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ONE SIDE OF THE STORY: New York magazine this week serves up “America’s Next Top Fashion Editor,” a juicy tabloidlike tale of drama in the fashion closet via profiles of former Elle fashion director Nina Garcia and current Elle fashion news director Anne Slowey. The story, written by Gawker Media’s Maureen Tkacik, details the inner machinations of Elle; the working relationships among Garcia, Slowey, Elle editor in chief Roberta Myers, creative director Joe Zee and others, and Garcia and Slowey’s rise to fame through their respective reality television shows, “Project Runway” and “Stylista.” But while Garcia comes off looking like a well-poised fashion insider, other Elle staffers, including Myers and Slowey, look less appealing. And at least one of them — Myers — isn’t pleased.
Tkacik, for one, reports that Gilles Bensimon, Elle’s international creative director, “wanted little to do with [Myers]. In photos from the rare occasions they would attend shows together, his expression is dour. He saw Myers as ambitious, insecure and overly American; she saw him as an overpaid, out-of-control spendthrift who was losing his touch.”
Tkacik did speak to Myers via cell phone when the Elle chief was in Rome, but the two spoke about the magazine’s involvement with “Project Runway” and “Stylista,” and the motivations of magazines and their editors crossing over into television. But none of her quotes on those topics are included in the piece, nor notably, are on-the-record comments from Zee; Bensimon; Carol Smith, Elle senior vice president/group publishing director, or a spokesperson from Hachette Filipacchi Media, Elle’s parent company. The only explanation the story gives for the omissions is: “Although numerous principals and insiders were interviewed for this piece, few wanted to have their names associated with a story about the inner workings of their current or former place of employment.”
Myers on Monday responded, telling WWD she is disappointed with the quality of the reporting. According to her, neither Tkacik nor any other fact checker from New York called to confirm details of her working relationship with Bensimon or other details about her in the piece. “I strongly believe that if any reporter anywhere is going to write about why somebody did something they should have asked that person. That story is full of quotes about why I did what I did, how could they possibly know why I did anything or what motivated me to do anything in my job, unless they ask me? Even if someone else where to speculate about why I did something, the fact that nobody called me even to fact check it is egregious,” Myers told WWD on Monday.
As for her feelings on Bensimon: “I have nothing but admiration and respect for him.”
Zee could not be reached for comment, as he was out of the office filming a segment for, ironically, “Project Runway” in Canada. New York magazine editors could not be reached for comment on the story by press time. — Stephanie D. Smith