Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, passed away at the age of 91 last night and renowned French DJ Dimitri from Paris has shared his experience working with him.
Following a meeting at the Winter Music Conference during the late 90s, Dimitri from Paris and the Respect Is Burning crew were approached by Playboy to throw a party at the Playboy Mansion. That said, as Dimitri describes in a Facebook post, there needed to be something special about the occasion:
“The one condition for us to actually get to do this, was that the reps needed a reason, concept, for the event, so they could pitch it to Hugh Hefner. They told us that despite its global reach, Playboy was a family run type of business, and Hef as they lovingly called him, was overseeing every single decision, no matter how small.”
The team at Playboy thought a record release party would suffice, but both Dimitri and Respect Is Burning didn’t have anything in the pipeline. This idea was still the best option, so they decided to craft a new compilation concept from scratch, just for Playboy.
“The glory days of the Playboy Mansion parties were in the mid seventies, and I figured the music would be mostly disco, of the happy and hedonistic kind. I asked my friends – typeset makers – House Industries to join in, and they crafted a specific font they named Chalet. Together with Vincent Bergerat, Respect Is Burning’s in-house graphic designer, they created the beautiful artwork, focusing on the 1971 Playboy cover shot, featuring Darine Stern, that has gone iconic from then on.”
That record would be aptly titled ‘A Night At The Playboy Mansion’. Then came the launch party and Dimitri’s first experience meeting Hefner:
“The launch party took place at the infamous Beverly Hills Playboy Mansion, Hugh Hefner’s residence. We all met Hef, and despite the brash world he created, he was a delightful soft spoken person.”
‘A Night At The Playboy Mansion’ would go on to sell over 400,000 copies and evolved into a compilation series.