Edited by Lester Brathwaite on
Founded in 1977 by 26-year-old French eccentric Nicole Wisniak while living in her bed at her parents’ apartment and rolled out every few years since, Egoïste finally returns with Keira Knightley on the cover of issue Number 16.
Knightley is just one of two cover stars, the other being James Thíerrée, a French performer who counts Charlie Chaplin and Eugene O’Neil as antecedents. The current issue — well, really the only issue since the last Egoiste with a naked Natalia Vodianova on the cover came out 5 years ago — also features a wide range of interviews and collaborations from Roman Polanski, Beth Ditto, Diane von Furstenberg, Yoko Ono and others.
Besides coming out when it damn well feels like it, Egoïste is different from other mags in that all of the ads therein are the brainchild of its kooky editor, Wisniak, who now works from her own bed in her Parisian apartment.
To wit, the ad for Louis Vuitton sounds better than whatever they’re planning with Angelina Jolie:
The Louis Vuitton ad took Wisniak and her deputy, Eleonore Therond, a full year to create. It features a lost polar bear on an adventure with a monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunk. He embarks through the tundra with it; clings to it like a buoy in frigid waters, eventually finds shelter on a boat bound for civilization—and then, trunk in hand, crashes onto the stage of a lecture given by Al Gore on the perils of global warming.
A true rarity in fashion, in publishing and just in the pace of the modern world, Egoïste has become a collector’s item with the December 1977 issue featuring Mick Jagger recently selling on eBay for $1,100. And appropriately, you won’t find Egoïste hanging around on a shelf at Barnes and Noble; the only retailer in America that carries the mag is New York’s Rizzoli Bookstore.
Perhaps one day Keira Knightely’s cover will fetch a similar price tag. The actress and occasional Chanel cyclist may seem an odd choice considering the iconoclastic cover stars before her, but for Wisniak, it’s not about being current or on trend: “It’s about lasting. It’s like a bet to see who will still be interesting in 10 years.” [Daily Beast]