Carine Roitfeld at the MaxMara Spring 2011 show in Milan. Getty Images

The fashion world is abuzz with the sudden news that Carine Roitfeld, editor in chief of French Vogue, has announced her departure from the magazine at the end of January.

The 56-year-old, renowned as one of the most influential names in fashion, initially began her career as a model before switching to styling and eventually becoming Tom Ford's muse. She landed the role of French Vogue editor in 2001.

Roitfeld is leaving to pursue personal projects, reports Vogue UK.

In a telephone interview with the New York Times' Cathy Horyn, Roitfeld explained: "It's 10 years that I'm editor of the magazine. I think it's time to do something different."

In addition to her editing duties, Roitfeld also continued to style fashion stories for the publication. "I had so much freedom to do everything I wanted. I think I did a good job," she told the Times. "When everything is good, maybe I think it's the time to do something else." She expects to complete the magazine's issues through March, after which she has "no plan at all."

According to Vogue UK, Jonathan Newhouse, CEO of Condé Nast International, said of the departure: "It is impossible to overstate Carine's powerful contribution to Vogue and to the fields of fashion and magazine publishing. Under her direction, Vogue Paris received record levels of circulation and advertising and editorial success."

"Carine herself has become widely known as a beacon of style, fulfilling the role with charm and graciousness. She has become a giant in her profession," he continued. "Carine will be deeply missed. I am extremely grateful to her for what she has achieved."

So the question is, who will replace her? Stay tuned: Roitfeld's successor will be announced in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, see what campaign Roitfeld's daughter Julia is starring in.

And check out this roundup of the best dressed fashion editors.