According to Carine Roitfeld’s interview in WWD on Monday, the editrix’s much-publicized departure from French Vogue is just a case of the 10-year-itch. But Paris is abuzz with persistent rumors that Roitfeld may have been nudged out because her extracurricular consulting gigs—which caused several hushed scandals before culminating in Balenciagate last March—conflicted with her supposed role as an unbiased style arbiter at the magazine. In WWD, Roitfeld denied doing any consulting or advertising work.
The eternally stilettoed fashion icon was also accused with being too partial to Hakaan, the Turkish winner of this year’s coveted €200,000 ANDAM prize, whose jury she presided over. Hakaan’s art director is the photographer Mert Alas, a frequent Vogue collaborator.
But apparently the last straw came with the December issue, guest-edited by Tom Ford, which was met with more than mixed reviews (epithets ranged from "ugly" to "ridiculous"). LVMH, PPR and other major brands were reportedly miffed by the fashion pages, in which they didn't appear, and allegedly threatened Condé Nast they'd withdraw their ads from the title.
Meanwhile, the search for a Roitfeld successor has provided fashionistas with a guessing game that eventually revealed the paucity of heavyweight fashion journalists in France. Here are the frontrunners so far...
-Virginie Mouzat, the 43-year-old fashion scribe of the right-wing newspaper Le Figaro, is a favorite. Yet her writing is safe and her tastes seldom reveal a forward-looking mindset. But a professional who knows her well praised her work. “Look at her book,” said the source, referring to her 2009 first novel “Une Femme sans Qualité” (A Woman With No Quality), a blunt, semi-autobiographical account of a reproductively challenged woman.
-Emmanuelle Alt, who'll temporarily take over for Roitfeld at French Vogue, is often mentioned, although many doubt her ability to head the features side of the magazine. Plus, she is also said to consult for many brands, including Balmain and Isabel Marant.
-Another scenario has Olivier Lalanne, the current features editor, replace Roitfeld, while Emmanuel Alt would run the fashion department.
-Two names have had eyes rolling in Paris: TV presenters Alexandra Golovanoff and Mademoiselle Agnes. While sufficiently photogenic and long-legged, the blog favorites are deemed too lightweight for such an important position.
-One new name has emerged: Elisabeth Quin, a film critic who worked with the Minister of Industry on a project to bolster ready-to-wear and haute couture in France. She was present when Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld met with the Minister to discuss the problems plaguing young French designers.
-So far no one has mentioned her, but Kate Betts is a credible candidate. She speaks fluent French, and her resume includes positions at WWD, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, where she was editor-in-chief, and Time.