In April, Elle Creative Director Joe Zee surprised the fashion industry when he decamped to Yahoo to make over its fashion and lifestyle vertical,Yahoo Style. Five months later, and just in time for New York Fashion Week, we can now see what Zee has been working on.
Zee describes the new Yahoo Style as neither a content vertical nor a website -- rather, he calls it a "digital magazine." Indeed, the content is very much like what you'd find in a magazine: There's a "cover star," actress Jessica Biel, with an accompanying editorial and interview; resource articles ranging from how to dress for extreme temperatures to a shopping guide for black boots; and a story on Joseph Altuzarra's forthcoming collection for Target (by our own Editor at Large Lauren Sherman). Zee describes the site to Fashionista as both "accessible but aspirational" and "high/low" -- Biel wears pieces from Givenchy, Altuzarra and Isabel Marant in her cover shoot, and the aforementioned story on boots features pairs priced from $59 to 40 times that.
Zee says that the term "digital magazine" originated with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, but it also describes the kind of immersive experience he wants readers to have with the content available there. Like a magazine, the visuals will be beautiful – something he accurately points out that most web-native publishers do not invest in. The focus, he stresses, will not be news, though much of the content will be timely.
"Online, you are inundated with things that are so quick – Twitter feeds, Instagram feeds. A website can be a lot of breaking news, but [Yahoo Style] is so much more; because it's fashion, it's much more about visuals and ideas you can get into," Zee says.Yahoo Style will be more focused on reacting to news than covering it straight-up, he adds, giving the much-covered story of Angelina Jolie's Versace-designed wedding dress as an example. "Everyone is breaking news that Angelina got married, that she wore Versace. For me, what I love about that Versace dress is that she put her kids' [drawings] on it – most moms put those on the fridge, but she put them her on wedding dress. We might do a story then about how you incorporate elements of personalization into your wedding dress."
Another thing that will separate Yahoo Style from a traditional magazine? Movement. Zee said he's eager to embrace GIFs and video – particularly live video. During NYFW on Sept. 9, Yahoo will be delivering six hours of live video commentary and interviews, both backstage and front of house.
Those are ambitions plans, especially since Zee is working with a full-time staff of less than 10. But Zee says he's not limited on resources. "It's a big priority within Yahoo," he says. "It's all very exciting."