As mentioned previously, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld appears on the cover of Viva! Moda for their winter issue and she grants a charming interview as well. I am pleased to present the interview with Julia now in English for your enjoyment. The original interview was conducted by Sylwia Nasiadko. Special thanks to Kamila Brudzyńska, Sara Marcysiak, and Aleksandra Boćkowska for their kind assistance in preparing this translation from Polish to English.
Viva! Moda: Have you worked with Victor Demarchelier before?
Julia Restoin Roitfeld: I haven’t had a chance to work with him so far, although we met a couple of times. I’m really glad we got to work together this time. But his father, Patrick Demarchelier took photos of me when I was pregnant, it was a gift. I can’t even begin to describe how much it means to me — having pictures of the happiest time in my life taken by such an amazing photographer.
V!M: Both Victor and you have been raised by famous parents. Does it make life easier or it’s more of a challenge?
JRR: I think it’s both. As for me, being my mother’s daughter certainly helped. I’m not going to pretend — if it weren’t for my mother, I probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to meet so many amazing people, to get internships where I got them, I don’t know if Tom Ford would hire me. I think it’s all about the attitude — you can either actually use what you’ve got and by working hard prove what you’re worth or keep going to parties and don’t do much. Both Victor and I chose the first option.
V!M: Why so many different fields of interest?
JRR: I’ve always been interested in art in all of its aspects. I sort of grew up in the catwalk, so the interest in fashion came naturally. At one point I became interested in graphic design and magazine layout, which brought me to photography. As for modeling, it kind of happened by chance — Tom Ford asked me six years ago to be his newest fragrance face. I was twenty six at the time, so really much more than models when they start their careers. Not to mention that I really didn’t have the typical model’s silhouette.
V!M: You just designed a lingerie line.
JRR: Well, for a while I’ve been thinking about what I could design. I decided it would be lingerie, because I love it and buy tons of it, really. I contacted people from Kiki de Montparnasse, because that’s my favorite brand and they said okay. Partially it was a project that was my project all long. I designed the collection’s pieces, found a photographer and a stylist that understood my vision. It was a wonderful feeling.
V!M: Have you always known you wanted to do so many things at the same time?
JRR: No. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted do to with my life. After graduation I got an internship at Baron & Baron, a company creating images for luxury brands. And that was like a revelation to me! Fabien Baron showed me it was possible to do many different things at the same time — he’s an art director in his company, but he’s also a great photographer, designs it all: from sunglasses, toys, to furniture. I remember thinking: Oh my God, what a relief, I don’t have to decide! Life is really too short to be making choices. Than I met more people who can do plenty of things and they do all of those things well. Tom Ford or Karl Lagerfeld for example.
V!M: You’re a mother not long ago. Did motherhood change your treatment of work?
JRR: Motherhood is as hard as it is beautiful. For the first couple of months I didn’t hire a nanny. I would do everything by myself. My boyfriend (model Robert Konjic) helped me with everything. Motherhood changes your attitude towards work. You work more efficiently, because you just have less time for it.
V!M: Is there anything else you’d like to try?
JRR: Acting, maybe. I used to take acting classes and sometimes I think it would be fun to see if I’m any good in it. I don’t think I’d ever just go to a casting. If I ever appear in a movie it will be because someone thinks I’m fit for certain character.
V!M: You were born and raised in Paris, but spent the last ten years in NYC. Why do you prefer living here?
JRR: NYC is more casual, relaxed. I feel like I get more done in a day on this side of the ocean. Everything is easier and less time consuming.
V!M: Differences in fashion?
JRR: In NYC, fashion is about casual day, whereas in Paris it’s all about big galas. It seems like in New York everything is just more comfy. Paris is still so elegant, there’s still elegance you wont find anywhere else. New Yorkers are more courageous when it comes to fashion. In Paris you are watched more closely. If your skirt is too short, women will stare at you. In NYC you can wear whatever you like, and I love it.
V!M: And what is it that you wear with the biggest pleasure?
JRR: Black. Some people can match different patterns, fabrics, styles. I can’t. I grab a black t-shirt out of my closet, black skirt and think, well, great, that’s gonna really go great together! I wear black all the time, all year long. I go for long, hippie style dresses in summer time, when I’m tanned. My typical winter look: short black dress and black leather jacket. I don’t follow trends, but my mood. Sometimes I buy a piece inspired by old movies, sometimes I buy a leather coat. I like Alexander Wang, I’ve never left his store empty-handed. As for evening gowns, I like Valentino. His classic and elegant style makes me look like a princess.
V!M: If you were to pick your favorite accessory?
JRR: I would pick the purse I have with me today. Classic Chanel, perfect size, I can even fit my baby’s bottle in it. Perfect for errands around the city and evening galas. It’s something I can recommend: timeless things like Chanel’s purse that will make you look stylish even if you’re wearing an H&M dress.
V!M: Do you believe in suffering in the name of beauty?
JRR: You have to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, but the truth is comfy clothes usually don’t make you feel good. Sometimes you have to suffer. High heels will always make you look slimmer and more elegant. My mom always says: you never know who you might run into in the street. If something you’re wearing isn’t really comfy, but makes you look great, I guarantee you’ll forget about the little pain you go through.
Julia Restoin-Roitfeld editorial images © 2012 Viva! Moda. All Rights Reserved.