As a kind of public service, Condé Nast decided to show the world that the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling which assigned corporations personhood was not, as some argue, totally demented and harmful to American democracy, but rather accurate and wise. The publishing empire, which operates 126 magazines and 104 websites worldwide, employs several thousand staffers, and has billions of dollars of annual revenue, decided that the best use of its power and industry capital was to go all mean girl on Carine Roitfeld.
Like any true junior high pariah, Roitfeld used to be in with the in-crowd, back when she edited one of the company's most prestigious titles, Vogue Paris. But then she took a couple risks, crossed a couple lines — to be fair, Condé Nast had the right to to sever the relationship: after she styled a very small child in over-the-top sexy, miniaturized versions of adult clothing, head honcho Jonathan Newhouse allegedly decided that he no longer liked what she was all about, and wanted to stop hanging out. Legitimate!
And apart from making some ill-advised but understandable comments about her replacement, Emmanuelle Alt, Roitfeld handled the break-up with a good amount of grace. She solidified some pre-existing relationships and she made new friends — she guest-edited VMan, styled some campaigns for Barneys, made plans to launch a collection with MAC Cosmetics — but all the social butterflying wasn't enough. Roitfeld wanted her own thing, a home in the world; she wanted to go back to the world of fashion magazines.
So she decided to start her own, like any other totally competent, independent woman would in her position. CR is launching this Fall, and the publisher, Fashion Media Group LLC, will presumably give Roitfeld complete control over her new title. If Condé Nast had any decency, it would feel at least somewhat gratified that its former BFF finally found a place where she could flourish and do her own thing. The new glossy will likely have a relatively small readership, relative to Conde's longtime fashion publications, and will appeal to a niche segment of obsessives; I mean, it's not like anyone's going to forget about Vogue just because someone introduces another good magazine to the marketplace.
But according to Page Six, Condé is doing what it can to stand in Roitfeld's way as she launches her new publication:
After Roitfeld announced her plans for the magazine, Newhouse sent word to photographers including Mario Testino, Craig McDean, David Sims, and the Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott team “reminding” them of their exclusivity with Condé Nast to shoot for its titles including Vogue, W, Glamour, Vanity Fair and Allure.
Even those who aren’t bound contractually to Condé Nast have been discouraged from working with Roitfeld, fearing backlash from the publisher, our sources said. “Everyone is buzzing about the Condé roadblocks against Carine,” one fashion insider said. “People love Carine but are more frightened of the Condé Nast machine.”
In true mean girl fashion, Condé Nast is being totally passive agressive and manipulative. I'd say it's not a good look and this kind of petty backstabbing is never effective, but Carine Roitfeld is just one woman up against the most giant, penetrating entity in all of fashion media. It's like sparring with Zeus. It's not fair.
Image courtesy of STEPH/WENN.com