I Want To Be A Roitfeld

Kellina de Boer
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Dara Block
STYLE EDITOR

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
Jascmeen Bush
Jessica Eritou
Renee Hernandez
Montse Ocejo
Bernie Rothschild
Sarra Salib

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Carine Roitfeld

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Julia Restoin-Roitfeld

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Mademoiselle C

Mademoiselle C (2013)
Directed by Fabien Constant

IWTB Interview:
Fabien Constant

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REBIRTH

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jeudi
févr.132014

Chic To Chic: Carine Roitfeld By Kal Ruttenstein

Chic To Chic: Carine Roitfeld By Kal Ruttenstein
By Dara Block

Recently, I was looking back through my magazine archives and stumbled upon an old issue of Bloomingdale's Magazine. I am not sure where I got this publication... but wherever I got it, I couldn't help but gravitate towards an amazing interview between Carine Roitfeld and former Bloomingdale's Fashion Director, Kal Ruttenstein. Sadly, Kal Ruttenstein passed away in 2005, and if you are unfamiliar with his work, you should know that he was a complete visionary in the department store world. Season after season, he informed shoppers of what would be important by blending designs straight from the runways of Paris, New York City, and Milan into Bloomingdale's. He also had an amazing ability to incorporate ideas from pop culture to create such spectacular in-store boutiques. His eye for style was quite incredible, so it's no surprise why he was very excited to interview Carine Roitfeld. The two got together in 2004, when she was the editor-in-chief for Vogue Paris... so it's fascinating to see what Kal Ruttenstein and Carine Roitfeld had to say to each other. Now with all that said, let's take a closer look at this witty and detailed interview.

Lank-haired, kohl-eyed and reed thin, Carine Roitfeld is perhaps the most stylish woman in fashion. As the editor of French Vogue, as a collaborator with designers the stature of Tom Ford, as the creative czarina behind some of the most memorable fashion advertising of the last decade, Mademoiselle Roitfeld has had a profound influence on the glamour realm. Her extensive shoe collection alone is enough to inspire awe in fashionable women around the globe. Lunching with Kal Ruttenstein at the Ritz in Paris during Couture Week earlier this year, a conversational and candid Roitfeld reveals some of her less well-known traits: why she likes to sing in public, why she's mad about jodhpurs and why Kate Moss is her ideal woman.

Kal Ruttenstein: Carine, it's great to see you again. I haven't seen you in a couple of months. And here you are at the Ritz Hotel in a beautiful coat that contains a mixture of three different furs.

Carine Roitfeld: I'm sure it's very politically incorrect, you know, but….

KR: It's really great-looking, though.

CR: Thank you. But you know it's very cold today.

KR: It's freezing in Paris. It reminds me of the time you came to New York and you went with me to the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Awards. It was summer, and you wore a fur. No one was wearing furs in summer.

CR: That, too, was probably politically incorrect (laughs).

KR: You started a trend. You really did.

CR: No, I was following the show. It was Tom (Ford)'s show, I think. It was a Gucci outfit from spring. It's cold in spring, too.

KR: So — it was Russian New Year recently.

CR: Yes. Last week. And you know I'm half-Russian, so I love these moments, and I love to share them with people. I had dinner that night with Karl Lagerfeld, Lady Amanda Harlech, Hedi Slimane and Emmanuelle Seigner and my daughter. Karl took his glasses off for the whole dinner, which means it was very relaxed, you know? And suddenly, when a violinist came up behind him, he put his glasses back on (laughs). I don't know why. Maybe because if we go to a restaurant where there's a violinist playing a song I recognize, I sing along. They're songs I remember when I was a little girl. And I sing very badly, like a lost duck. After the dinner, Hedi sent me a note saying it was worth coming just to see the horrified expression on my daughter's face when I was singing. But why not? I won't die from being ridiculous for 10 minutes. It's such a pleasure. I just make sure to invite different people each year so I have a new audience. Maybe you can come come next year?

KR: If you invite me, I will come. My grandparents were Russian, so I have an affinity.

CR: OK

KR: I remember the first time I ever saw you. I noticed your feet before the rest of you, because you always wear incredible shoes. And I would ask people, "Who is this woman who's so chic?" And people would tell me, "It's Carine Roitfeld, the stylist, and Tom Ford's muse." But you had a career long before that. You were a model first, correct?

CR: Yes, but it was not my time. Maybe if I was a model today, I would be more successful. Maybe Mario Testino would discover me and I would have a great career (laughs). That wasn't the right moment for me, but it led me to fashion. I was a stylist for a long time before people came to know me as the muse of Tom Ford. But you know, life's like that. Sometimes you need someone else to make you known.

KR: Well, last year, all the models tried to look like you — your hair, your makeup, the look was Carine on the runway. 

CR: (Joking) And now I'm out of fashion?

KR: (Laughs) No!

CR: It's finished for me (laughs)!

KR: Your look sort of remains the same.

CR: Yeah, I don't change. I still wear the high shoes and very simple knee-length skirts, mostly black, in winter.

KR: But there was a moment last season...

CR: Even on the runway, no? Some girls looked a little like me, their eyes, their hair. The very dark makeup that looks like you haven't taken it off from the night before. It's funny, because some people think I'm very, well, like those naughty girls who go out all night to clubs. But that's not me at all. I'm a nice girl (laughs). I'm, uh, maybe, more sweet than people think I am. People think I'm tough, or that I have a rock star attitude, but maybe I'm just shy. I'm not the girl they think I am.

KR: I think you're shy. The last time I saw you, a few months ago, you told me you were going to start wearing tailored clothes which you hadn't worn in awhile, like suits.

CR: I just got one recently. (Giorgio) Armani gave me a suit that I love, and I wore it on a television program for an interview about Tom Ford. I don't want to wear Tom Ford clothes for an interview about Tom Ford, because I'm not totally dedicated to Tom, you know? So I wore my Armani suit with a very old pink tank top, and when I saw myself on TV I thought a suit is not so bad. It's great, because you can cross your legs the way you want. It changes your attitude, but still in high heels.

KR: With pants, in a pantsuit.

CR: Yes. I would love to keep wearing them. And maybe I'm going to push them in the magazine so designers make more. What I really like now are jodhpurs, because I got back from India, where I visited Jodhpur, the city of these trousers. I saw some polo matches, which were beautiful. In India you can have what you want made in a couple of hours. A tailor came to my hotel and took my measurements like they do in Milan. In this case I got my trousers three hours later, one black pair, one beige. They're very tight, tight, tight under the knee and then a little wide, and I think they're very sexy. I love them.

KR: Will you wear them this week?

CR: It's a bit cold, maybe later in the season.

KR: What kind of shoes do you wear with jodhpurs?

CR: High heels.

KR: Of course.

CR: It's a bit like what Tom Ford did for (Yves) Saint Laurent, a bit masculine, a bit feminine.

KR: Let's talk about your magazine. French Vogue has an amazing look to it since you've been there. It gets stronger every season. In America, we all loved the Catherine Deneuve issue.

CR: It was a good one. I told you how I like traditions; well, French Vogue has traditions, such as inviting a special guest to edit the Christmas issue. It was stopped for quite a few years. In the past we had some great people, like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Françoise Sagan, the Dalai Lama and Roman Polanski. So I wanted to continue that tradition. Everyone has something to say about Catherine Deneuve. Everyone is still dreaming about her, you know. And in front of the camera, she's astonishing. In the shoots, she likes to play a role. People seemed to really like the issue.

KR: Where do you stand on the idea of celebrities versus models on the cover of French Vogue?

CR: It's been a very long time, maybe more than ten years, since we put a celebrity on the cover of French Vogue. And last August we put (actress) Sophie Marceau on the cover, and it was great for sales. But there are not so many celebrities in France that we think would be great for the magazine. We've shot Emmanuelle Seigner for the cover, and Catherine Deneuve, and now we are going to have some models. I don't want to be like American Bazaar, with celebrities every month, because we are a fashion magazine, but sometimes, it's great. We are very picky (laughs). She has to be beautiful and charismatic.

KR: Talk about your collaboration with Fabien Baron on French Vogue.

CR: The day I got the job, three years ago, I called him to come on board as creative director. But it was too complicated for him to work as a consultant for us and live in New York. I waited for two years and called him again, and this time he said yes. I was so happy, because he's the best. He has a chic attitude. I don't want to sound pretentious, but if you say a magazine is like a ring or a beautiful jewel, he makes the perfect box to put it in. He makes everything seem more spectacular. He understands our culture, which is very important. And he's easy to work with. He loves life, he loves to eat, he's simple. The day he came to the magazine, he invited the art staff to have lunch with him. I think he's very generous. And I like that.

KR: As an editor, you have had a great influence on fashion. Not only on designers, but on the readers of the magazine who try to emulate your look. You are your reader.

CR: You know why? Because I have a very simple look. It's easy to copy in a way because it's not so "fashion." I think it's more about having an attitude, a feminine attitude, rather than buying a total look. Everyone owns a skirt, but when you add high heels, your attitude changes, even the way you're talking to someone when you're sitting, it's totally different. And you are tougher, more feminine, and I think that's it. My clothes haven't changed much, but maybe my attitude has changed. It's more relaxed, very French, very Parisian, you know?

KR: Yes. But it's not as easy as you think to emulate the look.

CR: They don't put the hair in the face, no? They try, but they pull it back. This is my protection. Sometimes when I have no hair in my face, I feel completely nude. It's a strange feeling, you know?

KR: Do you think there's a big difference between the French look, the American look and the Milanese look?

CR: Yes. Totally different. I think Milanese is very... rich. They want to show off. So it's not just rich — they love to show the furs, the jewels, they put on too much makeup. But it's so womanly, in a way. I like that. It's good for them. When the Milanese woman crosses the street, all the cars stop to let her cross. The American woman is more low-profile but more self-confident and very sharp. The French woman is more laissez-aller, more bohemian and spontaneous and takes more risks. You can learn to avoid bad taste, but you can never learn good taste and chic. It comes naturally.

KR: You're right about that!

CR: You can learn not to make errors, the way you put your clothes, together, but to create something special is very difficult. Kate Moss — she's great. She's my idol, you know. Everyone wants to be like her, you know? Even if you don't like a look on the catwalk, when you see it on her, you want it. She's magic, because she has a way to transform things. She's the chicest model. And for us in France, even though she's English, she's the one. And now, I think after almost 15 years, she's still modeling, and she's still amazing. She is on our March cover.

KR: Can't wait to see it.

CR: French people love Kate, she sells. She's not too slick, she seems clever, and she has the je ne sais quois of Marilyn Monroe. Sometimes we both wear the same clothes — which means I, too, must have good taste occasionally (laughs).

This was such a great way to end the conversation and I must admit I think this may be one of my favorite Carine Roitfeld interviews, ever. Kal Ruttenstein asked such comprehensive questions and I love how in-depth and personal this interview was. I don't know why, but I feel like Carine Roitfeld is still the same person as she was in 2004, despite the fact that she has moved on to CR Fashion Book and is no longer the current editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. It really feels like her drive and passion for style is never ending and I feel like after reading this interview again and seeing Mademoiselle C it all completely makes sense on what a visionary she is. It's always fascinating to get a glimpse inside someone's creative process and I think Kal Ruttenstein did such an excellent job at capturing that with this interview. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this one, as much as I did!

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Carine Roitfeld photos courtesy of lefigaro.fr, Kal Ruttenstein interview and images © 2005 Bloomingdale's. All Rights Reserved.

vendredi
janv.312014

Cathy Horyn On Carine Roitfeld

The fashion world has suffered a loss today with the announcement that Cathy Horyn will no longer be writing for The New York Times. At this time, I am inspired to reflect on Cathy Horyn's contribution to Irreverent, her eloquent account of meeting Carine Roitfeld for drinks at the Ritz. Adieu, Cathy, bonne chance !

Extract from Carine Roitfeld: Irreverent
By Cathy Horyn

Not surprisingly, given the way things linked and dovetailed in the '80s, before digital links made such connections instant and artificial, Carine Roitfeld was also observing Carlyne (Cerf de Dudzeele), and as well Nicole Crassat, the legendary fashion editor of French Elle, for which Carine, a former model, offered short freelance pieces. "I learned a lot from these two women," Carine tells me over a drink at the Ritz bar. "From Nicole, I learned about a sense of femininity, like putting a black bra under a white shirt. With Carlyne, it was a bit more aggressive — military clothes with gold shoes." As she speaks, her black-rimmed eyes sparkle behind a protective blind of tousled, shoulder-length hair that, along with high heels and narrow skirts, is her distinctive style trademark. 

Sitting straight-back, her long arms sheathed in a black sweater that leaves visible the hollow of her neck, she nurses a glass of vodka she ordered with relish an hour before. I notice several men glancing at her and one, clearly working on a fantasy, calls from his nearby table, "What are you two girls talking about?" And Carine, instead of being wary, flicks her head and in a sweet voice murmurs, "We're just having fun." Then, as the man struggles in confusion, his lips forming the obscene words he thought he has heard, she turns away, releasing him.

