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Stefano Tonchi to Redesign W for September 2010 Issue; T Editor Search Under Way

>> When Stefano Tonchi was announced as W's new editor-in-chief yesterday, he said he only began talking with Conde Nast about the position last week. But WWD reports that Tonchi had been looking to leave T for more than a year, and was lobbying hard for a senior position at Conde Nast as well as looking at the possibility of a high-level position at Hearst or Time Inc.

Big changes for W under Tonchi are expected, and although he emphasized that the transition will be smooth — “Nothing is going to be traumatic. I don’t think there is any rush to make a revolution. It’s an evolution, it’s not a revolution” — those at the top of the W masthead — creative director Dennis Freedman, deputy editor Julie Belcove, and fashion director Alex White — are said to be in vulnerable positions.

White was reportedly interested in the editor gig »

WWD reports that White was interested in the W editor-in-chief position herself and allegedly asked Karl Lagerfeld and other designers to write letters to Conde Nast chairman Si Newhouse on her behalf. Freedman, meanwhile, has reportedly reached out to Tonchi to discuss the latter's plans for the magazine.

Tonchi, who starts April 12, is expected to "observe" W staff as they finish the June issue, oversee July's book, and then debut a full redesign in September.  He'll also be dealing with W's flagging ability to pull in ad revenue, which could be especially hurt now that W and WWD are separate entities; as the New York Post reports: "fashion insiders long believed that an ad in W could stave off criticism in WWD."

There's already plenty of speculation about Tonchi's replacement at TWWD adds former Domino editor Deborah Needleman, Time's Kate Betts, and former Wallpaper editor Tony Chambers to the quickly growing list of potentials. A Times spokeswoman confirmed the search has already begun and the company hopes to name a new editor by May 1.


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