Alex Wiederin, art director for Buero New York and creative director of Vogue Hommes International, took a few minutes from his busy schedule to give us an exclusive interview about his thoughts on working with Carine Roitfeld to design her forthcoming biography Irreverent. Very special thanks to Alex Wiederin and Ronit Avneri at Buero New York and our contributing editor Lori Ferme for facilitating this interview.
How did your collaboration with Carine Roitfeld begin?
Carine and I know each other from Vogue Hommes International where we worked together for quite some time. At one point she asked me if I would like to design her book. Of course I said yes.
Can you share the process of working with Carine on this book? How involved was she in the direction?
On a project like this that is so personal, you really need the person to be involved. The way I work is always very collaborative.
What was it like to collaborate with Carine and Terry Richardson to create the images for the David Webb campaign?
They are both amazing. I have known Terry for almost 20 years, and Carine and I became good friends after working on the book together. To work with people you like and respect is always fun. And the David Webb campaign was definitely fun.
Buero designs books for many in the fashion and art world. What elements about this book's design were you intent on incorporating to make it unique to Carine?
We try to make everything we do unique. One special thing that Buero New York really believes in is creating custom typefaces. For Irreverent, we created a typeface called 'Carine' that exists only in this book. In my opinion, the way we structured the book is also very unique for this type of project.
What will we learn about our favorite stylist from Carine Roitfeld: Irreverent?
We learn that style and personality are two things that inevitably come together. And that offering a good portion of your personal life with a certain distance (and a shot of vodka) can create a lot of amazing ideas. Ultimately, humor is the best recipe.
What are Carine's concerns regarding the book?
I guess the concerns people have regarding books about their own work are always the same. If you look back on things you did a long time ago, you might begin to question whether they are still relevant.
What is the initial press run for Carine Roitfeld: Irreverent?
The last number we heard was 10,000, and I believe it's been sold out.
Can you tell us more about other projects currently underway at Buero New York?
We are working on a couple of exciting projects. Buero New York is small and we prefer to take on only projects that really interest us. For instance, we just finished the Pirelli Calendar 2012 with Mario Sorrenti. We are always working on publications — right now Vogue Hommes International, Italian Elle, Dossier, and the online and quarterly Ilikemystyle. There are also ad campaigns, books... and a new project I love where we will design a range of sustainable products from a farm in the Spanish countryside, starting with olive oil and wine bottles.
What advice would you give to an aspiring book designer?
Try to tell stories with your design. Use design as a communication tool rather than just an aesthetic.
Carine Roitfeld and Alex Wiederin photographs courtesy of terrysdiary.com, purple.fr, colette.fr