Lui (French for “Him”) is a French adult entertainment magazine created in November 1963 by Daniel Filipacchi, a fashion photographer turned publisher, Jacques Lanzmann, a jack of all trades turned novelist, and Frank Ténot, a press agent, pataphysician and jazz critic.
The objective was to bring some charm “à la française” to the market of men’s magazines, following the success of Playboy in the USA, launched just a decade before.
France, indeed, in the first half of 20th century had an outstanding reputation for erotic publications, feeding also foreign market and inspiring also ersatz French-flavoured magazines abroad, when, for example, US publishers used French-sounding titles like Chère and Dreamé or placed tricolour flags on the covers, attempting to attract the casual buyer. It was anyway a semi-clandestine circulating material, not allowed to be freely displayed or openly bought. In this sense Playboy changed the way ‘soft-pornography’ (become more respectfully ‘adult entertainment’), can be publicly circulated.
This magazine was particularly successful from its origins to the early eighties, afterwards it began a long decline. It was published regularly till November 1987 (the final issue of this first series was the number 285). After 1987 there was a further attempt to relaunch the title but the publication ceased again in 1994. Passed into the hands of the media group of Michel Birnbaum, after a transient stimulus, it became a pornographic magazine with episodic dissemination. It was published every three months.
After the purchase of the title by Jean-Yves Le Fur, it has been relaunched on September 5, 2013 as a high-end magazine with Frédéric Beigbeder at his helm.
First series (1963–1987)
This magazine successful recipe was combining content with depth articles and beautiful naked women, featuring many B-List but also celebrities, often prominent French actresses, such as Brigitte Bardot, Mireille Darc, Jane Birkin or Marlène Jobert.
It featured a monthly pin-up by Aslan. The first girl to pose on the cover was Valérie Lagrange (the number 1 appeared on 11 January 1963)) photographed by Francis Giacobetti, future director of the soft-core movie Emmanuelle 2.
The magazine hosted also a cartoon by Lauzier: Les Sextraordinaires Aventures de Zizi et Peter Panpan. Among the first collaborators are Jean-Louis Bory, René Chateau, Philippe Labro, Francis Dumoulin, Francis Giacobetti, Siné, Michel Mardore, Gilles Sandier and many others.
The magazine motto was Lui, le magazine de l’homme moderne (The Magazine of the Modern Man). In the beginning, it had also a mascot, a cat’s head, similarly to the magazine Playboy Bunny, but it disappeared in the early 1970s.
File under Fashion, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, Sex