Since the announcement earlier in the year that ELLE magazine will once again return this year to Aussie shores, the fashion industry and fashion loving public have been waiting with bated breath. Now with only days until the official hardcopy launch, I managed to wrangle a few minutes of fashion heavy weight and new ELLE Australia Editor-In-Chief, Justine Cullen’s time to talk about the impending launch and her views on the Perth fashion landscape.
JR: We’ve followed your success as Editor of Shop Til You Drop and now excited to see you the product of your latest endeavor as Editor of ELLE Australia. How daunting was the task of preparing for the upcoming launch of such established worldwide brand?
JC: I’ve dreamed of editing ELLE and was mentally preparing for it for a long time so I was probably more exhilarated than daunted. However, the ELLE brand is so strong in all 43 markets where it currently exists and the attention on this launch has been so enormous that I’d be crazy if I didn’t feel a sense of responsibility to respect the brand and to help it live up to people’s expectations in Australia. Like a lot of Australian women, I’ve always been a fan of the other editions, so I know that if I wasn’t editing it, I’d have a lot of expectations around it as a reader – I don’t want to let anyone down!
JR: How would you describe the ‘personality’ of ELLE Australia and how does it fit amongst the international versions?
JC: It has all the ELLE values we know from the international editions – it’s smart, sexy, energetic, modern, inclusive, friendly, irreverent. Spirited is my favourite word for summing up the ELLE personality. Here in Australia I would also add two words my staff are sick of hearing: surprising and generous. There’s a lot to discover within every page. In terms of where it fits – that’s an interesting question as all the editions of ELLE are a little different. ELLE is always a reflection of its readers lives, it has a relevance to it, which means it can’t be a cookie cutter version of itself just in different languages. For example, the UK is a pure fashion magazine with few features, the US is a slightly more mature read with a lot of lengthy articles. In Australia I’d say we fall somewhere between the two, leaning more towards the UK in terms of model and design, but with a great chunky features well and lifestyle section too.
JR: The ELLE Australia website went live mid-August and since then the content has been an ever evolving fashion source of up to the minute imagery and information. How will ELLE online, as its own entity, tie into the monthly hardcopy editions?
JC: My team are working across the website as well, posting daily as part of their roles. We very much see the website as having a global, faster feel, while the magazine is more of an immersive, reflective experience. None of the content is rehashed between the two mediums but there is a lot of integration – if, for example, we do a story on a new exercise fad, the page might have a web pointer sending people to some workout playlists to download on elle.com.au. They’re different, but work together to create a richer magazine (and by magazine I mean print and digital) experience.
JR: As a fashion heavyweight based in one of Australia’s fashion meccas, what is the general perspective of brands coming out of WA and are we likely to see them grace the pages of ELLE Australia in the future?
JC: Absolutely! ELLE is always a perfect mix of both local and international labels, and the Perth fashion scene is thriving so you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of WA labels in the mag. I love Flannel and of course Kim Ellery is such a personal favourite (and perfect for ELLE). All the buzz around Jaime Lee is very exciting and it’s wonderful that Aurelio Costarella is celebrating thirty years this year. And I have to mention the gorgeous Nicole Trunfio who contributes to ELLE.com.au, appears in our first issue and now designs Trunfio jewels – such beautiful high end jewellery.
HUGE thank you to Justine for taking time out of her hectic pre-launch schedule to do this interview and for giving us some insight into what will certainly be one of my monthly “go to” Fashion Bibles.
The countdown’s on (toooo excited)!
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