23-Nov, 06:39

13:09, April 14 348 0

2017-04-14 13:09:03
Fashion Media: Vogue Arabia Suddenly Changes Editors

Last fall, not long after she was named the first editor of Vogue Arabia, a new publication from Condé Nast and the Dubai media company Nervora, Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz did not offer up the usual it’s-an-honor-just-to-be-here quotations typical of newly hired people at glossy publications.

“This Vogue is very overdue,” the Saudi princess told The New York Times at Paris Fashion Week. “The Arabs deserve their Vogue, and they’ve deserved it for a long, long time.”

“The Vogue Arabia woman is one who celebrates her tradition but also considers herself a highly educated global citizen,” she added. “Don’t forget that we understand luxury almost better than anyone else on earth. Middle Eastern women have been serious couture clients since the late 1960s. We’ve been around long before the Russians and the Chinese ever came into the picture.”

Now, after guiding two published print issues, Ms. Aljuhani Abdulaziz is out, swiftly replaced by a Condé Nast veteran, Manuel Arnaut, who started at the company in 2004 as a writer and editor at Vogue Portugal and GQ Portugal and who is also the current editor in chief of Architectural Digest Middle East.

First reported by The Business of Fashion, the end of Ms. Aljuhani Abdulaziz’ tenure came on Thursday. Condé Nast and Nervora announced the appointment of Mr. Arnaut on Friday. He will begin his work at Vogue Arabia on May 7.

Ms. Aljuhani Abdulaziz was appointed to lead Condé Nast’s 22nd international edition of Vogue in July. A relative newcomer to media, her concrete experience in the fashion industry included the founding of D’NA, a boutique in Riyadh. With the announcement on Friday, Vogue Arabia’s publishers seemed to signal a preference for a leader steeped in Condé Nast culture over one with star power and a deep knowledge of what it means to be a woman in the Middle East.

“Manuel Arnaut brings over a decade of Condé Nast editorial experience combined with a strong track record of regional success,” Shashi Menon, the chief executive of Nervora, said in a statement.

Vogue Arabia began online in October. For its first print issue, dated March 2017, a partially veiled Gigi Hadid was the cover star. She was followed by Imaan Hammam, a Dutch model of Egyptian and Moroccan descent, on the April cover.

Last fall, Ms. Aljuhani Abdulaziz made clear her mission to reframe the way the world sees women in the Middle East. “Many people don’t really know exactly what Arabia is, and there are major misunderstandings around modest dressing, too,” she said. “I have a responsibility to tackle those issues, through a fashion lens, of course.”

One of her Instagram posts earlier this week suggested she felt thwarted in her attempt to carry out those goals. It is a copy of a photograph by Irving Penn called “Veiled Mystery of Morocco” that ran in Vogue decades ago, depicting two women concealed by what appear to be burlap sacks. “There is us, then there is how we are perceived #somethingsneverchange #penn #1972,” she wrote in her caption.

Beneath the image, commenters expressed their appreciation. “You are a true style icon in the Arab world, and we have always looked up to you, as Saudis as well as the rest of the fashion world, and you made @voguearabia happen! So it’s definitely their loss,” @noorahefzi wrote in one comment.

A statement given to The Business of Fashion by Ms. Aljuhani Abdulaziz reinforced the insinuations of her Instagram post. “I refused to compromise when I felt the publisher’s approach conflicted with the values which underpin our readers and the role of the editor in chief in meeting those values in a truly authentic way,” she said.

Mr. Arnaut, based in Dubai, is from Portugal and is the third man to assume a top international role at Condé Nast this year. Emanuele Farneti was hired to replace the late Franca Sozzani at the helm of Vogue Italia in January, and Edward Enninful was appointed to lead British Vogue beginning in August, following the departure of Alexandra Shulman.

For now details of the conflict between Ms. Aljuhani Abdulaziz and Vogue Arabia’s publishers remain a mystery. But in an Instagram post on Wednesday, she seemed to signal her unwillingness to go quietly, adding an image of Al Pacino in the movie “Scarface.”

The caption? “Mood.”