Elle was founded in Paris by Helene Gordon-Lazareff in the immediate aftermath of World War II. First sold as a supplemental insert to the magazine France-Soir, which was edited at the time by Helene’s husband, Pierre Lazareff. Hélène Gordon-Lazareff returned to Paris after a visit to New York City to create a unique publication that grappled with the many forces shaping the lives of women in France in 1945. Women won the right to vote in France in 1944, and Elle dived immediately into long-form “newspaper-like” features on women’s role in national politics and the growing feminist movement.
In addition to articles regarding women’s issues, the magazine featured fashion icons and celebrities such as Christian Dior, Bridgette Bardo, and Greta Garbo. By the 1960s, the magazine had 800,000 subscribers. International publishing in other languages began in 1969, with publishing in the US in 1985.
Today, Elle is a worldwide lifestyle magazine that focuses on fashion, beauty, health, celebrities, and entertainment. Elle is owned by the Lagardere Group of France. It is published in the U.S. and the UK by Hearst Magazine, which also sells furniture and decor items under the Elle name. Elle is the world’s largest fashion magazine, with more than 46 international editions sold in 60 countries.
In 2011, Hearst Corporation reached a deal with Lagardereto purchase the rights to publish Elle Magazine in fifteen countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, and Ukraine. Lagardére, which has struggled in the international market since the 2000s, retained the rights to the French edition and would collect royalties from the international editions.
Headquarters for the magazine are located in New York, New York.