Anne-Marie Curtis promised “change is afoot” at Elle when she took the helm as editor-in-chief in April, a pledge that has manifested itself not only in the look and feel of the magazine but also in its editorial structure, revealed by the recent exit of her deputy, Lotte Jeffs.
Jeffs was employed by Hearst’s fashion flagship Elle in July 2015 and was made acting editor-in-chief in November last year for its UK edition following Lorraine Candy’s jump to the newspaper industry as luxury content director for the Sunday Times, and editor-in-chief of its fashion supplement Style.
She held this role for six months until Curtis was elevated to editor-in-chief in April this year, when Jeffs became deputy editor. Curtis was formerly Elle’s fashion director and had been at the magazine for 12 years when she took up the top role, and the move has been lauded as sparking a “mini-revolution” in the UK’s fashion magazine industry that has seen both Elle and Vogue welcome in new editorship and more progressive editorial visions.
However, bold new visions - and subsequent internal restructures - don't always translate well with existing staff. Which could explain why Jeffs has announced her exit from Elle in a LinkedIn post that has revealed her role as deputy editor has been made redundant and merged with another position, which Jeffs claimed she “declined the opportunity to apply for”.
“So sad to be leaving Elle on Friday as my role as deputy editor has been made redundant and merged with another position which I declined the opportunity to apply for,” the post read.
“It's been a crazy 12 months,” she continued. “...Working for Elle has been the most thrilling and intellectually rewarding experience of my professional life and I'm so proud of everything the team and I achieved together, not least two full redesigns! I'm pleased to be continuing to contribute to the brand as a writer but I’m moving to LA for a month to work on a book and take on freelance assignments and cover profiles before heading back to London in January.”
Hearst confirmed today (31 October) that the deputy editor role has been merged with fashion features director role, to “create a more fashion-focused role that reflects the new brand strategy”.
Kenya Hunt, who joined Elle in 2015 as acting content director and was later appointed fashion features director, will take up this new, merged role. She will oversee the generation of editorial content for the magazine, continue to lead the curation of creative fashion features, and act as an overall “guardian” for the brand and its tone, the publisher has said. Hunt will report directly to Curtis. She has officially commenced her role.
Prior to joining Elle, Hunt led the launch of the digital fashion sector at Metro International, after working as the paper’s global style director for five years. In addition, she was formerly a contributing editor for Vogue Italy, and has written for titles including the Guardian and the American editions of Vogue, Marie Claire and InStyle. She began her career at Jane magazine.
Commenting on Hunt’s new role, Curtis said: “Kenya is extremely creative and intelligent and possesses an innate understanding of Elle that reflects our new strategy. I look forward to working closely with her and drawing on her valuable fashion expertise to implement our vision for the brand.”