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Fashion

Creative Consulting Firm Mazarine Sees Strong Growth in U.S. and China – WWD

PARIS — Cast an eye fixed on the Paris style scene, and you’ll shortly understand that Paul-Emmanuel Reiffers has a finger in each pie.

The founder and chief government officer of inventive consulting agency Mazarine is lively in each side of luxurious and style, from promoting and content material creation to know-how options, design and packaging, occasion organizing, media and artwork.

The company’s Mazarine Digital division gives providers starting from model consulting to constructing e-commerce platforms and efficiency reporting. Meanwhile, occasion manufacturing arm La Mode en Images is behind a few of the most spectacular runway exhibits in latest reminiscence, with shoppers together with Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Valentino.

A fervent artwork collector, Reiffers additionally owns Numéro journal and its spin-offs, Numéro Art and Numéro Homme; organizes exhibitions at his Studio des Acacias venue, and not too long ago launched Reiffers Art Initiatives, a 500,000 euro annual fund designed to help rising French artists and promote cultural variety.

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For its inaugural exhibition through the FIAC artwork honest in October, the muse paired American artist Rashid Johnson with Kenny Dunkan, an artist from the island of Guadeloupe in the French West Indies, in a mentorship system that might be a blueprint for the venture going ahead.

Reiffers, 55, spent the primary 15 years of his life in Ivory Coast. After returning to France, he made a splash whereas nonetheless finding out at Paris-Sorbonne University by organizing conferences with politicians and businessmen, together with luxurious magnates Bernard Arnault and François Pinault.

In 1992, he wed Victoire de Castellane, who was working for Chanel on the time, giving him an early toehold in the world of style. Now separated, the 2 have three youngsters collectively. Reiffers launched Mazarine in 1993, although beginning an organization throughout a worldwide recession meant there have been slim pickings at first.

“I was doing mock-ups, from the image to the printer, so I went from being a rock star [at university] to making catalogues. But it allowed me to cut my teeth, and to get a real feel for the business,” he recalled in an interview on the company’s Paris headquarters, tucked right into a facet avenue behind the Arc de Triomphe.

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Mazarine's headquarters in Paris.

A rendering of Mazarine’s headquarters in Paris.
Courtesy of Mazarine

Reiffers not too long ago accomplished an overhaul of the workplace, which homes everybody from engineers to photographers, and can be investing closely in increasing Mazarine’s U.S. and Chinese subsidiaries. With 400 workers worldwide, the group additionally has places of work in New York City, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

“We’re betting on a recovery, so we took advantage of this period to do everything we never have time to do, to organize, to structure the space, so that people afterward are happy to come back to the office. Workplaces nowadays have to offer better working conditions than home,” he stated.

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Reiffers instructed WWD how the company has been dealing with the disruption attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, why he believes in worldwide growth, and how he’s betting on a mix of robust sector experience with a holistic method to return out on high.

WWD: How have you ever taken benefit of the interval of upheaval to rethink what you’re doing ?

Paul-Emmanuel Reiffers: When every part’s going properly, you all the time postpone what you don’t have the time and the power to do.

After a interval of shock of 1 month, when everybody was frozen, we shortly regrouped, as a result of we’re entrepreneurs at coronary heart and I’ve all the time been taught that it’s in periods of disaster that you just construct the longer term. You should see it as a chance, not as a problem. I created my company from scratch. I used to be a scholar, and I based it in the center of the Gulf War. At the time, everybody was telling me that communications was over.

So I see it as an enormous alternative.

Mazarine is a digital group, a content material creation company, but it surely’s additionally La Mode en Images, which produces plenty of style exhibits, Numéro journal, in addition to a U.S. department in New York City and an company in China, so the precedence was to retain all our abilities — particularly in occasion manufacturing, as a result of we all know that’s the toughest to rebuild.

Secondly, we pivoted to digital. We developed plenty of merchandise and invested rather a lot in know-how, as a result of we’re a very built-in digital growth company. We created merchandise for style and luxurious manufacturers, particularly the Smart Player, which permits customers to observe a style present reside and on the identical time to work together with the content material.

