#1143 Olivier Zahm on mixing sex with parties, creating a character, not selling out and the benefits of wearing a uniform

Olivier Zahm front row at Hugo Boss

I am obssessed with style.com‘s The Future of Fashion series. Obsessed. It’s easily the best fashion reading available online right now. So far Dirk Standen has talked with Robert Duffy, Cathy Horyn and Hedi Slimane, and yesterday he took on Olivier Zahm. In the interview, Zahm discusses everything from Purple Diary’s blend of private life – sex and love, and public life – fashion shows and parties; to wearing a uniform, creating a character and his decision to not have advertising on the blog.

I’m a huge fan of Olivier Zahm’s. I love Purple Diary, I love his photography and I love his no fear approach to life. He’s like the one true rock star of the international fashion world, and surely we need as many of them as we can get.

Here’s what he had to say for himself.

On exposing both his public and private lives:

“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… 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.”

On not taking adverts:

“I haven’t found the right way to make a little money off it because I don’t want regular advertising. I think it would be really bad. So I don’t want advertising [of that kind]. I’m looking for a way to involve brands, but I haven’t found it yet and it’s not my priority.”

On the Olivier Zahm character that he’s created through the blog:

“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.”

On wearing a uniform and having the ability to change with the times:

“The same uniform every day is a good way to avoid extra expenses in this difficult time…I’m doing a fashion magazine and I know I’m [being] recorded, but I would love all the people who love fashion to buy a minimum of fashion, just what they really like and wash carefully their clothes…today fashion is about celebrity, so you have to be glamorous yourself if you want to be taken seriously in a superficial world that we call fashion. You have to look glamorous so that people think you’re part of what you’re dealing with. Before, I thought that to be taken seriously you should just be invisible. But that was the nineties. I was really anti the star system and anti-fashion and anti-labels. I was like Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang, and then I totally changed in 2001. I changed to survive, but also the times changed. What was relevant in the nineties wasn’t really relevant anymore. And in 2010, it’s again more complex. It’s not enough to be a celebrity. No one cares no more. I will have to move on.”



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  1. Anonymous says

    He’s kind of a peverted, voyeuristic, sex dwarf but I do love his publications and his ‘diary’. It’s very French and dare I say, Euro-trashy. God bless him.

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