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2009 October 2

Condé On My Mind...

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(PARIS) This time last September, the Americans in Paris checked Blackberries anxiously from the front rows of Dior as the Dow plummeted 300 points. Twelve months later, the trickle-down effect of la crise is fashion week's most resilient killjoy. Condé Nast's upcoming layoffs are dominating conversations, from the front rows of Balenciaga to the terrace at Le Castiglione. As reported, each editor is asked to cut 25 percent of his or her budget, and The Daily hears that talks with department heads about what--and who--to cut are already well underway. With editors calling back to their assistants and comrades at 4TS several times a day to "check in," rumors run rampant that "something big" is happening today. "If we're here, does that mean we're safe?" joked one top type in the dwindling sunlight hours before Nina Ricci. We hope--but word is that McKinsey endorses cutting from the top, while Condé tends to start with the bottom. Expect layoffs to happen mag-by-mag, with mostly juniorettes departing in the first wave and department heads leaving later.

Predictably, the Condé constituency is treating this season in Paris as a last hurrah. Loyal hotels like the Ritz, le Meurice and the Crillion have matched rates to allow longtime editors to stay in the style to which they have become accustomed, but the words "Caviar Kaspia" and "Dave" haven't even been whispered---instead, editors are preferring publicist-style entertainment at relatively more reasonable joints like Wally Le Saharien and L'Avenue. Lanvin bows tonight at 5:30, and informal tradition brings everyone (Alber compris) to the Costes for 16-euro vodka sodas and 36-euro crevettes. Will the crowd rally? The Daily can dream.
ASHLEY BAKER




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