Why Did Carine Roitfeld Really Leave French Vogue?


When Carine Roitfeld announced her resignation from French Vogue on Friday, insiders speculated she would rush into the warm, fuzzy chest of Tom Ford and work with him on his new, highly obsessed-over women's collection. Ford says that in fact, he and Carine have not yet conspired on such a scheme. He wrote in an e-mail to 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.

Possible replacements for Roitfeld include French Vogue fashion director Emmanuelle Alt, though she might not want to give up her current gig to shoulder editor-in-chief responsibilities; ex–Russian Vogue editor Aliona Doletskaya, who hasn't had a job since leaving that magazine over the summer; television personality Alexandra Golovanoff; and Virginie Mouzat, fashion editor of French newspaper Le Figaro. Other names that have been tossed into the pool include Love editor Katie Grand and Japanese Vogue fashion director Anna Dello Russo.

The 56-year-old Roitfeld maintains that she has no job lined up yet. She told WWD:

When we published our 90th anniversary issue in October, it felt almost like a double anniversary for me. I knew I wasn’t really going to stay much longer. I think it’s good to get out while you’re ahead, and I think right now, Vogue is outstanding. I’m very proud of it. I have an exceptional team.

I have always been a freelancer, so when I was hired 10 years ago, I found it very difficult to have an office, an assistant, a schedule, fixed vacations. But at the same time, it was such a huge job that I said yes. It’s been an incredible adventure, but maybe in my heart and soul, I am more of a freelancer. I’m surprised I even stuck it out this long, but what made me stay is having a boss like Jonathan [Newhouse], who is an incredible man who gave me total freedom, and God knows I pushed the boundaries.

...That is what I am the most proud of, having put together this team and being able to come to work every day and being happy to see the people I work with. I have worked in other magazines, so I know this is extremely rare.

She also denied that she has been doing paid consulting work for luxury brands during her tenure at French Vogue, but said now that she can pick up those sorts of freelance gigs, she will if she feels like it.

One source wondered if part of Carine's departure had to do with pressure to shoot advertisers' clothes for the magazine. “She only really published the clothes she liked,” this anonymous person told WWD. Others wondered if it was partly her disinterest in the Internet. Also:

“One always had the feeling that French Vogue was a bit like a family photo album. The tribal, ultrahip attitude of the magazine perhaps no longer fits with the zeitgeist at a time when fashion is global,” said the source.

But isn't that what made French Vogue so great? That it was like a window into the cool lunch table in the high-school cafeteria (not one that people eat at, that is)? And we could all dream about it but also feel freaked out enough not to feel that bad about not being a part of it? God, we will miss her.

Tom Ford Responds to Roitfeld Speculation [On the Runway/NYT]
Carine Roitfeld to Depart French Vogue [WWD]