Elle: Too Gay?

Fashion magazines have a female target audience. But the look of many fashion magazines is controlled, to a large extent, by gay men. Is that a problem for the magazines? It could be. The interests of the gays and fashion-conscious women overlap, but not perfectly (see the Perez Hilton empire, example A). But is it really possible for a women's fashion magazine to become too gay? A brief perusal of Elle tells us: it just might be!

Elle, you'll recall, boasts a creative director named Joe Zee, a free-spending man who hired his "rumored paramour," Keith Pollock, to head the magazine's website. That move didn't appear to be motivated by business sense, given Pollock's background in retail. But Pollock couldn't hang on forever with only Zee's support; he recently left the magazine (at about the same time as Hachette boss Jack Kliger, whose legacy wasn't helped much by Elle's recent performance).

Pollock, we hear, may have landed a job with the production company of Stylista, the new reality show starring Elle fashion news director Anne Slowey. But the magazine he left behind continues to wrestle with how to successfully establish itself online-and how to retain its traditional audience in print.

So could Zee's overt gayness be pulling the magazine's style so far away from the heterosexual side of the spectrum that it's turning off straight female readers? An Elle spokesperson says that in his role as creative director, Zee does "everything from styling, editing, working with the Art Dept, etc." But she says that his input on major decisions like cover choices is just one of "dozens" of voices.

But another insider characterizes the covers as "all Zee's doing." The truth is likely somewhere in between, but there's no question Zee is a major driving force in the magazine's look.

So with Kliger out, Pollock gone, and the magazine in a shaky position, could Zee's job be on the line as well-because he has made Elle TOO GAY? Probably not, really. But you be the judge:

Elle: Too Gay?