Inside the relaunch of ELLE Australia

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 4 March 2024
Grace O’Neill and Nicky Briger.

Fashion title ELLE Australia magazine officially relaunched today after a four-year hiatus.

The 244-page Bright Young Things issue – featuring actor Sophie Wilde on the cover – ties in with a focus that editor Grace O'Neill says is like being an incubator for young Australian creative talent.

"We really wanted to lean into this idea of celebrating and nurturing this next generation of young Australian stars and that's something that we feel very proud of and excited by; we see ourselves almost as owning that space in the Australian media market," she says.

When O'Neill accepted the job as editor of the new ELLE Australia magazine, she tells AdNews she was thinking a lot about what works in print and what works in digital and how that content exists on a number of different mediums.

"I think a mistake we saw in the 2010s was this emergence of these new mediums - like YouTube, social media, Instagram etc - and some magazines rushing to put things that should belong on the Internet into a magazine," she says.

With 45 global editions, Are Media will publish two editions of ELLE Australia locally – today’s autumn/winter edition and a spring/summer edition in September – before moving to four editions in 2025. O'Neill says such a strategy is a "really smart way" to reintroduce people to ELLE slowly and very intentionally.

"To suddenly come back with 12 issues a year, it didn't allow us the time to put the team and the infrastructure in place and to really think about what we wanted the identity and the content to be and how we wanted it to look and feel," she says.

"This gave us the freedom to present a very considered product and we're able to do that again in September; the idea of slowly moving to four next year and hopefully six the year after that just speaks to wanting to create a product that's very intentional and not just reactive."


The cover of the first relaunched ELLE Magazine cover

O'Neill says that the response in the market to the relaunch was that ELLE has been "really missed".

"There was this huge disruption in print in 2020 with the closure of many titles and both readers and advertisers really felt that gap very profoundly - especially the kind of caliber of advertisers that we work with, they want to see these beautiful campaigns that they spent so much money on exist in the ecosystem of a print magazine," she tells AdNews.

"From a readership perspective, what's really exciting is that we've noticed a big uptick on digital traffic as we’ve announced the news of the print magazine coming back."

Nicky Briger, Are Media's GM of fashion and beauty, says the advertiser response to the relaunch has been "pretty phenomenal".

"We’re thrilled with the response from advertisers: they’ve been overwhelmingly positive from the moment we mentioned plans to bring back the print product," she says.

"The real proof is in the end result: we’ve landed 60% above our advertising budget, which shows there’s a strong appetite for more luxury publishers in the market."

With the sixth consecutive increase in readership at Are Media and all 23 print brands under the company's stable enjoying readership hikes, O'Neill says that there was always a feeling that when ELLE closed in 2020, there was a certain inevitability to it coming back at some point.

"This uptick in print readership was a really good sign that that our instincts were correct, that it was the right time [to relaunch]," she says.

Briger says that for Are Media, print is the cornerstone or foundation of any mega publishing brand - it’s what bricks and mortar is to e-commerce.

"In luxury fashion, print legitimises a brand; it’s a luxury product in itself, especially in this digital age where everything’s transitory," she tells AdNews.

"To have and to hold a hefty, luxe, gorgeous magazine is super special. Since Covid, magazines are slowly re-emerging as an important part of a brand’s offering. ELLE has a strong digital and social presence; print is just a luxury extension of that omni-offering.

"But while print is the centrepiece, our digital properties are doing exceptionally well, with digital advertising and content commerce in rapid growth. Transforming our brands from print products into omnichannel powerhouses with strong content commerce capabilities is our future." currently reaches a total Australian audience of over 1.6 million across all touch points, with a social following of over a million across Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

O'Neill says that if the print product is extremely strong, it makes everything else stronger - the website, the social media presence and the What The ELLE? podcast series, hosted by O'Neill.

"When I think about the next two years, it's about building print up to be of the absolute highest quality of writing, fashion and creatives that we're working with - seeing that really resonate with readers and have a strong following from that end," she says.

In terms of a content direction for where she sees the magazine headed, O'Neill says when she thinks what she gets out of the physicality of print, it comes back to "really fantastic feature length writing and really beautiful fashion and beauty imagery".

"That depth of writing and those level of quality images don't translate online in the way they do in a physical print magazine," she tells AdNews.

"As we were working through what worked for the issue, we had this whole team of in-house staffers and contributors pitching dozens and dozens of ideas and we were so ruthless with what actually makes sense as a print feature, but a huge amount of those ideas are going to go on the website, into TikToks, into podcasting etc.

"There's a real idea of leaning into what makes a print feature a print feature - you have the luxury of time and space to play with - and then from a fashion perspective, ELLE carved out a very unique place in the fashion magazine landscape in that it's very much rooted in wearability, accessibility and that high/low mix, so we have amazing luxury advertisers that we're speaking to, but we're also showcasing a mix of price points in the shopping pages."

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus