Charles Finch’s New Mag, Elle’s Hotel, a Wedding PR
FINCH’S NEW LAUNCH: The film industry veteran and serial entrepreneur Charles Finch can’t kick his addiction to the printed word.
That’s one reason why he’s launching a magazine this week called A Rabbit’s Foot, with stories about film, art, culture and “confessions” from actors, writers and directors. It’s an insider’s look at the industry from a current, historical and international perspective.
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Chunky, pocket-sized and packed with long reads, the triannual is aimed at cinéastes of all ages and backgrounds and those who are curious about the people behind the lens as well as the on-screen talent.
In his Editor’s Note, Finch says he wants to “broaden the canvas, and explore and discuss the wider cultural implications” of film and its power to influence the popular conversation. Issue 01 is titled “Cannes 2022” and will be unveiled on Wednesday during the second week of the festival.
The debut cover features a picture of French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard photographed by Brigitte Lacombe under the glare of lights at Cannes in 1975. Features include a Q&A with Wes Anderson about what fires him up and a photo essay of Lacombe’s images of actors and directors including Isabelle Huppert, Michael Caine and Werner Herzog at the festival in 1975.
Image Courtesy of Carole Bethuel
There’s also an interview with Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, whose film “Les Amandiers” is in competition at the festival; an in-conversation with Huppert, and a Q&A with Makita Samba, part of an ensemble of young actors in Jacques Audiard’s “Paris, 13th District.” In another piece, the writer-director Nicolas Saada discusses his lifelong admiration for François Truffaut.
It’s the very opposite of snackable content and that’s just how Finch likes it.
“I’m not trying to sell masses of advertising, I’m not trying to become a billionaire, and I do think there is an audience out there that still goes to book shops and sees independent cinema. These are also people who wear trainers and watch blockbuster films, too. I don’t think we have to conform,” said Finch in an interview, adding that he was inspired by titles such as The Paris Review and The Atlantic.
“There’s an artisanal nature to A Rabbit’s Foot, and it’s going to be done in a very bespoke, and handcrafted way” for its audience, he said. “We’re not doing it on an industrial scale,” added Finch. In his Editor’s Note, the Italophile describes the first issue as having a homemade, “fatto in casa,” feel.
Finch said the first-person stories and essays need to be “deeply personal,” while the writers should have ties to their subjects. In one story the actor Matthew Modine reminisces about working with Stanley Kubrick in “Full Metal Jacket,” while Nick Foulkes (who once edited the luxury lifestyle paper Finch’s Quarterly Review) examines gangster style in the new publication.
The three annual print editions of A Rabbit’s Foot will be pegged on festivals or awards seasons. The next issue is all about Italian film and will be released during the Venice Film Festival in September. The following one will focus on English-language films from England, Ireland, the U.S. and Australia and be tied to the awards season in January and February.
Finch is also planning special issues around subjects such as art, and automobiles and the roles they’ve played in various films.
He’s bankrolling the publication himself. The first-issue advertisers are Chanel, and there’s also a congratulatory ad from Jay Penske, chairman and chief executive officer of WWD’s parent PMC. In the acknowledgments, Finch also thanks his friend Penske, who encouraged him to pursue his magazine dream.
Issues cost 20 pounds each and 55 pounds for the three annual editions.
The publication’s name comes from “A Moveable Feast,” where Ernest Hemingway describes a worn-out rabbit’s foot that still has the power to banish anxiety and bring good luck. Finch is hoping his new title will do both for himself and his readers.
A Rabbit’s Foot will also have online and Instagram iterations, with updates on soon-to-be-released films and profiles of filmmakers. Finch said that online and offline, the tone will always be genuine, engaged and interested. He has no interest in being flippant or nasty. “It’s so easy for people to criticize and go for clickbait,” he said.
Even with the digital elements, the soul of this publication will always be print.
Asked why he decided to give print another go (he eventually closed Finch’s Quarterly Review) and add a magazine to his day jobs in film production; hospitality, and marketing and communications, Finch said he couldn’t resist.
