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Trish Halpin

Marie Claire’s editor-in-chief tells James Knowles why its new biannual is more than just a basic fashion glossy.

Marie Claire debuted a new look in March, while in February you launched biannual fashion magazine Marie Claire Runway. What was the impetus behind these?

Today’s women have a hunger for fashion, and the hardcore want more than just the shopping element – they want to know the backstage gossip and to find out about designers. We saw a chance to deliver this and decided to launch Marie Claire Runway, which provides trends analysis and insight.

With the second edition published in August, the timing of Marie Claire Runway coincides with the traditional fashion seasons. With multiple collections and drops per year, are consumers still shopping this way?

Having that focus twice a year is such great PR exposure for designers that I don’t think we’ll move away from it. Though it’s true that there are numerous collections and drops, the consumer needs to be clear on what’s going on.

What consumer trends are you seeing?

Despite the recession women are still shopping. They know so much more about fashion these days and are willing to experiment. They also expect quality. Purchases are more considered and we’ve seen a move away from buying tons of stuff at Primark. Women are also looking for something fun and exciting.

Marie Claire stole a march on the other glossies in the latest round of ABCs in February, growing its circulation by 6.4%. What sets you apart from the competition? 

We’ve done a lot of work on the magazine over the past two years, and we identified a new type of woman – the new type-A. Whereas the traditional type-A was driven, power-hungry, and successful, all very 1980s, the new type-A still wants to be successful but is much softer and more complex. She loves fashion, friends and family life, and is much more interested in supporting other women. Based on that, we launched the Inspire & Mentor campaign, where successful businesswomen, such as Whistles chief executive Jane Shepherdson, mentor readers. It’s been about talking to that reader to make the magazine more about her life.

Who is your style icon?

I love Stella McCartney for her designs and the way she dresses. Clémence Poésy also has a great look – laid-back, a bit sexy, but tailored and very chic.

Heels or flats?

I love heels, but I walk everywhere in flats.

Who is your go-to designer?

For a black-tie event, I love Alberta Ferretti. Her clothes are beautiful, elegant and feminine, and they just suit me. If I want something a bit cooler, I’ll go for Jason Wu or Mulberry.

What’s the one item in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?

A pale and dark grey and black suede Louis Vuitton handbag. It’s practical and it looks fabulous, so I won’t be letting that go in a hurry.

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