The Aussie ELLE: Worth The Hype?
It’s been a long time coming (about two years to be exact) since we first heard ELLE, ‘the world’s biggest-selling fashion magazine’ would return to Australian shores.
Last week, the wait was over with the 402-page first edition hitting newsstands. So now we’re left with the question, well, do we like it? In a time when print mags seem to be closing down and absolutely everything is going online, is this magazine really so much better than the other titles we’ve come to love that we’ll fork out that extra $8.50 a month for it? In short, yes.
My first opinion upon seeing ELLE was utter shock with my first thought being, “Why on earth is Gabby Westbrook-Patrick on the cover?” before I thought, “Yay! Go Gabby!” This may seem a little contradicting but see this is the thing – if you don’t really pay that much attention to what’s happening in the Australian fashion scene then you probably have no idea who Gabby Westbrook-Patrick is, whereas if you do, you’ll know that she’s one of Australia’s most prominent rising models (she recently was booked as an exclusive for Versace for Spring 2014).
So to see her on ELLE’s first cover was both confusing but also heartwarming. ELLE’s choice of cover-girl is actually, more than anything, incredibly risky. “New Modern Australian” is ELLE’s take on the magazine, so it does make sense that a ‘new’ face gets the cover.
But, to the actual contents – that is what we’re paying for after all. Initially, I was overwhelmed. Once you get past the array of usual advertising, I was a little appalled to find something so chaotic. When I say chaotic, I mean not what I have grown accustomed to with my stream-lined, neat and now I’m thinking simple layouts from that of RUSSH, Oyster, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and the like.
Instead there was lots of colour, hand-written scrawls for headings and sub-headings, fun little diagrams and drawings and a general cut-and-paste effect on small images that sneak into the pages. So upon getting over my mini heart-attacks (I know, reading a magazine is super-stressful) I actually started to enjoy myself.
Editor Justine Cullen described the title’s vibe as “modern and real and occasionally irreverent” and I was surprised to find that’s what it feels like. What was also refreshing was that the features didn’t revolve around every single person in the Australian fashion industry. (Don’t get me wrong, us Aussies are fantastic and awesome and we deserve our time in the sun but just because we live on a far away island does not mean we get to be self-obsessed egomaniacs – there is a whole world out there people!)
So the articles on up-and-coming international designers and entrepreneurs like Kristy Caylor of Maiyet, Ostwald Helgason, and Leandra Medine of The Man Reppeller were refreshing. There is a healthy dose of all things Australian but it is mixed in with an equally healthy dose of international designers, authors, musicians, events and fashion.
ELLE’s online presence throughout the magazine is to be admired and proves that although the magazine has launched in print, they are not oblivious to the online-revolution. So you liked that little piece you just read? Well why don’t you go follow the author on Instagram courtesy of said cute little diagrams you’ll find scattered about the pages.
Articles were hearty, humorous and informative and the fashion; despite its high-end focus was still real. Even if you can’t afford those Miu Miu boots you can afford the fashion advice given to you by Fashion Director Nicole Bonython-Hines or can take inspiration from the vast selection of street-style images.
All in all, ELLE encompassed the best bits of a high-end fashion magazine but broke the mould with its relevant articles, worldly attitude and fun conversation-worthy tid-bits. We can only hope the title continues to deliver with each issue.
ELLE’s Best Bits:
· The “ELLE HOT 50 – a cultural wrap of everything you need to know to see out 2013 with cred”. A surprising mix of cool things you don’t already know.
· The racing specials – before you even think about getting that fake tan read ‘Saddle Sore’ by Damien Woolnough. You can thank him, and us, later.
· The “ELLE Inside Word”, ensuring every lady knows how to jump-start a car and mix the perfect martini. I feel more useful already.
· Bringing back old-school cool with an advice column courtesy of E Jean. Fellow females take note of her BLC (Basic Lady Code) and AWC (Advanced Woman Code).
- Lanah Jansons