PARIS, France — As audiences migrate online and advertisers shift their spend away from print magazines, major fashion publishers like Hearst and Condé Nast are increasingly extending their most popular brands into new areas of business, from events to education. Now, the French edition of Vogue, published by Condé Nast France, a division of Condé Nast International, is set to launch the inaugural Vogue Paris Fashion Festival, a two-day event that will sprawl through the gilded halls of the prestigious Hôtel Potocki on Avenue Friedland in Paris on November 4th and 5th.
The festival follows a playbook established by the British Vogue Fashion Festival, launched by editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman in 2012, which drew almost 7,000 guests to its fifth edition, held in London this May. “Each edition of Vogue tries to expand their influence above and beyond the printed magazine and website,” Condé Nast France president Xavier Romatet told BoF.
“That’s why we observe the initiatives of Vogues around the world, in order to evaluate opportunities that can be adapted to the French market. I found that the initiative of British Vogue’s Fashion Festival in London was a very interesting idea," he continued. "It permits them to gather together the fashion industry with the fashion public, and to have the ability to speak editorially in a different format. To initiate talks, conferences and masterclasses is to create editorial content in a different form, whilst generating additional revenue.
The British Vogue Festival has been running for five years, a fact that will allow us to move faster, avoid errors and profit from their experience.
The two festivals are targeting different audiences, however. The British Vogue Fashion Festival is aimed squarely at consumers and includes an array of interactive experiences from personal styling sessions to pop-up boutiques, alongside more traditional talks and panel discussions. “The British Vogue Festival is not aimed at the industry. Our success is that the speakers engage with people who love Vogue and fashion but who are there as private individuals,” explained Alexandra Shulman. In contrast, the Vogue Paris festival will target both industry and consumer audiences. Indeed, the first day of the event, a Friday, will focus on the business side of fashion and feature speakers including Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai, Farfetch founder José Neves, Nadja Swarovski and the chief executives of Chloé and Saint Laurent.
Saturday’s programme (and weekend timeslot) has been designed with consumers in mind and ticketholders will have the chance to hear Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing’s take on the multi-disciplinary role of today’s fashion designers, see a performance directed by Musée Galliera director Olivier Saillard, and listen to set designer Alexandre de Betak and sound designer Frederic Sanchez address the rise of fashion as entertainment. The programme will also feature educational sessions on topics like journalism and modelling.
“For the readers of Vogue Paris, the festival is an amazing opportunity to meet key fashion figures and to better understand their work and their stories,” said Vogue Paris editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt, keen to emphasise both the industry-facing and consumer-facing sides of the festival’s strategy. “It’s also an occasion to see behind-the-scenes with our team, to meet journalists, stylists, photographers and top models — all of whom work together each month to respond to fashion, in order to reinterpret and elevate it in its highest form.”
The festival will make money from ticket sales, as well as advertising (Swarovski is this year’s main sponsor). “At Vogue Paris, we create traditional revenue via the business model of print and online advertising and print diffusion, however this type of event platform allows us to offer brands to become partners and become totally integrated,” explained Romatet. “Advertising partners are able to participate in the programme with us, and work on developing the various talks and events. On the other hand, we invite the Vogue community to come and participate, too, and for that opportunity they can buy a ticket.”