In person, in the picture she creates, Carine is not afraid to be audaciously sophisticated and sexual, if politely unavailable. She understands that the roots of all fashion are snobbish, expensive, erotic, and that it depends on a landscape of difficult women — instinctively feminine and cultivated, but not overly educated — to convince the rest of us to ignore our better judgment and play along. Viewed critically, Carine's whippet-thin woman in a tight skirt and stilettos, her impeccable bourgeois surface broken by tumbling hair and a cigarette in her hand rather than a purse, seems a throwback to a chauvinistic and decadent time. And this creature arrived on the fashion scene at a moment, in the '90s, when French cultural influence was on the wane. Yet, viewed up close, Carine was creating a character based on her own provocative personality. It took a certain daring to turn away from the romantic conventions of editorial shoots — beautiful though they may be, with disguises and casts of eccentrics — and look inward, though seldom more than skin deep. "I think I'm very good with nothing," Carine says of her styling methods. This was a useful skill to have, especially at the beginning of her career, when she and Mario Testino, with whom she worked most often, didn't have big budgets for shoots and were forced to rely on Carine's wits: "She's biting her nails, she's pulling the T-shirt under her skirt, she's kissing someone, she's holding a little girl by the hand, she's crossing her legs," as she says of her character. 

Of course, this nail-biting, décolletage-plunging, largely submissive view of woman was also disturbing. Whether or not Carine foresaw the hedonistic fashion of the late '90s, she was definitely one of its principal architects. 

Like many people, I first heard of Carine in conjunction with Tom Ford and Gucci. This was in 1999 — already late into Ford's stunning turnaround of the Italian label, but I had spent a number of years away from the collections writing about other matters, and when I went back to Milan, I must admit I was shocked by what I saw. Ford had indeed created a modern primitive, operating on her senses (and, if need be, on all fours). And, I can say now, I didn't sufficiently appreciate what he and Carine were doing at Gucci (and later at Saint Laurent too), perhaps because it was all happening in front of my eyes. But he and Carine created a genuine archetype; not a concoction from a mood board, but a real woman who in every polished corpuscle, mean step, and lipsticked mouth, conveyed a world made neurotic and unstable by vast amounts of money, much of it from Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The fashion world had changed since the early '90s — it felt less civilized, for sure — but what of it? It pulsed with new creativity, new energy. And it delivered us, for better or worse, into the era of global brands. 

Carine remained an enigma to me for several years — it's funny, I retain a vivid memory of her coming into the Vanity Fair Oscar party, around 2002, wearing a leopard-print Alaïa dress that covered the parts of her body that were necessary and thinking she had all the actresses beat. By then the editor-in-chief of French Vogue, she was a woman in her mid-forties. Within a few years, the street photographers and bloggers gathering in force outside the shows in Paris had discovered Carine (along with Anna Wintour and Franca Sozzani) and I used to imagine thousands of snaps of Carine — in some incredible fur coat or mad pair of sandals, hair in her face — gathering in archives in Japan, waiting for the day when a contemporary artist sees what our numbed minds were not yet ready to grasp. 

I began this essay about a contemporary icon by circling back to the '80s. This is perhaps the perverse habit of my generation, to see things as a continuum, events and people dovetailing together; it's how we make sense of things. For me, when I set out to write about fashion, it was important that I learn. The sittings editors — Carlyne, of course, during my first forays into fashion and Grace Coddington at Vogue, and then Carine in more recent years — had a visual intelligence that I admired but knew I would never master. Still, the point is to learn, and I can say that all these women, and many more besides, have been great teachers. And despite the sometimes discouraging realities of the fashion business, young people have a tremendous readiness to learn. I hope this book about the very individual work of Carine Roitfeld answers some of their questions.

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Cathy Horyn and Carine Roitfeld photographs courtesy of Fashion Spot

mercredi
janv.292014

Pre-Order Mademoiselle C DVD

If, like me, you are still waiting to see the film Mademoiselle C about Carine Roitfeld and the making of her CR Fashion Book, relief is on the way… the Mademoiselle C DVD releases on 11 March 2014! If you pre-order your copy now on Amazon, you are guaranteed to receive Mademoiselle C the day it comes out. I know how I will be spending 93 minutes of my birthday…. While we wait, be sure to enjoy the impressions of Mademoiselle C shared by Dara Block and Jascmeen Bush or my interview with the director of the film, Fabien Constant. 

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Carine Roitfeld Mademoiselle C DVD Cover © 2013 Cohen Media. Carine Roitfeld photo courtesy of instagram.com/helenatejedor.

mercredi
janv.222014

Julia Restoin-Roitfeld For Eddie Borgo Fall/Winter 2013

Julia Restoin-Roitfeld For Eddie Borgo
By Montse Ocejo

When I hear the word "elegant," all of these beautiful images of ethereal women come to mind, Anouck Aimée, Romy Schneider, Françoise Hardy, with their magical eyes and mysterious airs, and, of course, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld — she is today's iconic image of French magic.