“I’ve always been kind of been a frustrated publisher and I miss ink greatly. I felt there was room in the movie business to have a title that was really dedicated to film and culture and where the two meet, something that didn’t have the same kind of immediacy as business-to-business news,” he said.
Finch said he’ll always be bound to the written word. “Without it, there are no movies,” he said. — SAMANTHA CONTI
ELLE OF A STAY: As traditional glossy print magazines continue to struggle, there seems to be no end to how execs will try to diversify their businesses to make up for tumbling advertising revenues.
There have been lipsticks, perfumes, furniture, wine, fashion collaborations, subscriptions boxes, coffee — and let’s not forget the trusty branded tote bag.
But until now, there hasn’t been a hotel.
Cue Lagardère Group, the Paris-based company behind the Elle brand, which is planning on opening an Elle-branded boutique hotel in the French capital and another hotel in Mexico.
First up, Maison Elle will open its doors in the fall in partnership with Studio V, who will own and operate the hotel under the guidance of hotelier Pascal Donat, president of French hospitality group, Valotel. The property, located in the 17th district of Paris near the Arc de Triomphe will offer 25 guest rooms and suites, as well as a spa.
Then, in the summer of 2023, an Elle hotel will debut in Jalisco, Mexico, in partnership with real estate developer Actur.
“We are thrilled to launch Elle into the world of hospitality,” said Constance Benqué, chairman of Elle International and CEO of Lagardère News. “Our brand’s success to date has been thanks to our innovation, our special relationship with women and we are proud to continue to challenge the status quo, as we enter a new era of travel. Our two concepts, starting with the openings of Maison Elle in Paris and Elle Hotel in Mexico will present exciting gateways that will allow guests to see the destinations through a new lens and through Elle’s vision.”
Elle is no stranger to the licensing game, launching a fragrance in 2019. This is in addition to the brand’s hair products, including curling wands and flat irons. Elle Make Up, meanwhile, launched in 2018 in China and has since expanded further into Asia. — KATHRYN HOPKINS
DRESS, CAKE, RECEPTION — PR: “They put a lot of money and effort into these weddings. Why shouldn’t that receive press?” asked Savannah Engel, who runs her own public relations firm representing PatBo, Morgan Lane and Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief, among others.
Having run the pr for oil heiress Ivy Getty’s San Francisco-based summer nuptials to Tobias Engel (of no relation to Engel), she is gearing up to work two more in the summer and the fall and plans to focus a part of her business on weddings.
Several publications cover weddings, such as Tatler, Town & Country Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings and the Daily Mail, as well as numerous blogs, and Engel sees a gap in the market for pr surrounding these events.
“So far it’s only existed for heavy, heavy celebrities and royal weddings. Why can’t other beautiful weddings also get pr when they have the right photographer, they have the right look, they have everything that looks incredible and exquisite?” she added.
For the Getty wedding, which saw the bride wear a custom wedding gown designed by John Galliano for Maison Margiela Haute Couture featuring no less than four layers and shards of real broken mirrors, Vanity Fair, People, Brides, Town & Country, Coveteur, Vogue, Guest of a Guest, L’Officiel, Tatler and L’Officiel were among those publications that covered the nuptials.
That was no doubt helped by the lofty guest list, which included officiator House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, maid of honor “The Queen’s Gambit” actress Anya Taylor-Joy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, DJ Mark Ronson, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon, Princess Olympia of Greece, and singer Olivia Rodrigo, to name a few.
For her part, Engel sees her role as curating a team to create a wedding concept such as stylist, photographer and event planner; overseeing wedding photography, and working to secure press coverage.
“The way I think of a wedding is the way I think of any other event and we do a lot of event work. A lot of these brides are already handling so much right now,” said Engel of the process. “They don’t want to be there answering the questions and finding out the vendor information and making sure the photographers gets the right photo.” — K.H.
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