We additionally determined to renovate our places of work, as a result of they’re distinctive. Having 21,500 sq. toes on one degree signifies that little or no info will get misplaced. People are consistently crossing paths and collaborating. The concept was to modernize the area and to carry in extra gentle. It permits us to recruit the perfect abilities. We’ve created a café in the center and it may not seem to be a lot, however lately, that you must give individuals a motive to return to the workplace.

At the identical time, we’ve grouped the occasions actions of La Mode en Images with Numéro journal in a constructing on Rue du Cirque in central Paris that’s completely devoted to style, in order to create synergies in content material manufacturing.

Thirdly, we’ve reorganized the administration of the group. We’re integrating extra those who work throughout divisions in order to create synergies. Today, it’s not about doing simply occasions, or simply digital. Brands require a worldwide provide. They wish to save time and take care of somebody who handles media, content material creation and occasion manufacturing, all on the identical time.

WWD: You have a brand new government vice chairman who joined final summer time. Is that a part of this new technique?

P.E.R.: Absolutely, as a result of our government vice chairman Brune Buonomano is working throughout La Mode en Images and all of Mazarine’s content material creation. We’re additionally going to supply the creation of devoted content material for manufacturers throughout style week.

WWD: So it’s not essentially a case of compensating for the lower in bodily occasions by ramping up digital content material creation. In truth, every part is holistic.

P.E.R.: Absolutely. People are saying that bodily occasions will disappear. That’s not true. These completely different actions will proceed, however to various levels. The energy of the group is having people who find themselves consultants in their area. I don’t consider in having individuals who do a little bit of every part, as a result of our shoppers are designers, and advertising or communications administrators, who need the perfect in their sector. It’s very tough to be the perfect in each area. We have the perfect consultants, and then we now have individuals who liaise between all of the departments and who’ve a worldwide imaginative and prescient of the model.

The different factor that units us aside is that we’ve significantly strengthened our operations in the U.S. and China.

Our U.S. subsidiary was targeted basically on occasion manufacturing — for example, working with Audemars Piguet on all their artwork occasions — and throughout confinement, it pivoted right into a content material manufacturing company, producing campaigns, movies and so forth. I like that about Americans, this capability for very fast transformation. It’s been massively profitable, as a result of final yr we had our largest yr up to now.

The campaign for Billie Eilish's first fragrance by Mazarine USA.

The marketing campaign for Billie Eilish’s first perfume by Mazarine USA.
Courtesy of Mazarine

WWD: Has the dimensions of your group modified?

P.E.R.: Absolutely, as a result of we additionally took benefit of this tough interval to say, OK, there are two markets which are thriving, so let’s make investments plenty of time in the U.S. and China.

When you’re employed on occasions, you realize you don’t have to speculate rather a lot since you work with plenty of freelancers. Event companies normally have a reasonably small employees. Content manufacturing, however, requires an even bigger group. You can’t outsource creative path and growth, so we’ve invested rather a lot.

The U.S. group has grown from eight individuals to twenty individuals. We’re successful plenty of accounts, it’s rising very quick.

WWD: You additionally not too long ago acquired an company in China.

P.E.R.: We tactically acquired a small company as a result of demand for occasions manufacturing in China has elevated. It’s tough for us to journey to China proper now to recruit individuals, so confronted with the rising workload, we purchased a small company referred to as Twist of Parti Pris that was on the lookout for a associate.

WWD: You have a sample of buying corporations in order to develop, reminiscent of Compagnie Financière Richemont’s promoting arm Ateliers ABC in 2004, La Mode en Images in 2010 and Numéro in 2014. You appear to have a building-blocks method. 

P.E.R.: You can’t be the perfect at every part.

My energy, my experience, lies in picture constructing for luxurious manufacturers and cultural establishments.

You should be massive, however not too massive. Brands don’t wish to take care of large groups, however the company must be massive sufficient to help more and more bold initiatives. So I actually consider in becoming a member of forces with companies which have their very own experience, however all reside below the identical roof.

Generally, the businesses select me. It’s all the time carried out in a really respectful means.

