1945 is the year when Hélène Lazareff founded ELLE magazine in Paris. This French journalist, who had returned to Paris after several years in New York working for fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, launched the first edition of ELLE with a subversive and elegantly simple vision: to “open women’s appetites.”
At that time, Paris had been ravaged by the war, and France had been duty and class bound for centuries. That’s why the mission of Hélène Lazareff was so unique, bold and revolutionary: a woman creating a magazine that would be run by women, with the objective to help all women figure out what they wanted, instead of dictating to them what to do! With such a perspective and philosophy, its influence was huge.
ELLE democratized fashion. A simple example: Lazareff suggested wearing pants during the winter. It became a post war fashion trend, freeing working women everywhere from the physically, and psychologically limiting uniform of stockings and skirts.
Over the years, the magazine opened its editorial line to subjects as diverse as women’s rights (one of the main battles of Hélène Lazareff), vacation planning, and advice on romance or cooking. The strength of ELLE was to be as attractive to factory girls as to manufacturers’ wives. Nowadays, ELLE is such a part of the French way of living that nearly every woman in the country is said to have read it.