"We had pizzas coming in at 1AM," recalled Marie Claire editor-in-chief Joanna Coles of creating the magazine's iPad app. "It was like a startup within the magazine. It felt like our equivalent of Facebook."
Months later, Marie Claire's new iPad app, Fall Fashion A to Z ($2.99), has hit the App Store. Rather than create an iPad version of the publication, however, Marie Claire's app is a supplement to the magazine, not a substitute.
"We do great personal narratives, but that doesn't lend itself to the splendor of the iPad's design and what you can do with it," Coles told The Huffington Post. "Fashion and shopping are really important parts of the magazine that it just so happens work really well with the design of the iPad." She noted that with the iPad, Apple has created a "consuming machine" that lets users "go on it and see 'What can I buy today?'"
The app, which will be updated seasonally, features fashion, and lots of it: An alphabet of looks for the fall (think "F is for fuzz") with 360-degree views of the showcased items, embedded video, sharing capabilities, a "click to buy" option, and more (See below).
"My favorite is 'G for gray," mused Coles while flipping through the app with Marie Claire creative director Suzanne Sykes and digital assets manager Emily Masamitsu in her Manhattan office. "I need to buy these Tracey Reese boots."
Coles spoke with The Huffington Post about the iPad (she's gone through 3 of them), online shopping ("Fresh Direct was a gamechanger for me"), and more. Read on for her take on tech and how it's changing design.
On the iPad:
Coles: It's deeply sexy. The iPad is the sexiest gadget I have in my bag. [...] It's a new form of communication and it's as exciting as when TV went color. [Steve Jobs] is changing the way Americans think about design and we're a learning new language to use to communicate fashion to people. [...] If you're a creative person, it's an incredibly exciting thing to have a new way of exploring. It's like another dimension in which we can explore what we do. [...] The design capability fo the iPad means you can bring fasion to life in a way you can't do on the printed page.
On the apps she uses:
"You caught me playing iPad hockey!" Coles exclaimed when opening up the NHL iPad app, which she said is one of her favorites and helped inspire Marie Claire's app. Her other top picks include Angry Birds ("It's such a relief to have break from BrickBreaker," she sighed) and the NFL's app.
On what concerns her about the future of tech:
Coles: You're curating your own experience today. The good thing about a magazine is that it's a voyage of discovery. You don't know what you're interested in--just as oftentimes, it's the "B" side of a single that has the best song. If you don't have opportunity to experience it because you're only buying the track that you're interested in, you miss out on this layer of otherness. I think that this can make people smaller. [...] My concern on a larger level is that it makes it easier to surround yourself with your own interests and makes it harder to have this journey of discovery. But then you see something like [Google] Buzz and you think, "Wow, we really are being exposed to new view points."
On women and tech:
Coles: I think what we've done [with the Marie Claire app] is a great way of reaching out to women. Women are still very much excluded from tech. [...] I want every working woman to have a tablet in her bag. [...] In our magazine, we include a lot of pictures showing women and technology together because we want people to feel comfortable with technology.