We have a long-term imaginative and prescient and so empirically, we’ve purchased corporations and saved on individuals. Olivier Massart, the founding father of La Mode en Images, continues to be there 12 years after the acquisition, and if I might, I’d hold him perpetually. We provide them a robust model, values, a piece ethic, a frame of mind, and typically, once they be part of us, they double their revenues.

When we want a complementary talent for a shopper, we save time by constructing a puzzle, and shopping for a complementary agency.

WWD: You’re all the time out and about throughout Paris Fashion Week, however opposite to its rivals, La Mode en Images doesn’t have a really seen figurehead. Is that intentional?

P.E.R.: That could also be about to alter. La Mode en Images was forward of its time, and its technique over these final 10 years has been to be discreet. It’s a place that’s paid off, as a result of we’ve had some actually profitable years. But right now, we’re rethinking how the enterprise operates.

There are benefits and disadvantages. Don’t neglect, we work with designers. We work alongside them — everybody is aware of these style exhibits are coproductions.

It’s all the time a really delicate train to place the highlight on anybody however the designer, and we’ve run into hassle in the previous. When we produced the Yves Saint Laurent present for the soccer World Cup last [in 1998], it created plenty of dangerous blood with different manufacturers.

Now we’re launching a brand new dynamic part with the individuals we’re recruiting.

WWD: How do you see occasions group evolving?

P.E.R.: I feel we’re going to see much more occasions worldwide.

There might be some massive occasions to generate buzz on social media, however extra and extra, there might be smaller occasions geared in direction of native audiences. That’s what I’m seeing in all places right now.

The value of buying shoppers right now is extra complicated, since you don’t have vacationers coming to Paris and dropping large quantities of cash, so it’s important to develop extra storytelling geared at native audiences in each nation.

The set of Louis Vuitton's spring 2022 repeat women's ready-to-wear show in Shanghai by the Chinese division of La Mode en Images.

The set of Louis Vuitton’s spring 2022 spin-off girls’s ready-to-wear present in Shanghai by the Chinese division of La Mode en Images.
Courtesy of La Mode en Images

WWD: What impression do you anticipate from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name for “common prosperity”?

P.E.R.: China’s sophisticated. For the time being, I feel that everybody’s ready for the [Communist Party Congress in 2022].

They wish to enhance the wealth of the center class, which is nice information for sectors like cosmetics. I feel there are large growth prospects for all premium merchandise. But it’s a really political course of, so every part could be very a lot managed.

For the time being, China is closed and we don’t know when the borders will reopen.

WWD: What proportion of revenues do your numerous divisions account for?

P.E.R.: Today, it’s one-third occasions, one-third digital and one-third different actions like content material creation, magazines and design, so it’s a comparatively even cut up.

We have a design company that makes packaging, which is a really basic exercise that was an enormous driver of progress through the lockdowns of the final two years. We weren’t anticipating that. There are professions that you just assume are over — like manufacturing, publishing, print, lovely objects — and immediately, pow.

Our Paris workplace accounts for 70 % of revenues, however the U.S. and China are rising quick. We have established the foundations there, and now we now have to construct on them.

The U.S. represents round 10 % of our turnover, and has seen robust progress this yr, whereas China is at 20 %.

Our efficiency this yr has been sharply impacted by the absence of occasions in the primary half of the yr. I hope to attain revenues of 100 million euros to 110 million euros this yr, in contrast with 148 million euros in 2019. I’m lacking about 30 million euros of revenues from the occasions division.

WWD: It was courageous of you to speculate in {a magazine}, since print appears to be going out of style. How has Numéro fared through the pandemic?

P.E.R.: To me, Numéro is not only a media, it’s a model.

I knew once I purchased Numéro in 2014 that the normal media sector was not on a progress path. But it was completely complementary with our actions. It’s linked us with a community of photographers and imagemakers, which has introduced us plenty of added worth over the previous six years, and has additionally contributed to variety.

I don’t take into account myself a communications company, I imply, we’re not advertisers. We’re like a luxurious providers model for luxurious manufacturers, so having {a magazine} like Numéro that manages the most important creatives, that has entry to the highest photographers and that’s targeted on this world, is among the issues that set us aside.

