I am happy to introduce another winning essay from our The Little Black Jacket contest — “Relating To Carine Roitfeld” by Jessica Eritou. She is truly inspired by Carine Roitfeld: she finds the motivation to pursue dreams that she once thought unattainable by emulating Carine's kinder and gentler approach to fashion. Many thanks, Jessica, for sharing your passion!
Relating To Carine Roitfeld
By Jessica Eritou
I find fashion intimidating. It is intimidating from the notion of if you have taste or if you do not — you are born with or without it. Carine Roitfeld helped me ease into the fashion world, making it not such a scary place after all.
When I was much younger, I would look up to older girls in awe of what they would wear and try to emulate it similarly with the hand-me-downs sent from my cousins. Usually they were elasticized denim leggings or crewneck sweaters. I dreamed of the day my Nike tracksuits would be as cool as the girls in the upper grades wearing Club Monaco sweatshirts.
Now I do merchandising at one of Canada's higher end retailers while I am working on my degree to later work in the industry. But at the beginning of this, I thought this was as far as I could get and I would never dream of meeting anyone who is anyone.
Being from Canada, fashion was never considered important or emulated yet I had the urge to be a part of it. Thankfully I could escape with Fashion Television in the afternoons and watch Jeanne Beker go backstage at Gucci to see Tom, or congratulate John at Dior (which I could never relate to), or thank Marc (back in his Coke bottle glasses days) for a great collection. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a part of the fashion world, but it seemed so exclusive and inaccessible. Everything looked to be extravagant and deemed “cold” like Anna Wintour's alleged personality.
Before I could never relate to the cold glares coming from the first row at fashion shows. Fashion to me is not something that you should hide with your emotions. It is an outlet. It is freedom to show your thoughts, ideas, and imagination. I think the giddiest I have been was when I saw Carine at the latest Dior show (being a fan of Raf since I was 16 or so and he was at Jil Sander).
It was not until I discovered Carine Roitfeld that I felt I could be part of the fashion world. Carine's effortless and refined style was relatable to me. I could connect with someone with such a prestigious career who does not look like the catwalks of Galliano-era Dior, or McQueen at McQueen. Her maximal minimalist style was what I found so endearing in the first place. Here is her sweet, genuine, charming, and gracious personality which is still chic and can still do a great job styling and being an editor at Vogue (at the time). In her shoots or her campaigns, I can always connect with her ideas, her impressions, and her overall aesthetic which keeps me motivated to become even better at my current job in merchandising which funds all of my schooling. Because of Carine, I continue my path to apply to graduate studies in fashion in hopes of styling and journalism.
Carine Roitfeld photograph courtesy of Fashion Spot.