Visiting Mr. Paris
Meet Michael Dupouy, an icon on the streets of the French capital. The ALL GONE publisher is a true connector of people and is considered one of the most influential figures within street culture.
|WORDS: ANDERS REDDER NØRGAARD|
PHOTOS: ElZABETH HELTOFT
INTERVIEW: VICTOR THOFT
Michael Dupouy is Parisian to the bone. With his slick hair and utterly cool way of dressing, you don’t get surprised when the self-professed "connector of people” reveals his three favorite things in this world: Contemporary art, lovely ladies and the local football team Paris Saint Germain.
Michael is the type of entrepreneur who has managed to turn his hobbies into an occupation. Running three companies, La MJC, the uber-cool CLUB 75 brand and BMC Paris, you’ll find it difficult to avoid Michael’s name when getting into the Parisian fashion scene and the art world.
With a heavy French accent the Parisian-born gentleman seems more than happy to get his brain picked about his road to conquering the French capital.
»It all started by pure coincidence. I was into street culture and was passionate about collecting stuff too - from toys to vinyl. In my early 20’s and I was like “Hey, let’s make things happen. Let’s try to connect the dots between brands, the youth and ourselves”. Fortunately I was lucky and smart enough to transform the things I love into a real job.«
Michael is an expert in navigating around the highly respected the field of fashion, music and art. He runs the clothing line, CLUB 75, together with his pals from Ed Banger Records. But first and foremost, documenting the finest street culture in the ALL GONE-books is what made Michael respected outside the borders of France.
»Next year is the 10th anniversary of ALL GONE. It’s kind of crazy that it’s been this long already. It basically started as a hobby and now it’s something that everyone recognizes me for, from Seoul to Tokyo and Berlin to Moscow.«
ART & DUPOUY
In the late nineties a young Michael Dupouy developed his interest for art and quickly showed quite a flair for picking cool artworks from upcoming artists.
Today his collection features prominent pieces and works from artists such as Torey Thornton, Lucien Smith, Neil Beloufa, Katherine Bernardt, Michael Manning, Wes Lang, KAWS and Tomoo Gokita.
»All the pieces you see in my apartment or office come with a story about why and where I bought it. It’s almost the same as with a souvenir – to me a souvenir is a way to tell people about your life. I collect art to tell people a story about my life.«
Michael Dupouy is the sort of person everyone wants to be seen around. Yet there’s not even a hint of arrogance in the way he approaches the world. One day you’ll find him at high-end Parisian galleries, the next day he’ll be hanging out with hardcore football fans. »One of my personal policies is to stay open-minded. I can have fun with people twenty years younger and older than me. Basically I open myself to connect with people, and luckily I’ve been fortunate enough to make it a part of my job.
If I were to have a motto it would probably be “Stay Connected” - so sorry Nokia,« he laughs. Michael’s frankness also reflects his taste of music. Although he’s not a gifted musician himself, he describes music as being »the key to open his heart«. Since his teenage years he has been hanging out with the best DJ’s from the Parisian club-scene. And being a part of the Bromance Records (BMC Paris) gang has given him a certain authority when it comes to electronic music.
»Because I’m so passionate about it people listen when I give my views on the way an album is produced. Even though I have no talent for music at all!« he says.
»Everybody knows I love hip-hop. I’m not quite sure why actually, but there’s something about the competitiveness in the lyrics. The strive for being the best inspires me, and that’s probably one of the things I like about the genre.«
So what’s next for a guy who has achieved what most young fashionistas wouldn’t even dare to dream about achieving? Even though his resume might arouse envy, there’s one thing Michael still strives to achieve.
»I’ve done pop-up stores with different collaborations almost everywhere in the world, but I've never had my own thing. That’s why I’m excited about the CLUB 75 store we recently opened in Paris.«
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Born: Paris, 1976
Current City: Paris
Occupation: Owner of LA MJC, co-founder of CLUB 75, partner in BMC Paris