HEARST PLAYS MUSICAL CHAIRS: Elle has found its new creative director, and it didn’t have to look far.

The fashion glossy has recruited Alex Gonzalez, who prior to the appointment held a dual role at parent company Hearst Magazines, serving as artistic director at Town & Country since 2013 and in the same role at Marie Claire since 2012. Gonzalez will start his new job in early June, and his first work for Elle will likely be revealed in its October issue. In moving over to Elle, Gonzalez had to give up Marie Claire but was permitted to keep T&C.

This story first appeared in the May 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The reason for that, according to Hearst Magazines president David Carey, had to do with the “distinct” way T&C covers fashion.

Asked why Gonzalez couldn’t have all three titles, expanding his mini-empire and eventually becoming Hearst’s artistic director à la Anna Wintour at Condé Nast, Carey said, “Ellen Levine [Hearst editorial director] is our Anna Wintour. She is a very important person to our company.”

Besides, Carey offered, “I don’t know if he [Gonzalez] gets much sleep as it is.”

In addition to his work at Hearst, Gonzalez is a cofounder of AR New York, a creative agency whose clients include Vogue, Jimmy Choo, Banana Republic, John Hardy and Revlon. At Elle, he succeeds Joe Zee, who left last month for Yahoo to head up the Web site’s digital fashion magazine.

Following Zee’s departure, Carey said, Elle was bombarded with résumés from “surprising” outside candidates. Some of those candidates will be considered for other jobs at Hearst, including Gonzalez’s former job at Marie Claire, said Carey.

Although there is no specific time frame to fill the creative role at Marie Claire, Carey said the magazine’s editor in chief Anne Fulenwider is in the process of interviewing for Gonzalez’s replacement.

For Elle, the appointment isn’t a surprising one. Speculation of Gonzalez’s move to the magazine had been circulating since Zee confirmed his departure.

Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers disclosed that she had been approached by Gonzalez to work for her magazine once news trickled out of the open position.

Myers told WWD that she was impressed by Gonzalez’s work at Hearst, as well as at GQ, W and Mirabella — where she coincidentally worked, as well.

“Alex is a pro,” Myers said. “Joe [Zee] did a great job at Elle. We rebuilt the roster of photographers and stylists. Alex has his own relationships and his own aesthetics. [But] he will be working within the codes of the magazine and bringing a fresh eye and energy.”

Asked if Gonzalez would have the ability to bring in his own team — a rumor that many had speculated as a proviso for his move to Elle — Myers said that they’d be “building a team” once he arrived. “There’s more to come,” she said. “It’s going to be great. Alex is a gentleman through and through.”

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