• ELLE: Justine Cullen gets set for Elle Australia launch.
    ELLE: Justine Cullen gets set for Elle Australia launch.

Elle Australia will launch with an unprecedented editorial team of just over 20 staff, with every issue for the first 12 months numbering at over 300 pages.

Elle Australia editor-in-chief Justine Cullen has shed new light on the highly anticipated print launch, scheduled for September.

Speaking to ragtrader.com.au, Cullen revealed the just over 20 staff will make up the editorial team.

This comes on the back of several announced appointments, including deputy editor Damien Woolnough and fashion director Nicole Bonython.

The appointments also include fashion-editor-at-large Heathermary Jackson, senior fashion editor Valeryi Yong, junior fashion editor Emma Reed and market editor Dee Jenner.

Genevra Leek will shift rank from Vogue Australia to take the reign as fashion features director.

Elle US's Janna Johnson will also head over as beauty and health director, working alongside beauty and lifestyle associate Amy Starr.

Art director Carly Townsend will move to the title from Real Living magazine.

Cullen described her own appointment, announced in March, as a long process involving joint venture holders Bauer Media Australia, Hearst International New York and licensee Lagardere Active Paris.

"I needed to create a very (very!) detailed proposal for how I saw the magazine in this market, and essentially pitch it to all the stakeholders. Many months, multiple countries, some fierce competition.

"For me that was a positive though, because when I finally started I knew who I wanted on the team and exactly what the vision was and was able to hit the ground running."

Cullen has spent the last several months meeting with key advertisers to introduce the Elle brand, as well as overseeing research, marketing and distribution frameworks.

Meanwhile, Elle Australia's online sister is scheduled to launch in August.

"The website is its own beast," Cullen said. "It’s launching first and won’t have re-purposed print content. It’s been especially designed so that my editorial team can create the content in a way that works hand in hand with how the reader is consuming the magazine.

"We will also have a unique mobile themed app and a tablet version of the magazine ready to go from launch with all the bells and whistles. My focus is on creating a fashion media brand that makes sense for an Australian woman for now – and not one that feels anything like one she might have experienced ten, five or even two years ago."

Cullen said she is prepared for fierce competition in the wake of its launch.

"I know that the industry is highly anticipating Elle's launch and will be bringing out all their tricks come the back half of the year. My only strategy is to have tunnel vision about what I want to do and how I can go about making that happen without caring about what anyone else is doing."

While Cullen remained tight-lipped on the launch issue, she confirmed each edition for the next 12 months will number at over 300 pages.

"It’s a huge investment from Bauer into a really value packed, pure product. We don’t want to buy our readers with cheap tip ons or lure them with a mascara. We have enough faith in this masthead and this product that all the investment is going into the actual book."

Cullen said the online component will be equally compelling.

"The website will have a very much ‘breaking news’ kind of feel, with a very global outlook. It will cover off trends, news, runway, beauty and pop culture. I’m so excited about the site – it will look and read differently to any other magazine site in the Australian landscape."

Cullen acknowledged the tough media landscape, in the wake of recent magazine closures such as Grazia and Madison, but looked to her successful stint as editor of Shop Til You Drop.

"It is a really hard time, especially for non-international mastheads. I don’t think I have any secrets, but my strategy at Shop was just to give the product a voice and a personality to keep readers as emotionally engaged as possible.

"I think that was the thing that helped us get through that tough post-2008 period relatively unscathed. That’s something I definitely want to bring to Elle."

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