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The Plagemann Year

Susan Plagemann
Since her arrival, Susan Plagemann has shuffled staff, reorganized divisions, and eliminated others, all in the name of focus. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images/IMG Fashion
Lauren Sherman
May 9, 2024

When Silver Lake’s $13 billion take-private of Endeavor was announced a few weeks ago, the implications for WME Fashion seemed minimal—like an after-afterthought. If anything, I assumed there would be less pressure on the entertainment-and-representation-and-events holding company’s decade-old fashion division, which includes IMG Models (acquired in 2013), The Wall Group (which represents stylists, manicurists, and other beauty pros, and was acquired in 2015), Art + Commerce (image makers, part of the IMG deal), New York Fashion Week (same), etcetera. I’ve heard estimates pinning WME Fashion’s revenue at under $200 million a year—a nice sum, of course, but a fraction of the $6 billion that Endeavor made last year. 

But fashion being fashion, the take-private was the latest in a growing litany of grievances, both real and imagined, swirling around WME Fashion. The fashion group, after all, was already undergoing a significant and long-overdue restructuring, starting with the hiring of former Condé Nast executive Susan D. Plagemann as president. Since her arrival, in 2022, Plagemann had shuffled staff, reorganized divisions, and eliminated others, all in the name of focus. Alas, fashion people don’t like change, and there have been audible rumblings. But as the fashion world corporatizes—migrating from a madcap collection of family-run firms to modern C.P.G. conglomerates—the agencies needed to do the same. (Disclosure: WME represents Puck. I’m represented by UTA for book-related stuff.)