2010 March 29

A Fashion Legend Bids Adieu to Glamour

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Xanthipi Joannides Xanthipi Joannides
Patrick McMullan
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(NEW YORK) When the Spring 2011 collections are shown at Lincoln Center in September, expect the front-row to look very different indeed. On the Condé Nast front, Stefano Tonchi will be sitting with W, a new fashion director will represent Vanity Fair, and Xanthipi Joannides will no longer perch with the Glamour team. The magazine's legendary fashion director, who has served at Condé Nast for over three decades, is retiring from her full-time position at the magazine in order to focus on freelance styling projects.

Beginning her career as an assistant in the advertising department of Mademoiselle, Joannides took an accessories assistant position at Glamour, rising through the ranks to become fashion director under editor-in-chief Ruth Whitney in the 1980s. In a brief Glamour hiatus around 1990, she served as an editor at Elle and then at Self.

When the Joannides era at Glamour began, Condé Nast's best-selling mass-market women's magazine was not exactly known as a fashion title. But Joannides, endowed with an artist's eye and an uncanny instinct about what matters most in fashion, put the magazine on the map from her very first years at the title. To the surprise of her counterparts at Vogue, Elle, and then W, Joannides lured friends and luminaries such as Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, and Walter Chin to the women's service magazine, where they were content to shoot less-than-high-fashion stories for the opportunity to work with Joannides. At Elle, she did the very first feature of Donna Karan, one of many designers (such as Alber Elbaz and Jason Wu) who have came of age under her watch.

She became the first fashion editor to feature models such as Patti Hansen, Cheryl Tiegs, Laetitia Casta, Hilary Rhoda, and Toni Garrn in her pages. Joannides and Demarchelier launched Crystal Renn into the fashion stratosphere in 2006 by featuring the non-sample-size model in various states of undress. In 2009, Joannides and Brigitte Lacombe executed another notable coup by landing Katie Holmes for the April cover of Glamour. By so significantly raising the magazine's fashion profile, she also ushered Glamour into a new realm of business possibilities by earning the interest of luxury advertisers such as LVMH.

But Joannides has resisted the industry-wide urge to become a quote-unquote personality. A generous mentor who has brought dozens (if not hundreds) of "XJ" loyalists to positions of prominence in the industry, she has remained modestly behind-the-scenes. A dedicated wife and mother, her son and daughter came of age on set, where they watched fashion history unfold on far-flung locations such as Demarchelier's home in St. Barths. In recent years, Joannides has become a obsession for street-style photographers such as The Sartorialist, who compete for the best shots of the editor in her signature black ensemble consisting of mostly Prada and Lanvin.

Joannides will remain at work full-time until June, when she will depart for her summer home in Patmos, Greece. But expect her to resurface in time for New York's Fashion Week in September---albeit at another seat in the Tents.

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