Nicole Wisniak by Richard Avedon
Her name, Nicole Wisniak, her magazine, Egoïste. “The most beautiful in the world”. Their new issue is out today. We were waiting for this moment for three and a half years. 25 years ago, I had written a few lines in Photo about Nicole. Save from a few things, nothing has changed in her flamboyant process.
“Your advertising page is ugly, I don’t want it. Keep your money or change your visuals”. No editor in the world expresses today these kinds of concepts. No one but Nicole Wisniak, Director of Egoïste, a sublime magazine whose frequency changes according to their mood, that is to say between 9 and 15 months.
How is it possible that this parody of a magazine – whose director even admits that it was born, conceived, managed and made from her bed – symbolizes today the height of sophistication and also repeated frustration from other successful editors? Because of the talent. Behind Egoïste is a young woman of 35 years, more than beautiful: seductive, playing with words as with ideas. She already believed in her magazine 10 years ago. The first three issues failed, but she would persevere. She has succeeded today, thanks in particular to the magic circles that she has woven around her, who wouldn’t deny her anything. Her parents were the ones that financed her in the beginning, paid for the photoengraving, design, paper, and piled up the unsold issues in their apartment.
The two most faithful contributors are her sister Isabelle, with whom she argues constantly, and Phllippe Morillon, art director and designer. The second circle is mainly photographic. Helmut Newton thanks to June, whom she met one day at the hairdresser, Richard Avedon, Bettina Reims, Daniel Jouanneau. The third circle bis is also important: the intimate contributors, Inès de la Fressange, Caroline de Monaco, Françoise Sagan, François-Marie Banier, Karl Lagerfeld.
She explains the rest better than anyone, in the origins of a magazine that had one single idea: “To enjoy working with people that I admire greatly and to whom I offered complete carte blanche. Amuse, seduce, surprise and ban nothing. My ignorance would allow me every audacity, and the title all the provocations. It is true that I am not a classical press editor, I am capricious and idealist, strict in my choices, I do this magazine basically for my pleasure and for those close to me. All of the caricatured statements that have been attributed to me are true. I go out as much as my magazine comes out, it’s true. I work in my bed, yes. Surrounded by friends, those who were already and those who have become my friends. That is the luxury, but perseverance is also needed; luxury is also in lacking. That is why I print systematically lower than my sales possibilities. I like the fact that three weeks after the issue was launched, it is sold out. I love the idea that we can no longer find the magazine. The real luxury is rarity, the exception and the challenge. I was poor and passionate, and I’m still that way. There in lies the intense pleasure.”