For his Fall/Winter campaign, Eddie Borgo selected Julia Restoin-Roitfeld; as the essence of his work as a jewelry designer is punk, strong and luxurious, and his Winter collection 2013 is really magical with dark tones, Julia perfectly fits this look. The results of this campaign are beyond elegant. With her hair in a chignon and a leather skirt, Julia looks stunning as she models the pieces of the collection.

Eddie Borgo's collection has beautiful scarab onyx necklaces, silver bracelets with jade, and outstanding pieces like the horn pendant and the moon neckpiece, each piece is unique and magical, especially the mask. Julia looks like a black swan wearing this piece.

The look is completed with really heavy smoky eyes and nude lips. Julia's green eyes and dark hair make a perfect match with the green undertones of the photos. The photos are by Paul Maffi, styled by Keegan Singh, hair by Akki, makeup by Kristin Gallegos, and art direction by Prim Chuensumran.

For more details about Eddie Borgo's inspiration for the collection, check out this interview with Keegan Singh for Streeters.

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Julia Restoin-Roitfeld photograph © 2013 Eddie Borgo. All Rights Reserved.

mardi
janv.212014

Resort 2014: Carine Roitfeld’s Romeo And Juliet

Resort 2014: Carine Roitfeld’s Romeo and Juliet
By Sarra Salib

It’s no news by now that Carine Roitfeld is the Global Fashion Director for Harper’s Bazaar, and for the Resort 2014 Collection, she interpreted the most famous of Shakespeare’s work, Romeo and Juliet. Carine was undoubtedly inspired by the fact that there were “three major productions of Romeo and Juliet debuting for fall.”

The first thing I noticed about the editorial was the diversity of the cast. Carine’s strong point is her cultural awareness and always diverse cast — she demonstrates time and time again that love has no boundaries and does not distinguish between races. We all know that the prevalent theme of Romeo and Juliet was the “ancient grudge” of the Capulets and the Montagues, but in the editorial, she clearly shows that we are one big family bounded by love. The models’ ethnicities range from Japanese, Angolan, Brazilian, to African American. This is a definite statement of rebuttal to the idea that if we come from different families or background, then we cannot be together.

For this Resort 2014 story, Harper’s Bazaar gave us a bonus backstage video, which are always not long enough, but some of the most fun things to watch because they give you a glimpse of the action it takes to create these images. I believe one of the questions the models were asked was what does love mean to them, which I dare say is a rather difficult question to answer. I noticed that several of the answers were along the lines of waiting — “You should wait for love,” “It’s better to wait for love.” This made me happy because it reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Radiohead, "True Love Waits." In fact, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to it.

I found it ironic that one of Adriana Lima’s statements was “I don’t think you have to sacrifice much for love,” when in fact, the most important motif of Romeo and Juliet is sacrifice. But is that not what love is? It’s to sacrifice something — or in today’s terminology, to compromise — in order to be with the other person, in order to make it last for however long both parties want it to. It’s equivalent to saying “I would do anything for you,” or more befitting for Romeo and Juliet, “I would die for you.”

In terms of the editorial, kudos to Carine Roitfeld for modernizing Shakespeare’s tragedy; however, it did fail to capture the essence of Romeo and Juliet — the insurmountable passion, the “violent delights,” and the love that will have you comparing the object of your affection to the sun. Unfortunately, the passion is clearly missing here — the Juliets seem rather indifferent to their Romeos. I believe the backstage video reveals much more passion, understandably. Several moving images and voices will paint truer colors than one still shot could ever portray.

My favorite shot of the editorial is the one featuring the Dutch beauty Stef Van Der Laan and Phillip Witts. Their shot has the most natural chemistry, and it evokes the idea of being truly in love. Moreover, Witts’ Saint Laurent leather pants are what we call a statement. The opening image of the editorial featuring Adriana Lima and Tyson Ritter is also one of my favorites. Lima looks like the classic image of Juliet we all imagine when we think of Juliet — beautiful, innocent, yet knowing. In fact, she very much resembles Olivia Hussey in that shot. Ritter looked rather familiar to me, so I conducted a simple search and learned that he is indeed the lead singer of The All-American Rejects. I do not listen to them, but I am not surprised that Carine chose him to be one of the Romeos, because he does have the most beautiful cheekbones.

All in all, does the editorial make me immediately think of Romeo and Juliet when I see it? No. But it does convey a much more important message that love has no boundaries. I hope no one has to wait much for their true love, and most of all, I hope no one reading is out of love.

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Carine Roitfeld Romeo and Juliet images © 2013 Hearst Communications, Inc. Other images courtesy of deviantart.com All Rights Reserved.

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