The tanned, smiling CEO of Elysiants, Ronald de la Fuente-Saez, has been jetting round the globe promoting the exclusive luxury lifestyle social networking service ever since he founded it in Hong Kong two and a half years ago. Clad in a cream jacket, jeans and Converse trainers, de la Fuente-Saez landed in Santiago for Elysiants.com’s grand debut in Chile.
Left to right, Maarten Kraaijenhagen, Cristina Castro, Cristobal Monje and Benoit Poirier d’Ambreville. Photo by Lauren E Martinez.
“We knew social media was growing worldwide, but the bigger mainstream networks become, the more people feel the need to join one that’s more tailored, personal, which will actually fit their lifestyles,” de la Fuente-Saez told Revolver at the lavish launch party at Boudoir club in Bellavista. “And the lifestyle we wanted to focus on with Elysiants was luxurious.”
Luxury was nothing but evident at the April 27 event, sponsored by high-end clothing, jewelry and beverage lines. Mosso baguette diamonds sparkled from the necks of pretty marketing managers who mingled with guests drinking Veuve Clicquot champagne or Diageo-owned alcohol brand cocktails mixed with the company's newly launched, flavored Smirnoff vodkas. Meanwhile the DJ, attached to state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen speakers with built-in amps, pumped out music. “Just plug in your iPod and bam! There’s your music at 2500 watts. It plays just like that!” the Bang & Olufsen promoter said with a snap of her fingers.
Benoit Poirier d’Ambreville and Ronald de la Fuente-Saez.
Photo by Lauren E Martinez.
“Luxury brands participate in Elysiants because then people get to see the products in a fun environment, not just in a shop,” said tall, blonde, tuxedo-sporting Maarten Kraaijenhagen, part of the Elysiants organizing team in Chile. “It’s better to taste the Johnny Walker Blue and Gold label, have it in your hand with some ice, no?”
So, are Chileans ready for such a luxury lifestyle extravaganza? Amidst the animated yells from people having a good time at the party behind us, de la Fuente-Saez laughs, “Oh yes, they’re ready. I think they’re hungry for this -- for the international, for luxury, for glamor. Twenty or thirty years ago Chileans were more conservative. Nowadays they want to show what they’ve done, what they’ve made. They want to share it with the rest of the world.”
Judging by the guest list, including Chilean “it” boys, successful restaurateurs and billionaire’s wives, it is clear de la Fuente-Saez has a point. Benoit d’Ambreville, another organizer, agrees. “We decided to launch in Chile because of the booming economy here. Santiago’s a very up-and-coming place, which is exactly why it suits Elysiants,” he added. D’Ambreville, looking dapper in a tuxedo, has recently opened a high-end hair salon in Santiago’s own Barrio Bellavista.
Catalina Hiribarren Purcell wears Mosso.
Photo by Lauren E Martinez.
The network has already hit the scenes of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Beirut and Miami, with hopes to eventually expand into India and Russia. “Other social networks focus on the obvious cities in Europe and North America, but at Elysiants we are all about emerging markets,” said d’Ambreville.
Elysiants’ success in South America is already present in Buenos Aires and is hugely popular in the ever-glitzy sprawl of Sao Paulo. This emphasized by the presence of Giuliano de Luca, a slick Sao Paulo nightclub magnate and ambassador for Brazilian Elysiants.
Confident of the night’s success, Kraaijenhagen announced this was the first of many such events in Santiago. “We want to throw one every six weeks or so, in rotating venues. This is just the beginning."
For Boudoir, the Elysiants launch was a pre-opening event, and its doors officially open to the public in May. True to the night’s exclusivity theme, you won’t find a sign above the door of Boudoir. “This is part of our French touch,” owner Eduardo Jara explained. “We are from Paris you see, and in Paris clubs traditionally had no signs. You just had to know where to go, and you had to know someone inside. As we say in France, ‘It’s always free, but hard to get in!’”
Left to right, Giles Delgado, Dominique Vo, Eduardo Jara, Anita Garido and Thomas Pignal. Photo by Lauren E Martinez.
It's a little like the Elysiants community then, which is invite only. Each existing Elysiants member can invite no more than five other people into the network, keeping it exclusive. Yet, like at most chic Parisian nightclubs, you can always bribe the bouncer.
A payment of US$5,000 will guarantee your membership to Elysiants, putting access to “international entrepreneurs, CEOs, fashion brand owners, celebrities and luxury lifestyle news” at your fingertips.
So if you like to celebrate life in style, the 50,000 strong Elysiants network could be for you.
"True, we are an online community," says Kraaijenhagenbut, "but as you can see here tonight, we are also very much offline."
“In the end that’s what people want. Fun parties, events, mixers. You can sit in front of your computer, but you can also celebrate life and enjoy it.”