'Allure' Founding Editor Steps Down After 25 Years

Michelle Lee, most recently the editor-in-chief and chief marketing officer of 'Nylon,' has been brought on to replace her.
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Michelle Lee, most recently the editor-in-chief and chief marketing officer of 'Nylon,' has been brought on to replace her.
Linda Wells at the 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards in June 2015 at Lincoln Center. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Linda Wells at the 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards in June 2015 at Lincoln Center. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

After 25 years, Linda Wells, the founding editor of Allure magazine, is stepping down from her role. Michelle Lee, who announced last week that she was leaving her post as Nylon's editor-in-chief and chief marketing officer after a little more than a year, has been hired by Condé Nast to replace her, effective immediately.

Wells will be transitioning into an unspecified advisory role at Condé Nast, and will remain on the Allure masthead as its founding editor.

In an e-mail to staff, Condé Nast President Bob Sauerberg said that Wells's exit from Allure has been in the works for some time. "Earlier this year when we celebrated her incredible 25-year anniversary, Linda Wells and I pridefully reflected on her success and her invention of Allure. Over time, we came to realize that we would need to identify the next, new voice in beauty. The task was not easy— but I'm pleased to announce that we will be appointing a new editor-in-chief charged with amplifying the great content synonymous with Allure while reimagining the brand for a new millennial audience."

Lee seems like a good candidate to usher in Allure's next chapter, particularly given Condé Nast's growing interest in e-commerce, and how much Nylon's digital footprint grew under her leadership (though we're unsure how much of the traffic growth was organic). Among the company's titles, Allure was the earliest to experiment with e-commerce integration, adding "Buy" buttons and a shopping cart to its website as early as 2011, and enabling e-commerce in its tablet edition. It also earns a considerable amount of money from licensing its seal to winners of its annual "Best of Beauty" awards. Lee, who ran her own agency before joining Nylon, is unique in that she has worked on both the editorial and money-making sides of the publishing business — and knows how to integrate the two. It was for that reason that Lee added chief marketing officer to her title at Nylon in January. She also has a reputation for being extremely well-liked by her employees.

Lee's work is certainly cut out for her. While Allure's print advertising revenues have remained healthy amidst an industry-wide decline, the magazine is facing increasing competition from beauty-focused online players like Into the Gloss, Byrdie and XoVain. Its website, for one, could certainly use a refresh. In a statement, Lee said she is "looking forward to expanding [Allure's] unique ability to inspire and empower through beauty to all platforms."