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News

Saudi princess sacked as editor of Vogue Arabia

Saudi Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz has been sacked as editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia after publishing just two editions of the magazine.

Condé Nast launched the 22nd international edition of its flagship fashion title digitally last year with Dubai-based publisher Nervora, before debuting a print edition in March.

Ms Abdulaziz, who is married to a member of the Saudi royal family, had been tapped to lead the launch thanks to her high profile.

“Yes I was dismissed,” she told the Financial Times. “I can’t say any more. My statement will come shortly.”

A spokeswoman for Condé Nast International said: “Our licence partner Nervora will be announcing news regarding Vogue Arabia, with a release due in the next few days.” A spokesman for Nervora said it would issue a statement “soon”.

Ms Abdulaziz’s replacement is being lined up, said two people aware of the matter.

The arrival of Vogue in the Middle East sparked intense interest in a region that had felt under-served by the fashion world’s leading publication.

At the launch, Condé Nast described Ms Abdulaziz as “a beacon of fashion in the region” with a “reputation as a fashion opinion leader and a source of inspiration for local and international designers”.

Ms Abdulaziz, who had previously worked in fashion retail, attended a star-studded launch event for the magazine last week at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International, sung her praises in a speech at the event, according to one person who attended the launch.

Ms Abdulaziz’s first two editions were also well received, say insiders, though questions had been raised about high production spending.

Model Gigi Hadid, who has Palestinian roots, was photographed for the launch cover of Vogue Arabia in March. The cover, which pictured the model wearing an ornate veil, generated vigorous online debate that helped market the magazine.

But the image also triggered accusations of plagiarism. In 2010, a blogger had mocked up an imaginary regional Vogue cover that had striking similarities to the launch cover.

Turmoil in the Vogue editorial office comes amid tough times for regional luxury and publishing markets as economic confidence sags across the Middle East amid the fall in oil prices.

Luxury retailers, who had benefited from booming demand across the region in the past 15 years, have been hit by lower consumer confidence, as well as diminishing tourist spending as local currencies are pegged to the strong dollar.

Publishers have also been hit by the worldwide slowdown in print advertising and the shift to a less-lucrative digital market. Titles have folded and staff have been cut in recent years.

Source: FT