AUF WIEDERSEHEN: One day you’re in, the next day you’re out — Elle fashion director Nina Garcia apparently is taking those very words coined on “Project Runway” to heart. The magazine was said to have parted company with the editor, “Project Runway” star, author and peddler of BlackBerries on Friday, according to sources. Neither Garcia, Elle editor in chief Robbie Myers nor a spokeswoman for the magazine returned calls for comment.
Speculation about Garcia’s departure has swirled for months, especially after the arrival of Joe Zee at the beginning of 2007 as creative director. Observers questioned how the two would get along, and whether Zee would keep her on board.
Last spring, Garcia left the magazine on maternity leave, and began writing a monthly fashion column upon her return in the summer.
But even as rumors swirled over her future at the magazine, her profile continued to rise as a result of the popularity of “Project Runway.” Her pregnancy and delivery of her baby boy were covered by People magazine, and she appeared in commercials for BlackBerry, though she was referred to by her Elle title, and she wrote a book, “The Little Black Book of Style.” Garcia will also have a cameo in ABC’s sitcom “Ugly Betty” in May.
There may have been warning signs last week that her Elle gig was up, though. On Tuesday, Elle hosted a dinner with Moschino to celebrate Simon Doonan’s new book, “Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fashionable You,” but Garcia was notably absent.
And a story in The Wall Street Journal on Friday also could have inadvertently foreshadowed Garcia’s departure: a piece about fashion trends for spring quoted her, but excluded her role at Elle. Garcia was in her Elle office on Friday morning, but by the afternoon, sources said Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Midtown offices were abuzz that she and the magazine had parted ways.
The reasons for her departure could not be learned as of press time, but it comes as “Project Runway” is headed for a new network. The Bravo reality show last week switched to Lifetime Television under a more lucrative contract. NBC Universal, Bravo’s owner, has sued the Weinstein Co., producer of “Project Runway,” over the move. The Lifetime deal takes effect with the fall season. Sources said the initial deal with “Project Runway” involved Elle for five seasons, stretching through this summer’s competition.
Meanwhile, Zee and staffers at Elle will soon have their own reality show on the CW network, “Fashionista.” “America’s Next Top Model” producers Tyra Banks and Ken Mok will produce the program, where young fashionistas will compete for a chance to be a fashion assistant at the magazine. The show has begun filming in New York and will air in the summer.
— Stephanie D. Smith
NOW HE CAN SATIRE THE RICH: After 18 years as founding editor of ForbesLife, Christopher Buckley has decided to move into the role of editor at large in order to focus more on his writing. Buckley, the only son of the late William F. Buckley Jr. and socialite Patricia Buckley, could not be reached Friday. Gary Walther has been tapped as the new editor of ForbesLife. Previously, he was one of the founding editors of Departures and former editor of Luxury SpaFinder. Meredith Kopit will oversee ForbesLife and ForbesLife Executive Woman, replacing new venture capitalist Jack Laschever.
— Amy Wicks
A RARE BRIGHT SPOT: During the next year or so, Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure are planning big changes to their Web sites. Traveler is launching its own site and could completely break away from Concierge.com, although a spokesman said it’s too early to predict what will happen. A new site could come later this year, or during the first quarter of next year. American Express Publishing’s Travel + Leisure is planning a redesign, although a spokeswoman declined to provide details.
Meanwhile, both sites may be facing a little extra competition for those highly sought-after luxury travel ad dollars from competitors such as Globorati, a luxury travel news site that will relaunch on Tuesday. The site is from editor in chief (and Condé Nast Traveler contributing editor) Mark Jolly and was originally launched as a blog in January. The new version will not only provide breaking news (like it did in the past) but also provide the tools necessary to visit a given luxury destination. “This [luxury travel] is the fastest growing segment in the travel industry,” Jolly said. He has roughly a dozen writers that will contribute, as well as senior editor Nicole Cotroneo, a regular contributor to The New York Times and The Washington Post travel section. Publisher Michael Rovner, formerly of Us Weekly and Stuff, said current advertisers include Silverjet and Singapore Tourism.