With very little fanfare, Elle magazine creative director Ruba Abu-Nimah in January was replaced by Stephen Gan, formerly of Harper’s Bazaar. The lack of announcement about her departure stands in stark contrast to her arrival at the magazine, which was widely covered and celebrated.
Hired by editor-in-chief Roberta “Robbie” Myers in May 2017, Abu-Nimah’s resume included creative roles at Shiseido, Bobbi Brown and Tiffany. Known for her appreciation for streetwear, Abu-Nimah’s appointment was buzzed about because of her reputation for building brands and also because she was the first woman to hold the position.
Abu-Nimah has chosen not to comment on her departure, but it’s likely connected to the departure of Myers, who announced in September 2017 she was stepping down to spend more time with her teenage children.
Garcia was praised by Hearst chief content officer Joanna Coles, in part because of her star power. “She understands the multi-platform world and embraced it early on, becoming one of fashion’s first social media influencers with the largest following of any editor-in-chief. Nina is a force of personality, and she’ll bring her energy, her unique sensibility and style to Elle, a brand she knows so well,” said Coles.
No doubt one of Garcia’s first orders of business as head honcho at the pub was to rebuild her team of first officers to her suiting aka “in fashion, one day you’re in and the next you’re out!” Perhaps foreshadowing the coming fork in the rode, Abu-Nimah tweeted in January, “If you have influencer in your bio you’re probably not.”
Whether the tweet was intended as a statement on the Garcia hire or simply her musings on the business, you can be sure Abu-Nimah will never say. That said, Abu-Nimah’s heartfelt embrace of inclusivity as well as a street-savvy aesthetic is one we admire and will miss.
Elle February 2018 edition is the final one under Abu-Nimah’s direction. For a sample of her work, check Elle’s October issue featuring three Rihanna covers here.