Meet W’s New Guard: Rickie De Sole and Sara Moonves

by Alexandra Ilyashov

Edward Enninful’s departure left a big void at W—or a huge opportunity! Just ask the title’s newly installed fashion brigade: Fashion Director Rickie De Sole and Style Director Sara Moonves.

Congrats on the promotion, Rickie. How did it happen?
I worked closely with Edward Enninful, and when he left, Stefano [Tonchi] really wanted to put together a team. I’m working with all the creatives to make sure things run seamlessly, so they’re not shooting the same looks, and so we’re telling all the stories we want to tell.

What’s your rapport like with Stefano?
Stefano is the best boss you could ask for, on the record! No, but truly—he’s incredibly trusting, and willing to take risks. He’s open to hearing opinions. That’s why we work with such a roster of talents; they can come and play here.

Has your work at W been all that different from what you were doing at Vogue?
Completely. I was only covering accessories at Vogue, and I wanted to grow. I want to be the first person to help get behind young talents. Knowing what’s next is such a big part of the W vocabulary.

Do you feel edgier these days?
I’m not an edgy person, which I think Stefano was aware of when he hired me. I certainly have not become grungier while working here, besides wearing more black. But I think that side of me is in there; I am who I am. I appreciate fashion but am not necessarily going to embrace it on a personal level.

Do you ever worry what this job will look like in five or 10 years?
Don’t we all? [Laughs] Yes, I think everything is changing at such a fast pace, and that’s why it’s important to do all the amazing things that we’re doing now. Stefano does these hardbound editions of two of our issues this year, which makes them like coffee table books. The real estate in W is really unique.

Thoughts on how other media behemoths have “hubbed” jobs across titles?
Certain parts of [Condé Nast] have already been consolidated, like the publishing side—our team works on W and Vanity Fair—but it hasn’t had an effect on our jobs. We’ve heard many rumors [about consolidation] at this point, but they’re just rumors. But I love a challenge—whatever happens, that or something else, you have to take it in stride.

How do you know a designer’s going to make it big?
If people at Condé Nast start wearing it, which is what happened with CVC Stones. We have this French jewelry assistant, Schanel [Bakkouche], who found this designer, Pascale [Monvoisin], and started wearing it; then I did; then one of the Vogue girls started wearing it, then it’s like, well, it’s a thing. If people want to wear it that work in fashion and have access to everything within reason, there’s something there, that’s the No. 1 indication for me.

How has the retail landscape changed during your career?
I still love stores, and I keep saying that, but at the same time, I find myself shopping online more and more. I like shopping at destinations, especially resort boutiques. Even if it’s also sold at Bergdorf Goodman, it somehow feels more special if you found it in an island shop.

It’s a challenging time for department stores. Thoughts?
There are so many brands; there’s a lot out there. Websites like MatchesFashion and Net-a-Porter do such a nice job curating it all. There are clever ways to do that in a physical store, like Bergdorf’s did with Linda’s and Saks’ The Wellery. It’s all about the experience.

PLUS! Sara Moonves Weighs In…

What brought you to W?
I met with Stefano when all the changes began, and I’ve been such a huge admirer of his and what an incredible, iconic magazine W is. I loved working at Vogue, but I thought this was such an amazing new chapter. Rickie was a great collaborator at Vogue, and I think that for both of us at W, it’ll be great to expand that relationship.

What’s going to be different about this gig?
W is so experimental, and I’m excited to take risks I couldn’t take a Vogue. And W does such a great job at combining different cultural elements, like art and entertainment, and I’m excited about that. Stefano is really into giving people a chance, and that sort of freedom makes W, W. We talked about my interest in photographers and directors. Stefano and I both have a love of film, and we talked about new directors and how we can do things for digital and print and encompass all the things we love.

Will you continue working on side gigs while at W?
W’s going to be my primary focus, absolutely, but I’m still going to be working with a few select advertising clients.

Who are you tight with in fashion?
I’ve been working in fashion since I was young, and I grew up with a lot of the young designers, who actually aren’t so young anymore—Jack [McCollough] and Lazaro [Hernandez] from Proenza, Mary-Kate and Ashley [Olsen] from The Row, Laura and Kate Mulleavy [from Rodarte]…these are people I’ve known since they started their careers, and it’s amazing to see them take off.

Who are you betting on big as the next-gen in fashion?
I was obsessed with what Shayne [Oliver] was doing at Hood By Air; I’m excited to see what he does at Helmut Lang. Vaquera is interesting, and I can’t wait to see how they expand. It’s exciting to see brands like Brock and Adam Selman expand, too.

Did your Hollywood upbringing [as the daughter of CBS honcho Les Moonves] shape your fashion POV?
Growing up in L.A. I have a huge interest in Hollywood. I left to go to New York the second I could because I didn’t want to be in the entertainment industry! But I do have a love for film, TV, and music. I’ve admired the incredible Lynn Hirschberg for so long, and I think the conversation about the industry at W is really about new, interesting talent and championing young actors, musicians, and directors early in their careers.

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