'Elle' Goes to the Middle East

Hachette Filipacchi is unveiling the Middle Eastern edition of Elle this Friday, which, barring any last minute editorial fatwas, will appear on newsstands in Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco. A second, more conservative version of the Lebanese publication will hit Saudi Arabia in October (though the Saudi government will likely black out most of the images anyhow — how Gilles Bensimon shall cry!). None of these editions will feature Hilary Duff on their covers, making them far superior to our own glossy version.

The new editions of Elle will have "an eye focused on the West, with the magazine's roots firmly planted in the Middle East," meaning that readers can expect Manolos and burkas, Gucci ads for accessories (but not clothes), and a sneak peak, if they're lucky, of the new hijab from Imitation of Christ. The Lebanese version even has an article on The Vagina Monologues that doesn't once use the word "vagina." Hmm. Is there a direct Arabic translation for "hoo-hoo?"

Conde Nast does not plan to follow suit, explaining that the Middle Eastern market is "not white enough."

Chic Under Wraps [WSJ]