Marie Claire Running A Mile In Elle's Shoes

The Style network has released more information about what the new Marie Claire reality show Running With Heels will be about. Is it just the latest step in Marie Claire's plan to become Elle?

According to the New York Observer, the eight episode fashion reality show will feature "special access" to Marie Claire editorial meetings, celebrity photo shoots, runway shows, and the private lives of editor-in-chief Joanna Coles, senior fashion editor Zanna Roberts, and shopping editor Zoe Glassner.

It also follows three lowly interns, Ashley Gosik, Samantha Dezur, and Talita Silva, who are described thusly in a Style network press release:

Ashley is a self-proclaimed over-achiever from Washington D.C. who is determined to prove that she can out perform the other interns. Talita, a “fashionista” from Los Angeles, considers herself very street smart but drops the ball on her first assignment. And Samantha is the small-town girl from Wisconsin, who has never set foot in NYC and is new to the fashion world, but wants real-world experience working for a major media outlet.

The first episode will focus on the interns moving into their New York apartment together and starting their first day of work as the rest of the staff plans a welcome party for newly-hired fashion director Nina Garcia.

As you'll recall, Nina Garcia was hired by Marie Claire last spring after being let go from Elle, at around the same time that Project Runway was being sold to Lifetime. Both Lifetime and Marie Claire are owned by Hearst, prompting rumors that Marie Claire would take over Elle's role on the show for season six, and Garcia would be able to continue "auf"ing designers with Heidi Klum and Michael Kors.

Of course, we have yet to see season six of Project Runway because the show is still at the center of a complex legal battle, but that hasn't stopped Marie Claire from following in Elle's footsteps. Running in Heels will premiere less than six months after Elle's reality show Stylista on the CW network. Also, Marie Claire announced this week that on January 15 it will be unveiling a new look for its website in the third redesign since 2007. According to Folio, traffic to MarieClaire.com already increased more than eight-fold since the last revamp. The new site is designed to be easier to navigate and features clips of Running In Heels in hopes of increasing the number of visitors (and advertisers) even more.

Marie Claire has good reason to follow Elle's example. Elle's participation in Project Runway increased the mag's newsstand sales and ad pages, going from the number 6 to the number 2 fashion magazine, after Vogue. Especially in light of yesterday's report in Women's Wear Daily that Marie Claire, along with several other major magazines, had double-digit declines in single copy sales for the first half of 2008, it makes sense for the magazine to follow the formula of one of the few fashion magazines that successfully translated its brand into other media.

Running in Heels Premiere To Include Over-Styled Editors, Three Frightened Interns, And A Newly Arrived Nina Garcia [The New York Observer]
Marie Claire To Roll Out Another Web Redesign [Folio]
Memo Pad [WWD]