Since we launched the spin-off Numéro Art, which has given us entry to the world’s main artists, we’ve additionally seen how essential these relationships are to style and luxurious manufacturers.

It places us forward of the pack and provides us plenty of legitimacy, particularly in this sector, as a result of we didn’t simply immediately become involved with artwork. We have an intrinsic and visceral information of this sector, as a result of we’re a part of it.

Through Studio des Acacias, we’ve curated exhibits with artists, creating a complete ecosystem. We’ve additionally developed our digital actions in an enormous means over the past 5 years.

During the coronavirus pandemic, we realized that the model was very highly effective, as a result of we had plenty of help from advertisers. Numéro is rising from this disaster stronger. It’s even higher than earlier than, with everybody giving it their all.

Of course, our revenues had been hit, however we realized that Numéro is essential to style manufacturers. Now that COVID-19 is over, we’re shifting on to a second part. In the subsequent two years, our priorities at Numéro might be investing in digital, native promoting and dietary supplements.

The December 2021 edition of Numéro magazine.

The December 2021 version of Numéro journal.
Courtesy of Numéro

WWD: How many points do you publish per yr?

P.E.R.: There are eight girls’s points, two artwork points and two males’s.

I launched the artwork version 5 years in the past, and it’s an enormous success. Numéro Art doesn’t carry the identical weight as the ladies’s version, however we now have earned the respect of all the good artists, who routinely open their doorways to us, which could be very uncommon. We produce the perfect picture contents on all of the artists. That’s why they like working with us. If you seek for any artist on the web right now, if it’s an artwork world star, the primary picture that seems is from Numéro.

We additionally benefit from the help of all of the main establishments and advertisers.

WWD: Do you have got worldwide editions?

P.E.R.: We have editions in China, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany. The Chinese version suffered through the pandemic, however fortuitously it’s pulled by way of.

WWD: Did you shut any editions through the pandemic?

P.E.R.: Yes, Russia.

WWD: Despite the lack of revenues, you have got launched a fund to help younger artists. Why was it essential to you to commit assets to this enterprise?  

P.E.R.: At the Studio des Acacias, we stage exhibitions with both artists or photographers, relying on our relationship with them, or what we really feel like doing on the time. There was no clear creative or editorial line.

When I used to be caught at dwelling in the center of the pandemic, I requested myself, what’s the level of all of it? I wanted to discover a stronger that means.

As an artwork collector, you’ll be able to bounce on a aircraft to New York City on a Saturday, see a gallery and come again on a Tuesday. It’s like being a golf fanatic. We share a ardour that isn’t outlined by cash. Money issues, clearly, however on the finish of the day, it’s about style, decisions and tradition.

Traveling the world, I noticed that French designers are acknowledged worldwide.

But French up to date artists will not be acknowledged. That’s why I created this basis, which goals to help younger French artists and promote cultural variety. It’s one thing I’m deeply hooked up to, as a result of I feel the energy of France lies in the combination of cultures with very robust roots.

I’m French in spirit, however I used to be raised on the African continent for 15 years.

When I arrived in France, I introduced my upbringing with me, which allowed me to have a distinct method to issues, which I’ve carried over into my work. In order to place the highlight on these younger abilities, we got here up with an idea: we’re tapping our community, constructed over 20 years, by asking a confirmed artist to mentor a younger French artist for every version.

WWD: How many works do you have got in your personal assortment?

P.E.R.: Around 100.

WWD: And would you ever take into account placing them on present in a everlasting area?

P.E.R.: I’d prefer to create an area for the muse finally the place we might present 5 or 10 years of rising French artists alongside the international artists who supported them.

There must be a that means to it. I don’t simply wish to dangle up lovely work for my very own pleasure.

I feel that you must have a transparent mission to face out from the gang. You know, once I created my company, I assumed, I’m going to concentrate on luxurious and style, as a result of it’s a small world. It’s higher to be an enormous fish in a small pond than the opposite means round.

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