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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In the Spotlight: Fashion Magazines

Last week, the Russian L'Officiel magazine announced that its editor, Evelina Khromchenko, was leaving — and not in a good way. The press release cattily blamed "Evelina's excessive interest in building her own career to the detriment of the L'Officiel magazine's development."

The publishers twisted the knife further by announcing her replacement: Maria Nevskaya, a former model who just happens to be the wife of the magazine's owner, Yevgeny Zmiyevets.

The details of glossy magazine recruitment do not normally interest many people. But this is an exception, because Khromchenko is known well beyond the fashion clique. She co-hosts a popular makeover show, "Fashion Sentence," on Channel One and provided the Russian voice for the editor-from-hell Miranda Priestly in the dubbed version of the film "The Devil Wears Prada."

"She's a person who has given her all — and even more — to fashion," her co-host Alexander Vasilyev said on Thursday's episode of "Fashion Sentence."

As a result, the French brand L'Officiel has a high profile in Russia, even though it is not even published in the United States or Britain.

Khromchenko, who edited the magazine for more than 10 years, has not said a word publicly about her dismissal. But plenty of other people have. The topic was among the most discussed on Russian blogs this week.

"Yes, Evelina Khromchenko isn't the easiest editor, she's a principled and harsh person," the Fashionista.ru blog wrote. "Many people in the glossy magazine world don't like her, thinking she is too arrogant and haughty. But she is a professional."

"Evelina's replacement looks rather feeble. A model and wife is all very well, but she is not a journalist," Fashionista.ru added.

The Spletnik.ru gossip site juxtaposed photographs of Khromchenko in a carefully accessorized black dress with a shot of Nevskaya looking glowingly gorgeous in a simple V-neck jumper.

The publisher's press release said Nevskaya has worked "more than half a year in the magazine's fashion department" but had 10 years' experience in the fashion industry.

Commentators were quick to point out that Nevskaya spent those years as a model, albeit a very successful one. She had a contract with Armani and cover photographs in Elle and Grazia, Fashionista.ru reported.

After living in Paris and New York, she returned to Russia to study international relations, going on to marry Zmiyevets and have two children, Fashionista.ru wrote.

She later trained in interior design and wrote for Mezonin interiors magazine — also published by her husband.

To be fair, no one seems to have a bad word to say about Nevskaya as a person, but the whole situation smacks of self-indulgence. It is clearly unlikely that she would have been appointed as editor of any other fashion magazine.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell guest-edited Russian Vogue magazine recently, but no one seriously suggested that she dealt with deadlines, page layouts and surly freelancers complaining about their paychecks.

Writing an opinion piece for RIA-Novosti's web site, Anna Gorbashova was blunt: "Who is surprised nowadays to see the appointment of relatives to key posts, irrespective of their competency?"

It's certainly not unusual in Russia for magazines to be edited — at least formally — by socialites who have had a bit of a leg-up on the career ladder.

Svetlana Bondarchuk, the former model wife of film director and actor Fyodor Bondarchuk, edits the Russian edition of Hello!.

And the chairman of the board at Hello!'s publishing house is Polina Deripaska, wife of aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska.