Elle Magazine Creates Its Own Content -- and Not in Print

'Project Runway' Mainstay Produces Short Film Based on Editorial

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NEW YORK -- After working its brand into three hit seasons of "Project Runway" and a coming clothing line in Kohl's stores, Elle magazine is finally ready for its close-up.

On May 8, the international fashion publication from Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. will enter the short-film space with "Raving," a 20-minute flick written and directed by actress Julia Stiles (a 2002 Elle cover girl). It's a story ripped from the pages of Elle magazine -- literally. The screenplay is based on an October 2006 editorial called "The Dress That Changed My Life."

The movie was produced by Plum Pictures, New York, and Elle Fashion Stories.

Working with a dream partner
In the film, actress and frequent Elle profile subject Zooey Deschanel plays a down-on-her-luck New York singleton whose life is transformed after she tries on a dress designed by Emporio Armani, a key plot point in the film and a dream brand to have onboard for Integrated-Marketing Director Zoe Abbott.

"We thought very carefully about who we would want to partner with on this," Ms. Abbott said. "We've worked very closely with them on a couple of big marketing [projects], and they've been fantastic partners because they've got a lot of vision."

The film will also be quite visible after its May 8 TV premiere on the Sundance Channel. On May 9, it will be available on iTunes as well as a MySpace fashion site, where the film is a featured profile and Ms. Stiles appears in a taped introduction.

Ms. Abbott said the project was created with the intention that it could be seen anywhere but in an actual movie theater.

Viral distribution
"We wanted to do viral distribution as much as possible, and really maximized that between MySpace and iTunes. Sundance seemed like a perfect match because their content is interesting and original. They love Julia and Zooey and have always been supporters of theirs."

Ms. Abbott and her team at Elle are already brainstorming for what they hope will be similar short films along the lines of "Raving," aiming to take their readers' unique connection with their brand to the next level.

"We felt like our unique position in the marketplace is we speak about women's emotional relationship to fashion and beauty. ... Elle is more than just a fashion magazine. It's a good, smart read," she said. "We really see these 'fashion stories' as something we can continue to execute in a lot of different ways. More movies, online, shows, live events, books. The possibilities are endless."
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