard, accusing him of mismanagement.
Several members of the 7000 team, including Art Director Steve Hiett and Features Editor Prosper Keating, decided to develop the 7000 spin-off with Pauchard. Hiett approved the 7POST title suggested by Keating and Pauchard. Hiett had already produced several dummy issues of the tabloid format print magazine, which would be sold with its own branded Augmented Reality application for tablets and smartphones, developed by two young Polish programmers.
Published by the London-based company Highway Production Ltd, 7POST was produced in a large office in central Paris, the € 10,000 monthly rent waived by Highway Production shareholder Bruno Ledoux in return for his 34% shareholding. Ledoux, a property magnate, was at the time the shareholder of reference of the iconic French daily newspaper Libération and was keen to bring 7POST, its team and especially the AR application into the Libération fold.
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 these editions.
In 2018, French authorities closed Studio57 down amid rumours of embezzlement, fraud and theft by its management. Although the original 7POST was a commercial failure, it had many fans in the fashion world, who saw it as a breath of fresh air, much as they had perceived 7000.