Fashion books are cleaning up for spring with redesigns that include bolder photography, cleaner fonts and a more sophisticated take on fashion spreads.
Both Elle and InStyle will reveal their updated looks in their March issues and, while different, the overarching theme propelling both titles to spruce up is a focus on making the print magazine a more luxurious, value proposition.
Here’s a look at the two issues:
At Elle, editor in chief Robbie Myers and creative director Alex Gonzalez flipped through the March issue, which features Brie Larson on the cover shot by Terry Tsiolis and styled by fashion director Samira Nasr.
“We try to put women on the cover who are in some sort of transition,” said Myers, who turned to the portrait-style shot of Larson. “Everyone says she’s having her moment. I say she’s starting her moment.”
Noting the bigger trim size, bolder fonts and pull quotes that expand into the body of a story, Gonzalez said, “We’ve been working on this transition for over a year. It’s in the spirit of what Elle has always been — the modern woman.”
The modernization extended to fashion spreads, he said, pointing to a fashion story inspired by the WWD-coined term “Ladies Who Lunch.” With his team, Gonzalez created a revised version of the Chanel-clad socialites of the Fifties and Sixties by using lesser-known, young, multiracial models.
“We spent a lot of time looking at Elle archivally…we moved that girl forward. What would that girl be now? That girl is very much a girl of the street. It’s a cool girl. It’s a downtown girl,” said Gonzalez, pointing to a tattooed model clad in fine jewelry. “What we wanted to do was to populate the entire issue with different iterations of that.”
Acknowledging a nod to street style, Gonzalez and Myers have been slowly transforming Elle to reflect what is happening in culture. The duo worked with design director Evan Campisi to reflect those subtle, yet bold changes in the magazine’s pages.
“I had never been keen on redesigns,” Gonzalez offered. “I don’t think a mag as successful as Elle needed a revolution. I thought it needed an evolution because fashion is about the now and the tomorrow. Every brand needs to move forward.”
While digital may be a big part of the future for magazines, Myers noted that fashion is a story best told in print.
“The page is still able to do something in a superior way that isn’t replicable in terms of fashion,” the editor said.
The Elle issue is 518 pages total including front and back covers. The issue will hit newsstands beginning Wednesday and will retail for $5.99, which is the increased price by $2 for the March, August and September issues.
At Time Inc., InStyle editor in chief Ariel Foxman highlighted the importance of upping the luxury quotient and creating a “relaxing,” “immersive” and value-laden experience for the reader in print.
Foxman pointed to the fact that an InStyle subscription has never been more than $21 a year, and therefore, the reader deserves a quality product. (On the newsstand, March and September issues cost $5.99, while other months cost $4.99).
The editor noted that the decision for the redesign follows a digital rehaul in 2014 across Time Inc.’s titles. At the time, Foxman wanted the magazine to reflect updates on the Web without mirroring the “frenetic pace of digital.”
The 490-page March issue, which goes on sale Friday, features Shailene Woodley on the cover, and includes a 14-page multicover LVMH ad unit.
While the InStyle logo remains the same, the banner that appeared on top of every cover is gone, allowing for more versatility.
Foxman and his team not only gave InStyle a facelift, but they also took a scalpel to the stories within the magazine, updating them and swapping some out.
“We wanted to make sure the magazine felt more like an escape,” said the editor, who is overseeing InStyle’s second redesign since he joined as the title’s editor at large seven years ago.
The most obvious changes to InStyle include new fonts, bolder images that bleed off the page and two new sections called “The Get” and “The Guide.” The former is a visual exploration of editors’ picks for must-have products in stores now, while the latter is a deep-dive service piece on a variety of topics in fashion, beauty and travel. For instance, March’s “Guide” is on sunglasses, mascara and a city guide to Los Angeles. In total, the two new sections will command about 18 to 22 pages of real estate every issue.
New features will include a tech and social media page called “Tech, Yeah!” as well as “Party Planner,” a photo-driven feature with recipes for cocktails, food and decorations for entertaining.
InStyle has also added plus-size model Ashley Graham as a columnist to contribute to its “Great Style Has No Size” feature, as well as “The Diary,” a rundown of what female industry leaders do every day. Tory Burch is the first subject.
While service and shopping-centric stories remain core to InStyle’s DNA and have been built out, Foxman noted that fashion news director Eric Wilson will get more real estate for his columns.
With more space carved out for beauty, fashion, accessories and lifestyle stories, Foxman said that the only thing he worries about is getting stuck in a formula.
“The challenge now is not to get a template,” he said, pointing to the City Guides section, which will provide advice that changes every month depending on the destination. “We need to remain surprising and exciting.”