'Elle' breaks ground with edition in Czech

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The Independent Online
IT DOES not normally rub shoulders with Playboy, but Elle will be joining it as the only other glossy magazine on the newstands in the Czech Republic when it is launched there in the spring.

Like its playmate, Elle will be published in the Czech language and will be the first quality fashion and lifestyle magazine available in the republic. At present there are only a handful of amateurish downmarket magazines or foreign publications at extortionate prices.

Tom Gross, special projects editor for Elle in Prague, says: 'Czech Elle is aimed at the new affluent class of working women over here. The ecomony is growing, the fashion, beauty and lifestyle business is expanding and at the moment no one covers this area of the market or caters to this new group in their language.'

Elle is a past master at tapping into emerging markets. It paved the way into the revitalised Spanish market in the mid-Eighties and it has 17 other national editions. But it is wary of sounding exploitative. 'Capitalism is really only four years old but the Czech and Slovak Republics are the most successful of the former Communist bloc countries - the possibilities are endless,' Mr Gross said.

The new Elle will not be a jigsaw of translated foreign editions. It is commissioning local journalists, authors, artists and will promote young fashion designers.

Czech women will be treated to Elle's regular features as well as fashion pages shot in Prague and the city of Cesky Krumlov.

But East will definitely meet West in the first issue with an article on 'The supermodels who rule the runways', likely to feature Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Prague's own supermodel, Eva Herzigova.