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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Zee’

How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)


In his over 20 years in the fashion business, Elle creative director Joe Zee has worked for such titles as Details and Allure and styled advertising campaigns for companies like Gap and DKNY. And, in our Media Beat interview, the Toronto native and star of Sundance Channel’s All On the Line with Joe Zee was very clear about how he got to the top.

One: he worked for people he could learn from, namely legendary fashion stylist and editor Polly Mellen. (“She taught me what it was like to have a passion for something.”)

And, two, he worked his butt off. “I won’t put stock in people who tell me they wanna work in fashion, because they wanna be glamorous. They wanna be famous. They wanna be well known,” he said. “If you wanna be those things, wrong business.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does

How Elle’s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)


In his over 20 years in the fashion business, Elle creative director Joe Zee has worked for such titles as Details and Allure and styled advertising campaigns for companies like Gap and DKNY. And, in our Media Beat interview, the Toronto native and star of Sundance Channel’s All On the Line with Joe Zee was very clear about how he got to the top.

One: he worked for people he could learn from, namely legendary fashion stylist and editor Polly Mellen. (“She taught me what it was like to have a passion for something.”)

And, two, he worked his butt off. “I won’t put stock in people who tell me they wanna work in fashion, because they wanna be glamorous. They wanna be famous. They wanna be well known,” he said. “If you wanna be those things, wrong business.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does

Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does


As creative director for Elle, Joe Zee describes his as an “interesting, sort of nebulous title.”

“I work with all the visuals from cover to cover, so when you read the magazine, whether it’s the model, the celebrity, the styling, the fashion, the photography, all those things come into my play,” Zee explained in our Media Beat interview. “It’s really sort of helping to define a visual signature for the magazine.”

And @mrjoezee gets pummeled with questions daily from women trying to mimic the seemingly effortless style of their favorite celebs. The number one question he gets? No, not that white pants after Labor Day thing — seriously, are we still discussing that?

“I think the biggest question I get all the time is people want my job. How do I do what you do?” said Zee. “I love my job, and it definitely is glamorous after all these years. But there was a lot of years of no glamour to get to that point.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does


As creative director for Elle, Joe Zee describes his as an “interesting, sort of nebulous title.”

“I work with all the visuals from cover to cover, so when you read the magazine, whether it’s the model, the celebrity, the styling, the fashion, the photography, all those things come into my play,” Zee explained in our Media Beat interview. “It’s really sort of helping to define a visual signature for the magazine.”

And @mrjoezee gets pummeled with questions daily from women trying to mimic the seemingly effortless style of their favorite celebs. The number one question he gets? No, not that white pants after Labor Day thing — seriously, are we still discussing that?

“I think the biggest question I get all the time is people want my job. How do I do what you do?” said Zee. “I love my job, and it definitely is glamorous after all these years. But there was a lot of years of no glamour to get to that point.”

Part 1: Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for Sundance Channel


In All on the Line with Joe Zee, Elle creative director Joe Zee helps struggling fashion designers save their businesses. And, although reality shows come a dime a dozen these days, Zee says the decision to step in front of the camera for Sundance Channel was not taken lightly.

“I loved the idea of being able to do this, but it was important to me that it be authentic. It was important to me that it be original, and that it would be genuine, and that I could actually come in there and help people,” Zee said in our Media Beat interview.

And he says that the many sides of his personality you see in the show are the real deal.

“The reality is we do what we do, because I am authentic in that position. I don’t do it because of the cameras. I don’t do it for any heightened drama. I do it because I really believe in it. If I’m mad at you, I’m really mad at you and, if I’m really excited about you, I’m really excited about you. And those moments exist with or without what’s going on. So, I think my reality TV experience is the fact that I can be myself.”

Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Elle‘s Joe Zee Puts It All on the Line for L.A. Fashion

For two seasons of Sundance Channel‘s All on the Line with Joe Zee, Elle creative director Joe Zee was part mentor, part professor and part psychologist for struggling fashion designers. But, for Season 3, Zee said it was time to shake things up a bit.

“We had done seasons one and two in New York, and not that it’s tapped out, but it’s time to sort of really grow what the series can be about,” he explained in our Media Beat interview. “And I think West Coast fashion has really sort of evolved in terms of what the importance of it has been in the past few years. And also this is the world I live in. The celebrity culture in America is huge and only getting bigger, and what someone wears on the red carpet, on television, or in the media can ultimately change a struggling designer’s business.”

So, how much does Zee’s on-screen persona align with the real thing? All of it, he says.

“The reality is we do what we do, because I am authentic in that position. I don’t do it because of the cameras. I don’t do it for any heightened drama. I do it because I really believe in it.”

Part 2: Elle‘s Joe Zee Reveals Exactly What a Magazine Creative Director Does
Part 3: How Elle‘s Joe Zee Broke Into Fashion (and How You Can Too)

Kathie Lee Gifford, Marlo Thomas And The Best Seller Brigade

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The joint was jumping when I arrived for my weekly lunch at Michael’s today. Between the bestselling authors, media mavens, and the social swans of the Upper East Side, there was a real buzz in the room — or was it just all that pesky pollen from the azaleas on every table?

I was joined today by jewelry designer and all around renaissance woman Carol Brodie. I’ve known Carol since her days at Harry Winston when she managed to get every A-lister you could possibly name to show up at the Academy Awards dripping in the iconic house’s diamonds. In 2009, Carol launched her own fine jewelry collection, Rarities, on HSN and has become the shopping network’s number one resource for fine gems. With prices ranging from $59.90 up to $10,000 for one of a kind pieces, that’s a lot of bling! It’s amazing to learn just how much people pony up sitting at home watching in their pajamas. She’s also launching a collection of watches next month.

Carol has become something of an overnight success in the digital world, since her mantra is ”click and order” over “bricks and mortar.” As a completely digital brand, she has garnered plenty of attention for her social media prowess and recently spoke at the Fashion 140 conference at Lincoln Center along with fellow Twitter fanatics Robert Verdi and Elle’s Joe Zee. Besides the “priceless” exposure she gets on HSN (her next appearance is scheduled for May 20, when the network celebrates ‘Brazilian Day’), Carol stays in constant contact with her customers through Facebook and tweets up to the minute on virtually everything she is doing, wearing and selling. (She, of course, tweeted our lunch.)

“Social media is the ‘Main Street’ of my brand,” she told me. “I want to talk directly to my customers, and they want to talk directly to me.” Carol is also planning to do a lot more talking with an upcoming book and television show in development (“a cross between Antique Roadshow and Pawn Brokers“) that she’s working on with a former Oprah producer. She kind of makes you feel guilty about all those hours spent watching Bravo instead of designing your website, doesn’t she?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Sam Haskell, author (Promises I Made My Mother) and former head of William Morris’ worldwide television division, with his wife and daughter — both named Mary. The group was  joined by Kathie Lee Gifford, who I grabbed for a brief chat. When I asked how her Mother’s Day was, she said, “It will be better tonight — Cody is coming home from college!”

2. Former HarperCollins head Jane Friedman, now CEO and co-founder of Open Road with uber ad man Richard Kirshenbaum and Jeffrey Sharp, president and co-founder of Open Road.

3. Diane Sokolov

4. Charlie Schuler

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Elle‘s Robbie Myers: ‘Project Runway Raised Our Profile’

In part two of her Media Beat sit-down, Elle editrix Robbie Myers explains how television has heightened the magazine’s presence and catapulted it into the mainstream.

From scoring a pop cultural bull’s eye by signing on to the early days of Project Runway (“a gamechanger”) to playing a starring role on the low-rated Stylista, Myers says it’s all good for “the Elle brand.” And, in a industry filled with ready-for-their close-up divas, the telegenic EIC reveals why she’s content to let staffers like creative director Joe Zee, who is launching his own show on The Sundance Channel, and Erin Kaplan, the magazine’s PR honcho and star of The City, shine in the TV spotlight.

“I’m thrilled and delighted that we have so many interesting and smart people,” Myers said. “What I like to say about Elle is there is no house style; it’s an ethos or a spirit. I don’t need to be the only filter.”

Part 1: Robbie Myers Brings Fashion Week to Elle.com

Part 3: Elle‘s Robbie Myers: ‘Good Fashion Reporters are Gold To Me’

More from our Profit From Your Passion series:
So You Wanna Work in Fashion PR?
How To Pitch for PR: Fashionista.com

Fashion Week: Elle Reality Show ‘Sounds Like a Competition to be in the Seventh Ring of Hell’

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From left: Project Runway alums Elisa Jimenez, Victorya Hong and Christian Siriano reunite for the cameras
Photos by: Jesse Wright

Friday night’s Na*Be by Victorya Hong show was an exercise in under-the-radar riches: the recently-ousted Project Runway contestant apparently dipped heavily into “personal savings” to fund the endeavor — or at least that was the line the publicist said she could share when we inquired how in the hell Hong ponied up the thousands it takes to stage a show during Fashion Week. Hidden treasure came to mind, too, when we found Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan solo, cooling her heels pre-show in the front row. Itching for some lower tones ourselves after the hustle backstage (fellow Runway-ers Christian Siriano and Elisa Jimenez had photogs working overtime), we sidled up to Givhan to see how her first full day of this Fashion Week was shaping up.

Givhan considered Rag and Bone a standout, and said Hong’s was “somewhere around the No. 5 show” she’d seen that day. Menswear and military looks were early themes, Givhan informed us. That was good and well (note to self: don’t chuck jacket with epaulets into pile of babydoll dresses the fashion gods have mandated we burn at their altar negative-now) but we were more into her take on the value of fashion-centered reality shows. The fire next time happens when would-be fashion assistants go to Elle

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Lunch at Michael’s: Post-Hasselhoff, All Business

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We’re guessing many of our favorite media celebrity regulars have headed south with their families for spring break or to rev up from the endless winter doldrums that have left us feeling a bit grumpy. Today, the tables were packed with a cross section of Prada and Gucci suits, and the mood was definitely all business. Luckily, we got our boldface name fix Tuesday when lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane broke bread with fashion maven Jaqui Lividini and the bustling dining room brimming with the usually eclectic mix of celebs. We spotted Marlo Thomas, Danny DeVito, Ron Perelman and Tommy Mottola in the mix. Some of the staffers were still buzzing about last week’s visit from David Hasselhoff, who most recently headlined a Las Vegas production of The Producers. Seems “The Hoff” made quite an impression. Says one fan of the tireless showman: “He looks great! If he’s had surgery you can’t tell — and believe me I’ve seen some scary ones in here. The guy is amazing!”

Here’s a rundown of today’s menu:

1. “Men Who Lunch”: BusinessWeek‘s Jon Fine (husband to our own mediabistro.com founder and CEO Laurel Touby), Radar editor Maer Roshan ABC News communications VP Jeff Schneider, Peter Himler, Arnold Huberman, Sirius Satellite Radio pr czar Patrick Reilly, Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici and Magazine Publishers of America’s Howard Polskin.

2. Casual chic: a tweedy Luke Janklow. The uber-agent was lunching with an unidentified jeans-clad beauty.

3. Univision’s Maryann Bannikarim and three guests.

4. Producer Jonathan Hart (Chicago) and four well-dressed gents.

5. Michael Fuchs and a bespectacled fellow who passed the time waiting for him by reading Variety.

6. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive and guests.

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