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2010 June 18

The Carol Smith Mystery, Unfolding

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Carol Smith in her Elle days Carol Smith in her Elle days
PatrickMcMullan.com
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(NEW YORK) In May, when Elle's publishing honcho Carol Smith left her chief brand officer title at Hachette Filipacchi, where she oversaw both editorial and advertising of what has been fashion's most vibrant magazine for the past two years, there was a collective gasp. Why would Smith go to...Bon Appétit? We know fashion people are secretly food-obsessed (and certainly food-deprived), but let's face it, Smith is the hottest executive in fashion media.

Those in the know immediately read between the lines and pointed the finger at Smith's Hachette contract, which surely included one of those two-liner noncompeting clauses familiar to so many high-level media executives. You know, thou must not work in the fashion category for twelve months...

Smith has now spent two months at Condé Nast. And even though she clearly has ten more to spend waiting in the wings, she can see her next job from a distance. As Florio, fashion's most relentless and continuously successful rainmaker, leaves the building, it's clear that Vogue will never be the same again. Where is it all going? The only answer can be that Smith is primed to take over the Vogue group's business model and attempt to give it the same so-called "magic touch" she used to anoint Elle. Formulas don't always translate from one title to another, of course. But when a company loses an executive like Florio, irrespective of how the departure was initiated, it is faced with an enormous loss. At least Smith is there to pick up the ball.
ASHLEY BAKER




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