Who: Zee is the creative director of Elle. He may be better known, though, for his regular appearances on MTV's The City.
Backstory: Toronto native Zee paid his dues at Allure before moving on to W, where he was fashion director for nine years. In 2003, he was tapped by then-Fairchild chief Patrick McCarthy to launch a high-end shopping title for men called Vitals. Unfortunately, while the magalog formula had been a big success with Lucky, Vitals—-and the similarly-themed Cargo—never took off and Zee's baby was shuttered in September 2005. Zee went on to contribute to Details, Vanity Fair, and House & Garden as a fashion fix-it man until his Condé contract expired in December 2006. He then decamped to Hachette's Elle as creative director where he reports to editor-in-chief Robbie Myers.
Of note: One of the most well-regarded stylists around, Zee has dressed everyone from Madonna to Julia Roberts. He gave Britney Spears a memorable S&M dominatrix look for a 2003 issue of W, which became the biggest selling issue in the mag's history, and he was responsible for Justin Timberlake's conversion from gold chains and hip-hop streetwear to retro suits, skinny ties, and fedoras.
The decision to bring in Zee as Elle's creative director marked a big change in direction for the title. (Founding international creative director Gilles Bensimon was supplanted in the process.) After his arrival in February 2007, Zee got busy revamping the mag and stirred up a bit of drama as a number of staffers were shown the door. Zee's arrival also led to the departure of fashion director/reality TV star Nina Garcia, who parted ways with the mag in April 2008 and is now at Marie Claire.
On the side: Garica is no longer the only Elle staffer known to teenagers in the Midwest: Although Zee's first bid for reality TV fame didn't pan out—he and fashion news director Anne Slowey appeared on The CW's short-lived Stylista—he's since become a household name (in reality TV circles, at least) on MTV's The City, where he can be seen "working" alongside socialite Olivia Palermo and Elle PR director Erin Kaplan.
Personal: Zee, who is gay and single, lives on West 23rd Street. Designer Narciso Rodriguez is one of his neighbors.
Full Name: Joseph Zee
Date of Birth: 11/23/1968
Place of Birth: Toronto, Canada
Undergrad: University of Toronto
Residences: Manhattan (Chelsea)
Filed Under: Media, Magazines, Television
[Photo via Getty Images]