French weekly. A small revolution on glossy paper which deeply influenced the image of women in France and all over the world. Elle was founded right after World War II by Hélène Gordon-Lazareff, a highly charismatic figure and a symbol of the contemporary feminine press. She had her professional training in New York under the guidance of Carmel Snow and Diana Vreeland of Harper’s Bazaar. On one of its first covers, for the 2 May 1949 issue, was a very blond and beautiful 16 year-old girl. It was the début of Brigitte Bardot. Inside were articles by Colette and Marcel Pagnol. First a monthly, and then a weekly, the magazine was from the start very innovative in concept. It acquired a wide and affectionate readership among the most modern, independent, and active members of the female universe. It soon became a very trendy magazine, with great influence on the major cultural debates of the time. Directed with authority by Lazareff, who for her working style would be nicknamed “the Czarina”, it was ahead of its time, introducing an innovative journalistic slant and anticipating many of the arguments of feminism. It also published many of the great names in photography. The formula proved successful and the figures confirm it. From an initial 110,000 copies, within ten years the magazine would stabilize at around 800,000 copies, reaching the record figure of 1 million copies in the early 1960s. On its pages, the first generation of designers was launched, from Michèle Rosier and Sonia Rykiel to Emmanuelle Khanh and Paco Rabanne. But the main characteristic of the magazine, an editorial policy which is today still the secret of its success, is the great harmony between the themes of culture and business and the pages devoted to beauty and fashion. Acquired in 1980 by the Filippacchi Group, Elle is today directed by Anne-Marie Périer and published in 21 foreign editions.
Besides more than twenty editions around the world, the magazine has in recent years started 16 web-sites, including those in India, Taiwan, China, and Brazil.