Marie Claire’s Joanna Coles On The iPad And Making It In Fashion

Kerry Pieri

Joanna Coles. Photo: Eugene Gologursky, WireImage

iPhone apps are so 2009. Technology and fashion are basically symbiotic in that both are constantly changing, have to look incredible and have utility. Marie Claire‘s new iPad app Marie Claire Fall Fashion A to Z melds the best of both worlds. From trends to 360 degree product views, beauty, celeb style and daily outfit ideas, it’s super visual, a lot of fun and costs $2.99, which is basically one mag at the newsstand. We chatted the state of print, Nina Garcia and why wood nymphs don’t make for good fashion editorials with Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire, Joanna Coles.

So tell me about the new iPad app!

The thing thats so great about the iPad is the design and fashion is also all about design. We wanted to come up with a great way to put it together in the A-Z application, and I think that what weve done plays into the technology of the iPad its very tactile.

103675 1287587201 Marie Claires Joanna Coles On The iPad And Making It In FashionPhoto courtesy of Marie Claire

Why do you think its so important for magazines to have a strong digital element?

Digital is really a part of our readers’ lives and it’s another way of bringing the magazine to her and bringing the part that print can’t bring to her. Print is very luxurious and it’s portable you can have it with you in a bath, on a plane, put it in your bag. [With the iPad] you can sample things. In the magazine we can show a photo of the shoe; on the iPad you can get a 360 degree view of the shoe.

Your brand is doing so well what do you think sets Marie Claire apart from other fashion mags?

I think that what sets us apart is that we’re more than just a fashion magazine. We have great stories about women who have overcome things, or inspiring women who have achieved their dreams. Also, our fashion is very real and we dont do a lot of fashion shoots as women dressed up as wood nymphs dancing through a forest its about the useful.

Marie Claire has such an amazing balance of fashion and social awareness. Why do you think thats so important and how do you maintain it?

I think women find it very interesting and they are engaged with things beyond themselves. If you have a life where you only think of yourself, you’ll be miserable. We do stories in which readers help women across the world and you get the sense of ‘I have to appreciate that I dont live in a place where I have to wake up to walk three miles to get water, or that I don’t have to worry that my neighbor will rape me, and if I go to the police they won’t rape me.’

What are the biggest challenges you face in your position?

The challenge we face is that we are always looking for the great photographer and the best models and the celebrity you want to read about that month staying on top of things. The world is getting much bigger but also much smaller.

Fast fashion has become so ubiquitous, do you think there will be a backlash?

I think that what will eventually happen is the biggest designers will be forced to do more collections like H&M and Zara. You see a brand like Burberry now that has a show in September and then the items will be available to wear if you order them in November or December it’s all about speeding things up.

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Photo courtesy of Marie Claire

What advice do you have for those just breaking into fashion journalism?

I think set up your own blog or website like StyleCaster. With the web you have an easy way to demonstrate your interests. Ask people you respect, reach out to people and ask what you want to ask them and demonstrate what you can do. You can email your work to strangers that you wouldnt be able to get in touch with otherwise.

Which women do you think embody fashion right now?

Nina Garcia embodies tremendous fashion. When she came to work here we wanted to see if she would come in wearing something different every day, but her daily looks always have something she feels familiar with, and everything is a variation on that sort of a uniform in a way. She is one of our style heroines. And Emma Watson is on our December cover and she has this amazing pixie cut and she was so effortless in the looks. I think shes a new fashion face for the future.

What were you loving at Spring Fashion Week?

I loved Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and I love that color is coming back in a big way. Ill never wear it, but I’m happy to see it on other people! And Lanvin I just think hes [Alber Elbaz] such a great, interesting designer.