Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Restructuring of Elle Magazine

As reported by the New York Times, Elle Magazine is going through a restructuring phase. I am an avid reader of the magazine but truthfully there are some sections that I feel could be completely eliminated -Elle Fashion Genius (not necessary), Elle MustKnowSeeHearWatchRead (could be edited), Elle Men (not necessary), the entire section right after Elle Living and right before the fashion pages, and the final page, Elle Cherchez La Femme (not what you call going out with a bang).

The fashion merchandising pages are great but the fashion spreads do seem quite repetitive (as the article points out). I think we have seen that image of the sexily clad girl in the "desert oasis" one too many times, or the Adriana Lima type model and her model boyfriend walking the streets of Paris cloaked in street-inspired fashions. The photography is spectacular but the content is very predictable. In the same vein, are the covers, and what is with the overuse of cover lines, they are practically dizzying.

I think in general the magazine needs to be streamlined, kind of like giving it a feng shui or zen approach. Fashion content needs to be dominant but the pages should also be filled with other worldly reads, I think that is an important factor in producing a visually stimulating, yet intellectual magazine.

Oh, and Lindsay Lohan for the cover, again? Why? Why for the second consecutive September issue (she was on the 2006 cover) and why for the cover of the most important issue of the year? Once again repetitive.

Ah yes, and one last thing, since we are on the topic, it would be great, really great, if they could start including some prices in their beauty merch pages.

Joe Zee, the new creative director was quoted saying - “I would love to see a girl walking down the street and be dressed like our pages, and for someone to look at her and say: ‘Oh my God. She is so Elle.’ ” - that would be an amazing feat. One which I think is achievable in time.


bonnie lass said...

Calendar: Worthless to me. By the time those events come around, I'm already taking my new Elle out of the mailbox.

Front teasers: I wouldn't mind the sheer # of them, if only they weren't so damn misleading. But I do hate when they stick a tease in between the letters of their flag. Tacky.

Articles: I've actually enjoyed quite a few articles in their magazine and have passed them around the office. But in terms of design, I want to choke whoever paginates them. They'll have one photo/illustration and then 5 pull quotes for 100+ inches of copy. And yet the ...

Front fashion articles will have 50 3-pica photos for a 12 inch article. They don't necessarily need to pull every single image from the runway to get their point across.

Cherzez la femme Yes. Worthless. This should be a pointed editorial, as passe as that has become. Maybe they'll stick Nina's new column there. (And I've not read this feature since being scarred by Thomas Hayden Church's recent interview.)

Books/Music: I'm not Elle's target demo, but I'm so bored with their picks. The books are rarely anything I'd actually go out and purchase. They're predictable in the sense they seem to all center on women authors and women's issues, be it fiction or non.

On the plus side, I quite enjoyed the little 'editor's pick' boxes in the Aug. issue. (Though seeing Isabel Dupre's little box was like someone pouring salt into my wounds.) But I'm not necessarily sure I want to follow an assistant's advice on anything.

The editorial spreads have picked up, though I cannot make myself like Kate Lanphear's styling and I could totally do without the Decor/entertaining/food bits. Who cares? If I wanted to know any of that, I'd pick up Elle Decor.

Sorry. Elle's design has been bugging me since I became a subscriber about a year ago. I think it could be so much more, but I think they've lost their way. Maybe the redesign will help them.

Fashion Critic said...

True true....I am less fussy. I just wish they would deliver my damn subscription which sometimes I don't get until 2 weeks AFTER it has been on the sale.

bonnie lass said...

Yes, that too. I'm always bothered when I get the latest issue of ELLE a week after I've seen it in racks.

(And FYI, I'm a graphic designer, so when it comes to such things as magazine design, I'm a *wee* bit opinionated.)