Elle was founded in Paris in 1945 by Hélène Gordon-Lazareff and her husband, the writer Pierre Lazareff.

Hélène Gordon-Lazareff

The title means “she” or “her” in French. It is is considered one of the world’s largest fashion magazines, with 46 international editions in over 60 countries. It has over 69 million readers, with an audience of mostly women

Fashion, beauty, lifestyle and the empowerment of women form the foundation on which the brand is based.


Prior to establishing the magazine, Hélène was already writing for established fashion publications. She always had a strong desire, to start her on women focused magazine. . After returning to Paris in 1944 with her husband Pierre Lazareff, she saw that the time had come and she started working on the magazine.

The history of the Elle magazine | CharmantFirst issue of Elle 1945

In 1945, after the end of World War II, the first issue of the magazine was launched onto the world. It was and first sold as a supplement to France-Soir, edited at the time by Pierre Lazareff. The magazine dove immediately into long-form “newspaper-like” features on women’s role in national politics and the growing feminist movement. Articles featuring rising fashion designers, the magazine would provide free patterns of some of their fashion pieces. This allowed the general public to experience haute couture as the glamor of the fashion world was becoming accessible to the common working class.

From the start, it has sought to inspire women to change the world and develop themselves and their own sense of fashion, beauty and lifestyle. In doing so, the magazine has always believed that women should enjoy the best of what life has to offer while doing something meaningful for others.


The 100th issue, published on 14 October 1947, featured the work of Christian Dior just eight months after his debut show. Likewise, Brigitte Bardot had her first cover with the agazine at age 17, on 7 January 1952, months before her screen debut in Manina, the Girl in the Bikini.

ELLE N°100 du 14 Octobre 1947 Christian Dior — vintage magazine |  Tendencias, Chapéu100th issue, published on 14 October 1947

By the 1960s, the magazine had a readership of 800,000 across France and was said to “not so much reflect fashion as decree it.” This dominance was reflected in the famous slogan: “Si elle lit, elle lit Elle” ‘If she reads, she reads Elle’

In Brazil was the first commercial magazine in the world to have a transgender model on its cover, with Lea T. in December 2011. The Brazilian edition had also discovered transgender model Valentina Sampaio and had put her on the cover before French Vogue.

Transgender Model Lea T Covers Brazilian ElleLea T on Cover


The magazine soon grew to become more than just a French magazine. Lagardère Group subsidiary, Hachette Filipacchi Médias began pushing for publications outside of Europe. In 1969, launching its Japanese publication. In 1985, launched in Britain and the United States.

The Chinese version of the magazine was first published in 1988. . It was the first four-color fashion magazine offered in China. The magazine was used as an informational and educational tool for opening of the Chinese textile market.

In 1989, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. launched the Decor magazine, focusing on home decor. Subsequently, in 2007 they launched their website marking their entry in the digital world.


Soon they evolved beyond the pages and cemented their values, and went ahead to portray its brand. The brand now includes a large portfolio of products that are inspired by the unique vibe of the magazine and the inimitable Parisian lifestyle. Accessories, care and decorative items. As well as, fragrances, wall paint and carpet collections, sportswear.

They also launched ELLE Apparel Kids: children’s clothing that turns every kid into a little Parisian.


As a brand its owned by the Lagardère Group of France. However the magazine’s operations are under the care of various publishing houses. Notably, in France by Czech Media Invest, in the U.S. and the UK by Hearst Magazines, etc.

They have their headquarters in Paris as well as licensed publishers around the world.



Marie Claire