Elle Idols look to future

Elle has given eight aspiring “fashionistas” the chance to create their own mini version of the magazine.

Future Elle has been created by a team of up-andcoming fashion journalists, feature writers and photographers and is on sale with the May issue of Elle.

The women’s glossy launched its campaign for new talent in October in conjunction with American Express. Thousands of entries flooded in and a shortlist of 16 were called to London to face a celebrity judging panel in December. The panel included some of the biggest names in the fashion industry, such as British designer Alexander McQueen, model Jodie Kidd and her makeup artist sister Gemma, and Elle editor Sarah Bailey.

The awards ceremony, a “glittering affair”, was dubbed “Elle Idol” by staff and, like Pop Idol, the tension proved too much for one journalist, Faye Marchant, who had to be comforted by Jodie Kidd.

Eight winners were eventually chosen and given the chance to spend eight weeks with the Elle team in the office creating Future Elle.

Bailey said Elle received more than 50 unsolicited CVs every month from journalists wanting to work there and the competition would give the winners a “foot in the door” to learn from some of the most influential people in the fashion industry.

The winning eight were feature writer Faye Merchant, an English tutor who is writing her first novel; fashion feature writer Emma Love, who has just finished work experience at Vogue; fashion stylist Katherine Murphy, a model booker; graphic designer Emily Page, who has just graduated from Nottingham Trent University; photographer Rebecca Anne Hunt, photographic assistant; makeup artist Therese Dombek, sales assistant, Space NK; illustrator Catriona Allison, student; and beauty stylist Katrina Doran, PR and marketing manager.

Elle associate editor Marion Jones, who edited Future Elle, said the contest attracted 2,000 entries.

The winners came into the Elle office in January and were each assigned a member of staff as a mentor.

“They only had eight weeks so they just had to get cracking and produce the damn thing,” Jones told Press Gazette. “It’s a real first for us to do something like this. We went back to the drawing board on a few occasions, but all of them had the talent. It was just a case of bringing that talent out.”

The winners had to contend with the usual difficulties experienced by the glossies, including a torrential downpour in Epping Forest where they had chosen to do their fashion shoot. “It absolutely poured,” Jones added. “They had all these expensive clothes and had to put plastic bags over the models’ shoes but they overcame it. They have gone from buying the magazine to producing it in just two months. They really had to come up with the goods and they took it very seriously.”

By Ruth Addicott

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