meet the new king of paris nightlife
There's a new man about town brightening the night in the City of Light.
photography pierre-ange carlotti
About a year ago, all of the coolest kids in Paris clustered together in the Pigalle neighborhood in front of a club, waiting for the first-ever Kaliante — which turned out to be the party of a lifetime — to get going. It had been a while since the city had been this feverish. For a while Paris nightlife had fallen into a state of inertia, but over the last couple of years it's been slowly but surely resurfacing. It's possible the horror of the terror attacks, particularly on revelers at the Bataclan, might have ground this to a halt. Instead there's been a feeling that the fun and freedom of partying is more important than ever — and protecting that carefree Parisian mood has helped to galvanize nightlife. The city now feels like the center of a new state of mind, urging everyone to celebrate together.
Luka Isaac, a sun-kissed kid from the south of France, is the guy behind Kaliante. Every month his now legendary party draws the creative kids of Paris. Luka's crew includes photographer Pierre-Ange Carlotti, director Gaspar Noé, and Vetements fave Paul Hameline. Not surprisingly, the fashion industry has taken note. Luka was in charge of organizing the Saint Laurent show afterparty last month along with his partner in crime, model and Chanel star Julian de Gainza. It's not just Luka's party skills that are in demand either — he just got signed by Kate Moss's modeling agency. i-D met up with him to talk about his new career, music, and what defines his generation.
Tell me a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
I'm from Marseille (south of France) and I grew up listening to everything from lo-fi hip-hop to black metal. Finally I fell in love with the rave scene. At 18, I moved to Paris, where I was working as a graphic designer for a year. I then moved to Berlin for three years and now I'm back in Paris.
How has your background shaped who you are today?
Marseille is a special town, for a lot of French it's the most violent. This is probably true, although it's not something I have experienced personally. For me it is probably the most interesting place for culture and art in France. That is probably why people from my town are dreamers.
What is it you do and why do you do it?
I'm a musician; I like to experiment and find music from around the world. Recently I created an event called Kaliante, which attracts interesting people and is based around different themes and environments every month or two. We work with set designers and different spaces each time.
Did you always want to be a model?
No, I was often told I should be one, and I started because I was streetcast in Paris. A man literally ran after me in the 10th arrondissement.
What does modeling mean to you?
I like modeling because it's a way to explore different personalities through fashion, with different influences and cultures. It is more of an artistic process in the way of accepting yourself, and the acceptance to be transformed.
What was it like working with Kate Moss?
Working with Kate was an incredible and special moment. I have to really think about it to realize it actually happened.
What does it mean to you to sign with the Kate Moss agency?
If feels special of course. There are only a few models, so the agents are taking really good care of us.
Can you tell us a bit about your club night?
We throw Kaliante as a monthly meeting for people who are bored with Paris's regular nights. We like to create atmospheres, taking the minds of others on a trip.
What's the significance behind the name?
Originally Kaliante was created by two of us — Lu "Ka" "et" Ju "Lian" = Kaliante.
How would you describe the Kaliante way of life?
It's limited to the moment it happens, but I tend to believe it can influence a lot of everyday life. It's a way of approaching life, a cool attitude, a taste for experimenting with different things from poetry to sound.
How would you describe your generation in four words?
Internet, rave, depoliticize, conscious.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on collaborations between brands and Kaliante. We recently worked with Saint Laurent on the show afterparty, and were able to work with lots of amazing creative people and have access to incredible sets and installations.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I'd like to develop Kaliante enough to live off it and maybe one day give my money to the people that really need it, as well as continually developing interactive environments.
Text Micha Barban-Dangerfield
Photography Pierre Ange Carlotti