I have noticed that two things happen when you live through an era of rapid change, as we are now. Firstly, there is an inevitable surge of artistic creativity and second the misfits, the contrarians, the underdogs and the anti-heroes come into their own. We witness the rise of the rebel: those who don't play by the normal rules, who flourish in chaotic, unpredictable times and welcome uncertainty without fear. This new-look September issue of ELLE is dedicated to those people, the curious revolutionaries who think differently.
We've made a bolder, braver magazine to celebrate them and give these important, varied new voices a place to talk about who they are and what they stand for. I am incredibly proud of what the ELLE team has created and curated on the pages that follow, and this issue is one of the highlights of my career as Editor-in-Chief. From our interview with transgender model Hari Nef (p230) to Kenya Hunt's piece The Age Of The Contrarian (p188), we have shone the spotlight on inspiring people who I hope will provoke stimulating debates.
Reinventing this modern magazine, with its five unique and collectable covers, has been an epic project. It's been an unstoppable (and frankly, emotional) roller coaster for us as we reimagined every single page and every single shoot.
I tasked the team with bringing me fresh thinking, reverse thinking, big, bold ideas and a new, more diverse and inclusive approach. The issue is loosely based on the theme of change and we spent months asking, 'Do we have to do it the same way as we always have?' More often than not we concluded that no, we don't. So much was changing around us in the world of politics, fashion, music, literature and online as we worked from very early mornings (me) to late, late nights (the team) coming up with a new creative template under the skilled and watchful eye of Creative Director Suzanne Sykes.
As I write, my inbox is brimming with everyone's memories of making September ELLE 2016: the midnight recasting of a fashion shoot just to get it exactly right, the relentless hours spent perfecting layouts, the hundreds of moodboards, the thousands of new-season pieces streaming in and out of the glass-fronted fashion cupboard in our open-plan office. All the emails, transatlantic phone calls and transcribing cover interviews through the night.
I watched as the momentum surged while we put the pages together and the team, fuelled it has to be said by all manner of chocolate treats and epic playlists, began to get ever more excited collating all the content we had created. It felt like being on the launch of a new magazine, and it felt special to be giving every page such lengthy care and attention.
So now it's over to you. What do you think of our new look, both in print and online? What do you like and what is missing? Let us know on the @ELLEUK Twitter and we'll see what we can deliver in our forthcoming issues.