Allure is an American women’s beauty magazine, published monthly by Conde Nast in New York City. It was founded in 1991 by Linda Wells. Michelle Lee replaced Wells in 2015. A signature of the magazine is its annual Best of Beauty awards—accolades given in the October issue to beauty products deemed the best by magazine staff.
In 1990, S.I. Newhouse Jr., chairman of Condé Nast, and then editorial director Alexander Liberman approached Linda Wells to develop a concept they had for a beauty magazine. At the time, Wells was the beauty editor and the food editor at The New York Times Magazine.
The magazine’s prototype was shredded shortly before the scheduled launch date and, after overhauling everything (including the logo), Allure made its debut in March 1991 designed by Lucy Sisman. The magazine’s original format was oversize, but this prevented it from fitting into slots at grocery-store checkouts and required advertisers to resize their ads or create new ones. After four issues, Allure changed to a standard-size glossy format.
Allure focuses on beauty, fashion, and women’s health. Allure was the first women’s magazine to write about the health risks associated with silicone breast implants, and has reported on other controversial health issues.
The magazine’s circulation, initially 250,000 in 1991, is over 1 million as of 2011.
Many writers have contributed to Allure. Among them are Arthur Miller, John Updike, Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Chabon, Kathryn Harrison, Frank McCourt, Isabel Allende, and Francine du Plessix Gray. Elizabeth Gilbert’s essay “The Road to Rapture,” published in Allure in 2003, was the precursor to her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love (Viking Adult). Photographers who have shot for Allure include Michael Thompson, Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, Tina Barney, Marilyn Minter, Carter Smith, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel, and Helmut Newton. Cover subjects have included Demi Lovato, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé, Fergie, Britney Spears, Naya Rivera, Jessica Simpson, Kate Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, and Gwen Stefani. (See List of Allure cover models).
Best of Beauty Awards
Allure began its Best of Beauty awards program in the mid-1990s, at the initiative of Wells, to help readers choose among the vast array of makeup, skin-care, and hair-care products on the market.
Allure has two sets of awards, one judged by the magazine’s editors and the other by readers. A “winners’ seal” logo, developed by Allure, appears on many of the winning products. To ensure that its judgments are neutral, Allure's ad department isn’t involved in the selections.
Awards (for Allure)
- The National Magazine Award for Design (1994)
- The Editorial Excellence Award from Folio (2001)
- The Circulation Excellence Award from Circulation Management (2001)
- “Ring Leader,” an essay by Natalie Kusz from the February 1996 issue of Allure, was selected for The Best American Essays 1997 (Houghton Mifflin).
- The magazine has been on Adweek’s Hot List in 1993, 1994, 1995, 2003, and 2007.
- Allure has received 29 awards from the American Academy of Dermatology, 9 journalism awards from the Fragrance Foundation, and the Excellence in Media Award from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Awards (for Linda Wells)
- The Achiever Award from Cosmetic Executive Women (2001)
- The Matrix Award for magazine leadership from New York Women in Communications, Inc. (2009)