Lazy days at the beach? Not for this former editor in chief of French Vogue.
After her controversial departure from French Vogue in December 2010, Carine Roitfeld has collaborated with Barneys, high-end magazines like V and W and styled advertisements for Chanel and Givenchy. But no move has been more publicized than her arrival in New York to launch the new biannual magazine CR Fashion Book in September.
CR, housed in Andre Balazs' Standard hotel in the East Village, will go against the rising tide of quick bites on Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. Though about 100 of the 288 pages of CR will be advertising, more than half the issue will feature long-form articles and editorials with the kind of in-depth coverage that's nearly impossible to find on the Web. Bloggers, beware.
"Vogue is a very beautiful magazine, an institution, and I learned so much working there," the 57-year-old editor told WWD. "You can't put yourself into competition with a magazine like Vogue. You have to create something new, something different. The page has been turned."
But what happens when readers get to page 288? Is there room for Vogue coverlines like "Ramp Up Your Summer Style" and "Fat or Fiction? the Truth Behind the Master Cleanse Diet"?
Anna Wintour certainly hopes so. In the last 10 years the editrix has had to fend off competition from scrappy Internet upstarts and a neverending appetite for instant fixes on Instagram and Facebook. So what can Wintour - often dubbed "the ice queen" - do to stay relevant in an ever-changing journalistic landscape?
During the recent recession, industry execs had to reinvent themselves. So does Wintour. Even the wealthiest readers are looking for bargains. "Designers and retailers are looking at their current customer base and saying, 'How can I mean more to this customer?'" Michael O'Connor, a veteran jewelry expert, told IBTimes. As a result "companies are moving away from sex appeal and trying to sell products based on quality and value-added services." Vogue editors need to think the same way. How can they help readers in their everyday lives? It's no longer about spending $10,000 on a gown. It's about getting the look for $300.
Take a Risk
Don't sit on the sidelines waiting for others to direct traffic and trends. Scout out new designers who bring something else to the table. Riccardo Tisci, a friend of Roitfeld's and the artistic director of Givenchy, described Roitfeld as "courageous, elegant, avant-garde ... a true visionary." To compete, Wintour will need to pound the pavement to find young talent and perspectives.
Forget the Bottom Line
Conde Nast CEO Jonathan Newhouse has reportedly threatened advertisers that have decamped for CR. He's thinking about the bottom line - as he should. But Wintour can't think that way. She needs to get creative. "It's always about timing," the Vogue editor famously said. "If it's too soon, no one understands. If it's too late, everyone's forgotten."
When asked about Emmanuelle Alt, her replacement at French Vogue, Roitfeld said: "I am the winner at the end of the day." We doubt Wintour would agree.