Lorraine Candy

We have a new girl crush on our hands and it comes in the form of ELLE UK Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Candy. Candy is one of those EIC’s who manages to be both unbelievably chic and accessible; like a best friend you want to gab through the day with. Maybe that’s why ELLE UK is one of the few (and probably the only) fashion magazines that hot-desk in the office (everyone is at a different desk, every day). Everyone wants to sit with Candy. We would.

We chatted with the charming EIC in the ELLE ‘fashion cupboard’ and got the inside scoop on cuisine and couture. Her musings include the notion that doughnuts are, in fact, a food group…just in time for National Doughnut Day on Friday.

From start to finish what would be your ideal food day? 

I absolutely love food. I always have a bit of fruit for breakfast. It’s really difficult for me time-wise in the morning because I have four children, so I have to get them all in and out and ready for school. I have to get up quite early to start that process. Sometimes I get the chance to have some muesli, but if not I will get a croissant and coffee as soon as I get in. Then I have a doughnut during the day. I love doughnuts; they’re probably my favorite food group. I have a Krispy Kreme gold card. So once a month – because we eat so many of them – we get twenty-four doughnuts sent here. It’s brilliant.

Then at lunch I’ll have whatever is quickest. It’s rare for me to go out to lunch because I have a very structured day. I leave at 5:00 or 5:30 every day to get home to the kids. I quite like a bit of soup, but I’m not big on carbohydrates. I don’t really like bread very much or pasta. I’ll have quite a few nuts because you can eat them quickly. We have a running club here that we do, and we always go out Wednesday during lunchtime, so I always make sure I have nuts and snacks around. We get sent quite a lot of cakes from PR, so I always indulge in that. Marks and Spencer – the big High Street chain here – always sends us Percy Pigs. They’ve always got this fantastic range of sweets.

For dinner, I’ll have whatever, wherever we are at a restaurant. I’m fatally allergic to shellfish so I can never eat anything that’s been near it. I have to carry an EpiPen and everything. I can’t really eat much fish, just in case it’s been prepared near shellfish, so I don’t eat sushi. You will never find me in a sushi restaurant because I’d be risking death.

In general, I’m pretty mindful of what I eat because I have to keep my energy level at a certain place.

After the Krispy Kremes do you get a sugar coma?

Yeah, you do. So then you have to eat something that’s a bit more protein-y.

You’ve said before – and we’ve noticed this among a few British editors – you think of yourself more as a journalist, rather than a Fashion Editor. What, for you, are the big differences between the two? 

The fashion team is predominantly stylists, so they come from a very creative fashion background. They’re not writing. A lot of my junior fashion team actually does news shifts on the website. We’re an integrated team; we work across everything. They do a bit of writing, but it’s the same tone as social, so I’m not asking them to cover a massive news story.

I am a trained journalist. I worked on newspapers for a long time and most of my content team has come through newspapers. I think it’s a really brilliant discipline because it teaches you about storytelling, about getting things done quickly and about the real importance of factual accuracy. You live and die by your detail. If you get a credit wrong, or a surname spelled wrong, that’s infinitely more important than getting the whole thing wrong. I think that kind of training is really important to magazines. Most journalists on fashion magazines in this country have done some journalism. I don’t think it precludes you not to, but the discipline of getting everything right, checking everything, and working out what your headline is, is particularly important across social media. You have to know why you’re doing it and what you’re saying and you have to spell it right (laughs).

Do you think the premium on storytelling is more of a UK thing than an American thing? 

I think ELLE (in America) has amazing journalism; I think Cosmopolitan in America does as well. I think storytelling is what we all do. People say to me, “Oh how amazing, ELLE has embraced digital media.” It’s not anything new; we’ve been telling stories for nearly thirty years. This magazine is very much about the woman in the dress as opposed to the dress. So we have to tell the stories around her that touch on those parts of her life. It’s always been an intrinsic part of media.

What is your personal definition of good content? 

I always get asked about blogs and bloggers. To me, I have no question, query or worries around blogging. I think it’s another way of storytelling. If it’s good, if it’s accurate and if the person has authority and knowledge and has done research, then it’s great. When it’s just ‘I think this,’ and it’s poorly researched, that’s when I have a problem with bloggers, because all bloggers are lumped in together. But like all media, there are some excellent and amazing bloggers. Susie Bubble I think is an amazing fashion blogger. She has authority, knowledge, interest and passion. I think great blogs all started out with someone having a real passion for something, so then they’re really knowledgeable about it and they’ve done the work around it. I think that’s what content is. Good content is authority.

When we merged the teams here, we disbanded the digital team. They were very inexperienced because they weren’t the people that had been in the field. They haven’t seen (like I have) four hundred Prada shows. They didn’t know. I don’t want that person doing the review of the Prada show online; I want the person who has sat next to me for the past ten years at the Prada show doing it. She should be doing that, and she should be writing print as well. So I feel very strongly that content has to come from the authority.

Do you think experience is a big part of that? 

I think experience, and a real passion for it. I don’t think you’ve had to necessarily have been to the Prada show, but you’ve had to have such a passion, you’ve read every Prada review for the past twenty years.

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