Elle US to launch customizable app in October

As Mediaweek reported recently, Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Elle won’t be the first of the big fashion monthlies to come out with its own app for the iPad when it launches with its October issue in mid-September (Condé Nast’s Glamour beat it by a month, having launched with its September issue). But given the slim fashion/beauty pickings in the App Store, it stands a good chance of getting a warm welcome from the fashion set.

Like other magazine apps, Elle’s contains the full contents of the magazine as well as extras like behind the scenes interviews, e-commerce links, photos and video from photo shoots and a video version of Robbie Myers’ editor’s letter. But the app’s signature feature is the ability to customize the experience. In keeping with its editorial devotion to personal style, Elle included in its app a feature it calls Elle Personal Stylist, an electronic take on the paper doll onto which users can drop items from the issue to create outfits. The outfits can be saved on “inspiration boards,” the iPad equivalent of tearing out pictures from a magazine and pinning them to a bulletin board.

Users also can shuffle the order of the table of contents. “We don’t dictate a look, we let you create something new,” said Elle Group design director Paul Ritter, explaining the thinking behind the features. Ritter, along with Ted Nadeau, general manager, Elle Group Digital, spearheaded the app. Elle plans to launch its app with the October issue, which is also when the title marks its 25th anniversary.

In terms of pricing, Elle was a little less aggressive than many other magazines that have priced their iPad apps the same as print to recoup the cost of free digital content. Elle is charging $2.99 per iPad issue, $1 off the newsstand cover price. To encourage trial, it’s also making the first issue free to subscribers.

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