PARIS — Emmanuelle Alt, who worked beside Carine Roitfeld for a decade at Vogue Paris, will succeed her at the helm of the French title effective Feb. 1.
This story first appeared in the January 10, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This confirms a report in WWD on Jan. 5 that Alt was in pole position to assume one of the most coveted and high-profile jobs in fashion publishing.
Known for rock ’n’ roll style — pinned on big-shouldered jackets, skinny jeans and vertiginous heels — Alt, 45, is a low-key yet influential fixture on the Paris fashion scene. Her name should appear on the top of the masthead of the April issue as Roitfeld winds up her tenure.
Condé Nast France president Xavier Romatet told WWD that Alt takes over the flagship title at a time of strong momentum for the company, with 2010 revenues up 12 percent. Consequently, he said not to expect any radical changes, but rather a “progression” of Vogue’s audacious point of view on fashion.
He characterized Alt, alongside Roitfeld, as one of the industry’s most gifted stylists, lending continuity to the glossy, which feted its 90th anniversary last year with a 626-page issue and a glittering masked ball during Paris Fashion Week.
Roitfeld surprised fashion observers by announcing last month that she was leaving French Vogue after a decade in the editor’s seat, sparking speculation she had been pushed out. Roitfeld explained the decision by telling WWD: “It’s been an incredible adventure, but maybe in my heart and soul I am more of a freelancer.”
Alt shoots regularly with photographers such as Mario Sorrenti and the Dutch duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, producing images that are sexy, glitzy and fierce. She is closely linked to David Sims, as well as to designer-turned-photographer Hedi Slimane.
Fashion folk credit Alt with putting tough glamour back on the fashion agenda, and it’s an open secret here that she has given vital input to designer Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, which has catapulted to become a hot ticket in Paris and a label known for sexy jeans, demonstrative jackets and destroyed T-shirts — all worn with offhand ease by asparagus-thin Alt.
The stylist is also often seen in the company of designer Isabel Marant, another label with that rocker-influenced je ne sais quoi Alt possesses.
In a statement, Condé Nast France said Alt would devote herself exclusively to her new responsibilities.
Alt could not immediately be reached for comment, but stated that it was a “great honor” to head a magazine she knows well. “Working with a very talented team, I will devote myself to developing the incredible potential of Vogue Paris,” she said.
She joined the magazine as its fashion director in 2000, the same year as Roitfeld, a stylist closely associated with Tom Ford and his golden years at Gucci.
Alt has spent her entire career at French magazines, starting as head of fashion at teen title 20 Ans, or 20 Years in English, in 1993, and moving over to Mixte in 1998 just before Vogue Paris.
Condé Nast said Olivier Lalanne, another one of Roitfeld’s key deputies, would work closely with Alt and have enlarged responsibilities, also assuming sole editorial direction of the biannual men’s title Vogue Hommes International.
Designers and photographers largely praised the appointment.
Karl Lagerfeld, who enlisted Alt to style Chanel advertising campaigns years ago, said Alt has a strong fingerprint, which could be a double-edged sword.
“Her style is her big shoulders, long legs, tight jeans, sleeves up to the elbow, one hip out,” the designer said. “I personally like her. She’s a handsome French woman. She has a style, but is it enough to make a whole magazine?”
Lagerfeld said he would reserve judgment until Alt has produced a few issues, and he held out hope she would bring change, the engine of fashion. “As editor in chief, she may blossom,” he said.
“She has an innate sense of chic and has a very clear vision of who the Paris Vogue woman is. The shoots we have done with Emmanuelle are always just like her: superfun, supercool and superfashion,” van Lamsweerde and Matadin said in an e-mail.
“Emmanuelle is one of the most talented editors. I love working with her,” added Sorrenti. Others seemed ready for more of the same.
“It’s a very logical continuation for French Vogue. She’s really somebody who’s going to make it. She has a point of view, a lot of vision,” said Giambattista Valli. “I remember when she was editor in chief of Mixte she did some amazing stories. She worked a lot with Corinne Day at the time. She’s French, but she’s extremely international as well.
“Alt is a contemporary Parisian woman who is interested in design,” Valli continued. “She’s more about Parisian chic, perhaps less eclectic than [Roitfeld] and all this kind of sexiness.”