It's a two in one: The New York Times announced Wednesday morning that Vanessa Friedman, the Financial Times's widely respected fashion editor of 11 years, will be joining the paper as fashion director and chief fashion critic. The role will have her oversee fashion coverage at both the Times's domestic paper and its international edition -- effectively replacing both Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes in one fell swoop.
When Menkes announced her departure from INYT to Vogue International last month, many (us included) expected Friedman to be named her replacement. As the New York-based editor for London-based FT, there is a uniquely international scope to her coverage that makes her the most obvious replacement for Menkes. Add to that the expanded resources of the Times -- Friedman has for the past several years only had two full-time staffers on her team, Elizabeth Paton in the U.S. and Carola Long in the UK -- and the position's appeal for her is obvious, too.
What we'll enjoy most of all is the business perspective Friedman will bring to the Times coverage which, outside of The Wall Street Journal, is frequently absent in fashion reporting in broad-ranging (that is, non-trade) publications such as the Times. Friedman's fashion reviews, for example, are often unique in their consideration of not just what is good, but what will sell.
In addition to Friedman, the Times also announced that Times Styles editor Alexandra Jacobs, who has been with the paper since 2010, will be stepping into the role of fashion critic and fashion features writer -- replacing, in part, reporter Eric Wilson, who left for InStyle last year. Other recent hires include Matthew Schneier of Style.com and John Koblin of Deadspin. It's a complete changing of the guard, folks.