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Joe Zee has played a major part in the direction of women's fashion since he took on the role of creative director at Elle magazine in 2007, and his street cred rocketed with the high-school crowd when he began appearing on MTV's The City. We emailed with the 2009 Out 100 honoree to chat about his new projects, the latest trends, and of course, the future of publishing.
Out: What can you tell us about your new book, The ELLEments of Personal Style?
It was a concept for a book we came up with to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Elle magazine in America. Because we identify so strongly with the idea of personal style, the book is a real reflection of personal style seen through the eyes of 25 women -- some expected, some not. The great thing is each of these women represent some aspect of who our true ideal Elle woman is.
What's your new show, All on the Line on the Sundance Channel about?
It's a great concept for a show. It's really about mentoring, helping, and growing the next generation of young designers. In each episode I focus on one designer who needs my help and I give them straight-up advice on how they can better their line or change their business or just reposition themselves. In the end, whether they listen or not and whether their business changes or not will remain to be seen. The important thing is it's not a game show, there are no judging panels. It's all real life and a real business.
Why has Elle decided to embrace television so much more than other popular women's magazines?
I think Elle is definitely the leader when it comes to understanding that the future of media has to lie in brand content -- whether that's on the Internet, the TV, or the printed page. It can't exist in one medium alone.
How's the new Elle office?
Bright and airy and loud and very communal. But I love it. Reminds me of my old WWD and W days.
Which spring 2011 collections are you most excited about?
Jil Sander was a very beautiful collection. Bright, simple, but incredibly imaginative. And a lot of Paris shows were incredible: Chanel, Balenciaga, YSL.
What's your favorite trend this season?
Color. Nice to see something other than black once in awhile.
You tweet a lot. Why is Twitter important to you?
It's my way of sharing. I have access to lot of information and ideas and some things are wonderful to share. I know if I was a fashion kid starting out I'd love to be able to read about it firsthand daily. Or hourly.
Where do you see the future of publishing headed?
Becoming a 360-degree multimedia world.
For more from Joe Zee, follow him on Twitter.