November 19, 2017

Party Coverage: Scene City: Departing Elle Editor Robbie Myers Gets Party, Tells of Fire

She was first hired by Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone in the early 1980s, then went to Interview (where she worked with Andy Warhol), to Seventeen, to InStyle, and then ran the defunct Mirabella, at the time a sister publication to Elle.

Photo
Ms. Myers, center. The party was hosted by the writer Daphne Merkin in her Upper East Side apartment. Credit Amy Lombard for The New York Times

“I mean, I’ve been working at a steady clip pretty much since I came to New York,” Ms. Myers said. “I never really had any downtime to speak of.”

Over the course of the evening at least a hundred guests, including Hal Rubenstein (the former fashion director of InStyle), Cindi Leive (the former editor in chief of Glamour) and many Elle staffers past and present, crowded the apartment, which was warmly lit and lined with walls of books.

The intellectual setting seemed appropriate; Ms. Myers encouraged introspective and journalistic work from her writers, including essays about abortion, political and cultural profiles, and an extensively reported piece about a murder abetted by social media.

In 2014, she wrote a scathing response to a New Republic story that questioned whether women’s magazines could do serious journalism.

Along with the departures of Ms. Leive, Graydon Carter and Nancy Gibbs, Ms. Myers’s seemed to signify the end of an era in glossy magazines. But this evening felt more specifically like an elegy — Elle-gy? — for a thoughtful time in women’s monthlies, before the incursions of Instagram and other digital media.

“I always thought Elle was different in that it let you write dense, crunchy, textured stories in an age where everything is quick,” said Ms. Merkin, who most recently wrote for Elle about considering a same-sex romantic relationship. “And I always admired Robbie for standing firm for that kind of piece.”

Nina Garcia, the “Project Runway” personality who had been creative director at Marie Claire, and who worked under Ms. Myers as Elle’s fashion director from 2000 to 2008, took over the editor role at Elle a week after Ms. Myers’s departure. Some contributors worried that Ms. Myers’s interest in the inner lives of women may be replaced by a heightened focus on their appearances.

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“I hope that what separated Elle out from the other magazines will be preserved,” Ms. Merkin said. “But I don’t know if that’s the very thing that’s going to be preserved.”

Also present was Anne Slowey, Elle’s longtime fashion director (she left in February, after 18 years), who has known Ms. Myers since the early 1980s and was once on a competitive swim team with her.

“The thing that saddens me about this year in particular is about the Women in Hollywood event,” Ms. Slowey said, referring to Elle’s 24th annual event celebrating women in the entertainment industry, which was held on Oct. 16 in Beverly Hills. After the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, actresses including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lawrence and Laura Dern delivered an outpouring of personal stories about sexual assault and harassment.

“I was particularly saddened that Robbie wasn’t there to receive credit at this moment when it could represent something more important,” Ms. Slowey, now a self-described “soccer mom” of two, said, before leaving to join her family dogs, Edie and Maude, waiting for her in a 1991 Volvo stuffed with groceries.

So what’s next for Ms. Myers?

“I got very good advice from David Granger,” she said, speaking of the former Esquire editor in chief, who is now a literary agent. “He said to me, ‘A lot of people are going to call you. So don’t do anything for 40 days.’

“He said, ‘Just give yourself a little time.’”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/style/elle-editor-robbie-myers-party.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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