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Paris Vogue editor to leave after 10-year tenure

| December 22, 2010 8:00 PM

PARIS - Paris Vogue says its editor-in-chief, Carine Roitfeld, has decided to leave after a 10-year tenure in which the French fashion monthly became "a worldwide reference and indispensable magazine."

The magazine says on its Web site that Roitfeld's years as the top editor were marked by "constant growth" both in terms of circulation and advertising.

Xavier Romatet, the head of Conde Nast France, the French arm of the U.S. publishing house, said he "of course" regrets Roitfeld's decision to leave "even if I understand it." He didn't elaborate.

Paris Vogue said in the online statement Friday that Roitfeld's departure would be effective "in several weeks." It didn't indicate what her future plans are.

But the Web edition of British Vogue said that she had "decided to concentrate on personal projects."

The New York Times' Web edition quoted Roitfeld as telling them by telephone: "I think it's time to do something different."

Roitfeld was quoted as telling The Times that she informed Jonathan Newhouse, the chief executive of Conde Nast International, that she wished to pursue other projects. "I have no problem with Jonathan, and he understood me very well."

"I had so much freedom to do everything I wanted. I think I did a good job," The Times quoted her as saying. But she added, "When everything is good, maybe I think it's the time to do something else." It said she expects to complete issues through March, but that she was not sure what she would do after that. "I have no plan at all," The Times quoted her as saying.

Under Roitfeld, French Vogue has lived up to its reputation for pushing the envelope and has continued to be much edgier than its more commercial U.S. counterpart, with lots of nudes and sometimes overtly sex-seeped or disturbing spreads.

Roitfeld made waves with a recent shoot that featured supermodel Lara Stone in blackface, for example.

Another showed two models in identical bobbed wigs wearing only spike heels and carrying pricey leather handbags.

Roitfeld, a whip-thin woman with a penchant for vertiginous heels and body-conscious trench coats, has a reputation among industry for being friendly and approachable - in contrast with American Vogue's Anna Wintour, who is widely regarded as an ice queen. The two women have long been rumored to be rivals but are often seen chatting amicably at fashion shows.

Roitfeld got her start in fashion as a teen, after she was spotted on the street by a model scout. She went on to work as a journalist and then stylist for French Elle. She rubbed elbows with industry bigwigs, from Peruvian-born photographer Mario Testino to US designer Tom Ford, and was approached by Vogue publisher Conde Nast to head French Vogue, known in France as Vogue Paris, in 2001.

Associated Press writer Jenny Barchfield contributed to this story.

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