‘Readers loved the ads as much as the editorial’


‘Readers loved the ads as much as the editorial’

Back in the 1970s, Nicole Wisniak bankrolled her magazine Egoïste with pages of native advertising avant l’heure – advertorials taken to the level of art.

Interview by Thomas Lenthal


Hiding in plain sight in each issue of Nicole Wisniak’s Egoïste magazine, in among the striking black-and-white imagery on its large unbound pages, is an innovation that is even more modern today than it was 40 years ago. When Wisniak was thinking of ways to finance her magazine, she decided that, rather than filling it with fashion and luxury brands’ latest advertising campaigns, she would instead create the advertising for them, using photographers she chose to shoot ‘advertising’ imagery that would appear in the magazine. It was native advertising avant l’heure.

Her idea of specially produced, single-use advertising proved attractive to both brands and photographers. Houses like Hermès, Chanel and Cartier signed up for ‘campaigns’ shot by photographers including Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Paolo Roversi, who could bring their visions to advertising freed of its usual commercial strictures.

For System, Wisniak selected some of her favourite advertorial images from down the years, and sat down to discuss the birth of Egoïste, panther and camel wrangling, and trying to persuade Mick Jagger to leave the house.

In System No. 12. Click to buy.