Céline Perruche - Chief Editor #1
A highly-experienced beauty chief editor for various women's magazines (Jalouse, Biba, and then Grazia) who then sets to renewing LUI in 2013. Céline Perruche, co-chief editor for this emblematic men's magazine, answers our questions.
Tell us about your career in press.
First, a radio job at Générations, then I worked as a Culture & Society section editor at Tribeca, then at Perso and DS. It's frightening, all these magazine have disappeared... Afterwards I became beauty editor at Jalouse, Biba, and then Grazia whose launch I played a part in. After 5 years I left for LUI. Today, I work as LUI's chief editor with Florence Willaert.
Tell us about a typical day as a chief editor.
There is not really a typical day, and that is what I like about it. Shootings, conferences, appointments, fashion shows, trips, interviews, discussions with the freelance journalists, re-writings, working on different angles, a lot of unexpected events... No day looks like any other. I find this very exciting.
What do you prefer in this job?
Being creative (finding ideas, creating images, playing with words, etc.) and team work. I love the emulation from a good team, when every one, from the artistic director to the journalist, from the iconographer to the model maker, from the stylist to the subeditor, brings his or her energy, solutions, vision, etc. It is very rare, but when it works, it's magical. The downsides are rather linked with the state of the press. The pressure this implies and managing the anxiety and fears of every one.
Is working for a women's magazine very different from working for a men's one such as LUI?
It is different in the sense that there are still a lot of things to be invented in men's magazines, it is much more open, fresher, they take themselves less seriously. But above all, paradoxically -and no pun intented- I find women's position in LUI much more modern and stronger than in most women's magazines. Reading articles on how to keep your man or how to perform a perfect blow-dry seems really antiquated.
What about your office?
Our office is located in an appartment in Saint-Germain des Prés. No entry pass, no canteen, no huge suburban office. I know how lucky I am. The writing room is a funny mess, we are a bit packed, it is kind of crazy but that suits me very well.
You worst professional blunder?
I forwarded an email which I had filled with scathing criticism and realised I had in fact sent it back to its sender!
Do you have an entertaining story to tell us about press travels?
My most beautiful trip: it was for the launch of Hermes's fragrance “Un Jardin après la mousson”, in India. Right in the middle of Kerala, a marvelous dinner abord a little rice boat dimly lit by a candle on a red-moon night, right in the middle of a lake in the backwaters. The sounds of animals with cargo-delivered silver dishes... the ultimate luxury.
Which cover, series, or photo are you the most proud of?
The cover and series of Rihanna by Mario Sorrenti for LUI. A reinterpretation of an old cover. I love the light, the colours, it is ultra pop, sexy, vintage and hyper modern. Such a shock.
Tell us about your most beautiful professional encounter.
Eric Beckman. I started working with him 15 years ago. He used to work as DS's artistic director. I was 23, and working as a young section editor. We then worked together to set up Grazia, then LUI. We have the same visual culture, the same dubious humour, the same energy. We understand each other without words. He is like an older brother to me. He is so creative, lively, quick, and always in such a good mood, that I know that if he's part of the team, I can go with my eyes shut, we're going to do great things and, above all, we're going to have fun.
You've taken part in the launch of several magazines (Grazia, Lui), what do you retain from this?
Nothing is more exciting. Setting up a team, working together to decide on a tone, a visual identity, sections. Listening to your instinct, worrying, asking yourself whether it's going to work or not, being judged. These are very rare yet extremely stimulating moments. I hope I will have the chance to experience this again.
Here is Stéphane Saclier's question for you: “Céline, if you were to create a feminine version of LUI magazine, how would you call it? Would you feel like displaying naked men or men in underwear?”
I think LUI, as it is, is already a very good women's magazine. It is actually read by many girls. By girls who do not expect a magazine to tell them how to live their life, but which shows them what is going around them. No orders, but a tone, some information, and some entertainment. Naked boys, why not, but it can be quite risky, this would need to be very natural and spontaneous, not too perfect, because a boy who poses is everything but sexy.
Who would you nominate for the next interview?
I would like to nominate Alexandra Bernard, Grazia's fashion chief editor, and ask her this: “What would you have done if you hadn't fallen into fashion?”
“Reading articles on how to keep your man or how to perform a perfect blow-dry seems really antiquated.”