In 2008, Brian Gefter had an idea. Together with business partner Michael Satsky, Gefter wanted to bring an international-feeling nightlife scene to New York City.
New York City – perhaps one of the top destinations for any nightlife lover. But, Gefter noticed, the issue was that most of the nightclubs felt very…New York. There was no flavor, no feeling of being internationally alluring on the nightlife scene at the time.
And so, the first iteration of Provocateur was born. Opening its doors in 2009 in the trendy Meatpacking District in Manhattan, Provocateur was one of the first to arrive ahead of the impending electronic music explosion. Offering both an upscale cafe as well as a traditional nightclub that felt more like Ibiza than New York, Provocateur put itself on the map and had staying power – a difficult feat in the nightlife industry.
“One of the main points of difference was that we would open with an electronic music program, again in contrast with the landscape during that time, and even still now today,” Brian said in a 2015 interview with Hotelier Middle East in advance of the opening of Provocateur Dubai.
Brian Gefter & Mike Satsky Continue
Brian Gefter would go on to open two other Provocateur locations, one in Dubai and one in Rio de Janeiro which are both still open today. Additionally, Provocateur became a springboard for Gefter to open up Eye-Def Media, the agency arm of Provocateur that aimed to tell stories through stunning visuals and event planning for clients such as Coca Cola and Dom Perignon.
Utilizing its team of high-level creative agents, Eye-Def Media gives clients the feeling of exclusivity that brings reach and success. The agency offers services such as design for websites as well as commercial spots and full-scale event management. Far from just trendy, Eye-Def Media is instead ahead of the trend, a characteristic that dates back to the early, progressive days of Provocateur New York.
Gefter is also the mind behind other venues on the global nightlife scene, such as The Plymouth, a boutique hotel located in South Beach, Miami. His high quality taste and eye for design has turned heads in each venue or business he has a hand in, making the Eye-Def and Provocateur brands distinguishable from their competitors.
“We operate today exactly as when we opened — with the same policies, the same procedures, and the same level of attention to service and hospitality,” Gefter continued in the Hotelier Middle East interview. This attention to detail has been the backbone of success that contributes to the ongoing projects at Eye-Def media as well as other businesses owned or consulted on by Gefter.
In a competitive service and nightlife industry, it’s vital to have a forward-reaching vision that can identify which trends are worth setting. In 2009, when Provocateur first opened its doors, the progressive electronic music movement had barely reached infancy — but Brian Gefter didn’t bother to get discouraged. Instead, he stuck to his guns and came out on top.
Now, 10 years later, the electronic music scene has positively exploded. The influence of electronic music can be felt in flipping through the portfolio of clients who utilize Eye-Def Media. Indeed, Brian Gefter can be credited as a nightlife and entertainment pioneer, who was able to see the trends that would have staying power and capitalize on them.