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2010 October 26

Things to Discuss: Why the Departures at W?

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Stefano Tonchi Stefano Tonchi
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(NEW YORK) On Thursday, it was Jody Quon. On Monday, publicist Caitlin Carpanzano, who accepted a position with Gilt City. When Stefano Tonchi took the helm at W, a slew of departures—mostly Patrick McCarthy/Dennis Freedman loyalists—followed. But now the new regime is experiencing turnover after six months on the job. Pourquoi?

Blame power dynamics. During Quon's tenure at New York, she specialized in grabby, topical covers that were both conceptual and newsstand-friendly. No wonder Adam Moss consulted her on most creative decisions. But a fashion magazine is a different beast, especially given W's ultra-wide range of subject matter: Who, what, when, where, and why of design, travel, culture, and fashion. Quon's challenge was formidable: How to address the magazine's new identity to both old-school W loyalists (who crave Kate Moss and obscure European countesses) and the increasingly-important newsstand reader (who needs tantalizing by a Kardashian)?

Quon also had to contend with Baron & Baron wunderkind Joseph Logan, a skilled design director who appears to favor the austere aesthetic pioneered by Fabien Baron. (He's bringing on a new art director from Baron & Baron in the next few weeks to replace Nathalie Kirsheh, who recently decamped to Details.) And the third party to consider: fashion director Alex White, whose relationships with photographers like Mert & Marcus and Inez & Vinoodh are a valuable asset that Tonchi doesn't take lightly. Widely considered to be among the best stylists in the business, White is not known to take a backseat role in creative decision-making.

"Very sad, very sad," Tonchi told WWD, reacting to news of Quon's departure. His take on why she left? "Very much that she didn't feel comfortable anymore and kind of agreed that it was maybe not the best match...I really came back 10 days ago and there was a lot of tension in the office, much more than before." Too many cooks, too petite a kitchen? ASHLEY BAKER




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