September is a well-known marker of fresh starts, that back to-school feeling of new shoes and clean slates. This year, however, the starting-over mood resonates in a much deeper way for me as we launch my new vision for ELLE.
Sometimes, in order to move forward in life, you have to go back. So, with Tom Meredith, ELLE's brilliant new creative director as my partner in crime, we dove headfirst into the depths of the ELLE archive.
From the playful, colourful graphics of seminal ELLE artistic director Peter Knapp in the Sixties, to the bold Seventies and Eighties photography of iconic names from the magazine's history, including Oliviero Toscani, Hans Feurer and Gilles Bensimon, we unearthed a treasure chest of riches to play with.
What struck me most, though was how modern the ELLE DNA was back then and how relevant the woman at the heart of it still is today. Fearless, spirited, smart and, most importantly, positive: I wanted to imbue the pages of the new ELLE with a sense of all these qualities. I wanted to build the magazine around the core of this ELLE woman — in other words: you.
Fearless, spirited, smart and, most importantly, positive: I wanted to imbue the pages of the new ELLE with a sense of all these qualities.
As I write this Editor's Letter, the team and I are hard at work, editing and designing the last few pages. There are new surprises in the magazine to love, from our elegant, brand-new font, which arrived fashionably late (like the best party guests often do), to the specially commissioned collages, illustrations, and imagery.
It's been an absolute joy to create this issue and watch ELLE's new beginning unfold.
Speaking of clean slates, Laura Craik's sharp, hilarious piece, New Season, New Start, tells you how to new-seasonify every aspect of your life, not just your wardrobe (because September is the new January, after all). Meanwhile, Joely Walker's Pube Politics presents an unexpected take on our collective questioning of the overly curated and the move to something more authentic. In this age of Instagram filters, we're all craving things that feel more real.
In fact, we've explored that very topic, where Lou Stoppard looks at fashion's return to craft. She speaks to women such as Deborah Needleman, who left her career as a high-profile editor-in-chief in New York to slow down and explore more artisanal pursuits. If this piece doesn't get you signing up to a pottery class soon, I'll be very surprised.
And last but not least, there are beautiful fashion images to pore over. We travelled from central Los Angeles to north Sweden, from upstate New York to rural Cambridgeshire, to shoot the new season's most significant trends, creating, I hope, some magic moments and inspired storytelling.
Once you've taken in the visual inspiration, I hope you'll find our newly reinvented shopping section, both fun and useful. Our beauty and travel sections have also had a makeover, with the return of the beloved ELLE columnist, I Am Mademoiselle, and beauty director Sophie Beresiner's ode to perfect brows in her new column, Ask Sophie. And then there's the whistle-stop tour around Hawaii, packed full of inspiration to help make your holiday dreams become reality.
What you're about to read is the product of much laughter (and a few tears) and many late nights. Teamwork, a brilliantly supportive publisher (thank you, Jacqui Cave) and mind-blowing levels of enthusiasm and passion for what we do have powered us through.
But it's you, the ELLE woman, who has served as our ultimate muse throughout. Perhaps our cover star Cara Delevingne, shot by Kai Z Feng and styled by Charlotte Stockdale, best embodies this new chapter. For me, her honesty sums up the authenticity that ELLE has always been about.
What you're about to read is the product of much laughter (and a few tears) and many late nights.
And on that note, I hope that you love the new vision for ELLE. This is all about you, after all.
You may also have noticed our 'Be more ELLE' tagline, a phrase we used a lot throughout this production process.
I urge you to take inspiration from this, but most importantly, be yourself. Everyone else, as the famous adage goes, is already taken.
And that idea really is the best plan I can think of for a fresh September start.
The September issue of ELLE is on news stands from today.