Internationally renowned as an authority on style, the home and contemporary culture, Michelle Ogundehin is a global influencer with expertise. Originally trained as an architect, she is a unique strategic thinker, established social commentator and creative visionary. She is also a TV presenter, writer, an expert on colour theory, and currently Editor-at-Large and Special Strategic Advisor to ELLE Decoration UK. Her mission? To decode the worlds of style, design and trends. As she puts it, “design shapes the world, trends flavour it, and style is what we choose, so a good translation is essential!”
Michelle’s skill is to put these worlds into context, joining the cultural dots to make entertaining stories that are relevant to as many people as possible. After all, today, seasonal fluctuations affect everything, from the popularisation of certain colours to the must-watch TV, Michelle explains how these seemingly random trends end up influencing all of the things that surround us.
She was appointed Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK in May 2004, consolidating a relationship with the magazine that started in 1997. During her 13-year tenure at the helm, the magazine rose to its highest circulation alongside achieving record revenues. She also led the title to award-winning creative heights, repeatedly receiving the coveted Consumer Lifestyle magazine of the year award, as well as the personal accolades of both Lifestyle, and Consumer, Editor of the Year. She was additionally appointed Editor in Chief of REAL HOMES magazine in 2007, managed alongside continuing to oversee ELLE Decoration. She masterminded its successful relaunch and profitable sale a year later.
Ever keen to broaden the scope of the ELLE Decoration brand, also in 2007 she launched ELLE Decoration Collections, an annual guide to the world’s best new designs. In 2012, she added ELLE Decoration Country, a bi-annual publication celebrating the world’s most beautiful rural homes, to the portfolio. And in the same year initiated the ‘Equal Rights for Design’ campaign to prompt a change in UK copyright laws with respect to design (read more here). Enlisting the support of Sir Terence Conran to Sir James Dyson, alongside government ministers and politicians, within 12 months, the issue had been debated in both Houses of Parliament. In 2015 she debuted the ELLE Decoration Style Consultancy, an interior design service aimed at commercial property developers. And a year later, the ‘Equal Rights for Design’ campaign culminated in new laws being passed that declared knock-off designer classics officially illegal.
Trained as an architect at London’s celebrated Bartlett School, Michelle worked in architectural offices in both London and New York, where she lived for two years. She began her publishing career on the launch of Tate Art Magazine under Tim Marlow, followed by formative years at Deyan Sudjic’s Blueprint Magazine, rising swiftly to the position of Senior Editor. She was headhunted in 1997 to join Ilse Crawford, founding editor of ELLE Decoration, as her Features Director. Two years later she went freelance to found her own creative direction consultancy, MO:Studio Ltd, shuttling between bases in Los Angeles and London, while maintaining a connection to ELLE Decoration as its Editor-at-Large.
In this period, she regularly contributed features to The Observer Magazine; penned design columns for Esquire (Sept 97 –April 99) and directed shoots for Nova Magazine (April 2000 – April 2001), as well as writing articles for numerous other prestigious publications around the world including Arena; Design Week; ELLE; The Evening Standard; The Face; Frank; Hoch Parterre (Zurich); iD; Interiors (New York); The International Design Magazine (New York); Numero (Paris); Scene; Sunday Times Style and Tate Magazine.
Michelle was born in Manchester, grew up in London, and now lives in Brighton with her young son and two boisterous Basset Hounds. She is a self-confessed detail queen and clutter clearing obsessive. A lover of colour, pattern, pots, tiles and texture, she was appointed as a Trustee of the V&A from 2008 – 2015.