As Ben Popper just reported over on BetaBeat, the PPR investment fund, whose CEO is billionaire French art collector Francois-Henri Pinault, just took a $10-million stake in The Fancy, a website that allows users to track luxury goods in which they are interested. (Mr. Pinault’s father, Francois Pinault, is the owner of Christie’s.)
Mr. Pinault, as our colleague points out, quite an active user of the site, having “Fancy’d” (to use the language of the company) some 415 items, offering a glimpse at his personal interests. Among the many items Mr. Pinault fancies are plenty of Gucci shoes, which is perhaps unsurprising since he owns a hefty chunk of the luxury giant.
Also making Mr. Pinault’s Fancy list is a nickel-plated surfboard by Marc Newson. We Fancy’d the surfboard, and Fancy informed us, using its proprietary technology, that we might also fancy the Ferrari Finali Mondiali 2010 and the G650 Gulfsream private jet. Check and check.
The technology underlying The Fancy, built by a company called Thingd, could be thought of us a “Facebook of Stuff,” cataloging goods in the same way that Facebook catalogs people, as Ben noted last year.
It is easy to see The Fancy being used to hawk art in a manner not unlike the Art.sy service, which has billed itself as a Pandora for art. Note that Mr. Pinault has fancied art by Thomas Houseago, Adel Abdessemed, Julie Mehetru and David Hammons. (Of course, the fine folks at L&M, David Zwirner and Marian Goodman no doubt already know this.)
We also noticed that Mr. Pinault fancies Damien Hirst’s 1991 shark-in-a-formaldehyde-tank sculpture The Physical Impossibiilty of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which is owned by Greenwich, Conn. collector Steven Cohen, the last time we checked.
To be fair, many of Mr. Pinault’s interests are more quotidian than private jets and four-figure heels. He also fancies a scrappy brown and blue jacket sold through Urban Outfitters and Ladurée, the magical French macaron company that just opened up a shop on the Lower East Side. (Mr. Pinault is apparently just like Gallerist in this last regard.)
Perhaps Mr. Cohen should send Mr. Pinault a box of Ladurées and ask him to make an offer.