The Old Men and the C-List

Graydon Carter, Bob Iger, and Jeff Zucker.
Graydon Carter, Bob Iger, and Jeff Zucker. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images; Rich Fury/Getty Images; J. Countess/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
May 31, 2023

Last week, as I was perusing the extensive, token-in-the-legend-meter coverage of Graydon Carter’s star-studded, summer-christening soirée with David Zaslav at the Hotel du Cap—lengthy writeups in the Times, the Journal, New York, etcetera—I couldn’t help but notice a fascinating detail. 

A few nights earlier, Carter’s successor at Vanity Fair, Radhika Jones, had thrown her own party at the same storied venue, and despite luring Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez ashore off Koru, the couple’s new superyacht, it was clear she was destined to be upstaged by her predecessor, a well-known master in, among other things, the fine art of A-list gatherings. As the Times noted wryly, Miuccia Prada, whose namesake brand co-hosted the V.F. event, did not attend Jones’ bash. Sipping an espresso ahead of his own grande fête, Graydon was asked by a Times reporter about Radhika’s event and replied, indifferently: “I’m sure it was fine.” 

The quote reverberated through the halls and up and down the elevator shafts at Condé Nast, a notoriously gossipy company, where leadership questions are, of course, always looming, even if they aren’t really that newsy anymore. To wit: today, Wired’s editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield announced that he was leaving the brand after two unremarkable years. The departure was met not with a bang, but a whimper. Wired used to be one of the most important brands in the culture, and is now a shadow of its former self. And Lichfield’s musical chair is small potatoes, of course, at a company steeped in history and addicted to dish, a place where Anna Wintour is perpetually said to be one Met Gala away from announcing her retirement, at which point Vogue’s still-lucrative advertising business may face an existential crisis (perhaps that’s why she never does leave).