Nicoletta Santoro and Marco Felci

Longtime fashion editor and stylist Nicoletta Santoro has left Town & Country, WWD has learned.

Santoro was creative director at large for four years and appointed by Jay Fielden, then editor in chief of T&C and now its editorial director, in addition to being the editor in chief of Esquire. He wanted to bring her high-end fashion pedigree to the magazine’s pages and give it a more modern editorial touch.

Although she left the Hearst Corp.-owned magazine earlier this month, having decided to resign late last year, Santoro worked till the end, styling the March cover shoot featuring Anne Hathaway. While the creative director role at the magazine isn’t thought to be going anywhere, there is no immediate replacement for Santoro and freelancers will be taking on much of the work in the interim.  

Lauren Darling, who served as the magazine’s full-time creative director on the publishing side for about four years, too, also left the magazine this month. She’s now head of creative and brand strategy at relatively new art and design magazine Galerie, which is half owned by Sandow.  

Santoro said her reason for leaving T&C “was a personal one,” citing a growing feeling that her role at T&C “was shifting away from a creative one and into a more executive one.”

“I felt it was becoming harder to express myself,” she added.

No doubt, magazines have become something quite different in recent years, with much tighter budgets and a new focus on creating revenue and working directly with advertisers on content. Santoro started her career in the Eighties, a heyday for media and fashion, and has frequently worked with some of the most high-profile photographers in the industry, including many collaborations and projects with Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel and Peter Lindbergh, among others. Before joining T&C, she was international director at large of Vogue China and had worked within Condé Nast editorial for many years. Stints included Vogue Italia and Vogue Paris and she contributed to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, as well.

Stellene Volandes, T&C’s current editor in chief, referred to Santoro as “a legend” and said she feels “so fortunate to have watched her work her magic.”

“I am in Paris right now missing her like crazy and wishing her great adventures, wonderful times in Milan and more of her signature inspired creativity in this next chapter,” Volandes added.

As for leaving T&C and being untethered to any publication for the first time in many years, Santoro said she’s “at a place in my life where I feel ready for a new chapter” and is thinking of moving back full-time to her home country of Italy.

“I’m curious to see what creative opportunities the future might hold.”

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