A new day has dawned at Allure. Today, Condé Nast announced that longtime editor Linda Wells, who founded the magazine in 1991, has left the brand, and while her name will remain on the masthead as “founding editor,” she is moving to a consulting role with the company. Wells was replaced by Michelle Lee, who worked at InTouch from 2004 to 2012, and was named editor-in-chief there in 2010. In mid-2014, Lee took the top spot at NYLON and now-defunct NYLON Guys after the controversial ousting of founding editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and publisher Jaclynn Jarrett. NYLON experienced another round of layoffs on the print side earlier this month in the wake of a steep decline in ad pages; the website, under the leadership of editorial director Leila Brillson, earned 4.2 million unique visitors in September.
Under Wells, Allure was a powerhouse in the publishing industry, beloved by readers and advertisers alike for its meticulously-reported, service-driven approach to health and beauty. Its October “Best of Beauty” awards package emerged as a sales-driving force, bestowing honors to products that were ranked by both readers and the magazine’s editors. Under the leadership of Wells and creative director Paul Cavaco, who earned the CFDA’s Eugenia Sheppard Award in 2014, the magazine became internationally acclaimed for its photography, using top talents like Mario Testino, Michael Thompson, Patrick Demarchelier, and Norman Jean Roy to create groundbreaking beauty-centric editorials on A-listers like Angelina Jolie, Rooney Mara, and Julia Roberts.
According to reports from inside Condé Nast’s headquarters at One World Trade Center, Wells informed her staff of the news this morning, and many of her longtime deputies became emotional at the news. Anna Wintour is said to have met with staffers, whose takeaway was that the magazine is entering into the digital phase of its evolution—messaging that is consistent with Condé Nast’s official release, which, notably, carried no mention of Wintour, who generally provides a quote in corporate communiqués.
“Today we begin a new phase of innovation for the brand, with Michelle paving the way for the next wave of consumers who crave interactive beauty content that’s both inspiring and approachable,” said Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg in the statement. How can a paper magazine page be interactive? Shall we begin the countdown to Allure‘s digital-only future? And will Cavaco and his creative team stay under the new leadership? Watch this space for news.