Olivier Zahm’s love of women is well documented, not least by Zahm himself on his web site, www.purple-diary.com. But the French editor and founder of the twice-yearly independent publication Purple Fashion has many other passions: art, fashion, his daily uniform of white or gray jeans and black Yves Saint Laurent leather jacket, parties, freedom. There may be an element of self-promotion behind some of this, but in an increasingly conformist world, Zahm offers an original, entertaining, and astute voice.
“I started to take pictures every day of parties or pictures of my life, I needed an interesting way to use these pictures and not to let them go into digital archives and disappear. Because now everything disappears. It’s digital, but if you don’t copy your hard drive, pictures disappear after one or two years…So then I had this idea of having a personal diary, an intimate diary, mixing intimacy or privacy with my public life and creating a sort of contrast between what’s really intimate, like sex and love, and what’s really public, a party, a fashion show, an exhibition. What’s meant to be public and what’s meant to be private and make them, like, coexist. It was suddenly exciting because it was, in a way, breaking the barriers of something, which is actually what the medium itself, the Internet itself, does. For celebrities it’s a nightmare, but for me it’s a pleasure. It’s a decision. I would love to go further into intimacy, but my girlfriend and my lovers are sometimes a bit reluctant.”
“To me love and sex is the most beautiful thing on earth, you know. It’s more beautiful than a landscape, so I love to keep pictures of the girls in these private moments because they are giving you the most beautiful side of themselves. It’s like a gift from God. It’s beautiful. I’m not New Age, I’m not mystical, I just really love it, and it’s so beautiful to capture with a camera that I really want to share that, you know…And also, Purple is a lifestyle. With my magazine, what I want to do is personally to be more free, and I want people to be more free, to open their possibility of contact, of sex, of love. I want that. This is important to me. I consider that Purple is a free lifestyle. Not in a stupid way, not in a childish or immature way, in a mature way now because I’m 45, 46. So the blog is also this vocation to see what
constructs a lifestyle, to see what could be. If my life would be perfect, it would look like the Purple Diary. You see what I mean? It’s an illusion, too. I’m constructing a character.”
“For fashion, I think a magazine is the place for creativity, because for fashion photography, you don’t only show the last collection and the clothes, you show the way they should be worn, you show or you try to capture a spirit, a certain moment in time, and this is creativity in fashion. It’s a way to incarnate and interpret fashion.”
“Every man should celebrate and seduce women because women love to be celebrated and seduced, and they’re bored if you don’t try to be at your best or have the best conversation, the best look. It’s not an insult to be [called] a playboy…Of course, I love art and have been doing art critiques and have been curating shows, but if you ask me what I prefer, woman or art, I would say woman. Art is art. I need art in my life as much as I need food, but the most beautiful thing on earth is to meet a woman. That’s what you will remember at the end of your life, right? Plus, it’s a game. It’s really funny. You can’t seriously consider yourself a playboy, or you’re already a bad playboy.”
Known as the bad boy of fashion, Zahm is a new breed of editor and creator. Brave enough to cross the boundaries of what is acceptable and push for anti fashion and originality. Provocative and very openly sexual, his personality is clearly portrayed through Purple in the diary format he set out to achieve. The magazine is him, or what he would like to portray as himself anyway, its unique and promotes a personal style that is easily read and appreciated. It’s a. Some may see this a photographic story board of his life, his thoughts and his opinions self indulgent or vain, but when your as interesting, unique and individual and Olivier Zahm is, publishing your life story through an anti fashion magazine seems rather apt to me.