Last Friday morning, in a surprise move, decade-strong editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld, announced she would be leaving the magazine at the end of January. According to some very well-placed Racked sources, the "resignation" was a surprise not only to the fashion industry and the general public, but also to Roitfeld's staff.
"No one knew about it—not even Emmanuelle Alt or Olivier Lalanne," one source tells us.
The reason no one knew? Because, according to sources, Roitfeld did not resign—she was fired.
The chain of events that led up to the alleged firing, this way >>
It appears that the Conde Nast-Carine Roitfeld fall-out was a long time coming. Our sources tell us the magazine's parent company was unhappy with all the bad press surrounding Roitfeld's alleged pay-for-play scandals—this year, alone—demanding huge sums of money for extracurricular consulting gigs and the enormous, public embarrassment of being banned from Balenciaga last season for abusing her position at Vogue. In the latter case, Roitfeld allegedly borrowed Balenciaga preview pieces and sent them to her client, Max Mara, to copy—"It wasn't the first time," one source tells us. "One [Balenciaga] precollection ended up, in its entirety, at Max Mara."
There are, allegedly, plenty of questions about Roitfeld's impartiality as an editor. After she awarded this year's ANDAM award—a €220,000 prize for emerging talent in France—to Turkish designer Hakaan, there was an outcry in the Paris fashion community, with implications that behind-the-scenes deals were made. The Independent UK reported:
An angry anonymous letter, which was circulated among French media this week, asked "how a Turkish designer out of nowhere books Natalia Vodianova, Maria Carla Boscono, Lara Stone or Natasha Poly for his show—models asking €15.000 min per show, and who aren't really famous for their charity!"
Frustrated about the seemingly unfair appointment of Hakaan, who beat Paris-based designers such as Alexandre Vauthier who according to the author would have been in bigger need of the prize money to develop their businesses, the letter continues, asking "why Carine Roitfeld, Vogue France's editor in chief, and chairman of this jury's session at ANDAM, who never comes to first shows, contrarily to what she claims, is sitting first row, with Kate Moss, untouchable fashion icon [both excerpts translated from French]."
The last straw came this month when LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault allegedly threatened Conde Nast International Chairman Jonathan Newhouse with the removal of all LVMH ads from the next issue of Vogue Paris. According to one source, Arnault hated the last issue—allegedly because it contained too few LVMH credits and because of the "poor taste" exercised in the young girls editorial—wherein the children are heavily made-up, "reclining on tiger-skins, or sprawled on beds," wearing luxury adult garments, reports the Telegraph.
Conde Nast's furor boiled over this past Friday morning and the Vogue staff learned about Roitfeld's departure via an early a.m. email "talking about a mise à pied," one source tells us, "which means, basically, she was fired."
What's next? Our sources tell us that Le Figaro's Fashion Director Virginie Mouzat is a frontrunner for the position—ostensibly because of her editorial background.
"Carine should never have been appointed editor-in-chief—just fashion director," one source tells us. "She is only a stylist, not a politician or a writer."
As for the other alleged frontrunner to replace Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt, the magazine's current fashion director? Our sources say that Alt is even "less literate" than Roitfeld. Alt is also, allegedly, reputed to be even more demanding with pay-for-play—working with "worse brands" than Roitfeld, making Alt unfit to helm Vogue Paris.
Conde Nast is expected to announce Roitfeld's successor in the coming weeks. As for speculation that Roitfeld will join her longtime collaborator Tom Ford in his new womenswear venture, Ford told the NY Times' Cathy Horyn: "Carine and I have no plans to work together at the moment, and it is nothing that we have even discussed, but of course I think she is brilliant and we are close friends so who knows about the future."