The Italian magazine Panorama published an intriguing interview with Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld in which he candidly discusses his family, his life in New York, and his relationship with art. Grazie mille to Francesca Berti for her translation of the interview from Italian to English for more of us to enjoy.
Vladimir Roitfeld — Discovering new talent never goes out of fashion
Discover Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, 28 years old, son of Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris
He never laughs, even at the request of the photographer, but then he betrays a certain insecurity when he asks: “Did you expect a bigger office?” The office in question is that of Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, 28 years old, son of Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris and queen bee of fashion, and of the creative Christian Restoin. An apartment, yes, but on the Upper East Side of New York, the city in which he has lived for four years to discover artistic talents and promote them.
In his English there is no trace of the accent of his mother tongue, French. He attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he studied film and worked for two years as an assistant producer. “But I was disappointed by that world when I understood that everything was moving just for money.” Vladimir and the Italian socialite and stylist Giovanna Battaglia as a couple represent the new generation of frequently photographed offspring (their first kiss, in 2009, made the rounds of fashion blogs around the world). Vladimir drinks American coffee without sugar in a paper cup sitting at a glass desk on which he has only a Mac laptop, a box of Kleenex, and some art magazines. When he speaks he keeps his fingers crossed, as if there he would find the concentration. And the image of being a bit cold that he wants to portray of himself is betrayed by a spontaneous kindness.
The best tip that has been given to you by your family?
Every day I hear my father on the telephone and he repeats to me as a mantra: you have to work hard to succeed.
You were born already lucky.
My father says this also: with the right friendships you may have a free pass to arrive first, but if you make a mistake you will never have a second opportunity.
Why did you choose art and not fashion?
If you grow up in a environment, in the end you know it so well that you can have two reactions: keep on living in it or take other paths. I chose the second way.
Do you get on well with your mother?
Today, yes, but it has not always been so. I was a bit rebellious, then I understood that it is important to listen to those who have more experience. Maybe we have the same character, so I speak more with my father.
The choice that changed your life?
Coming to live in New York. Here things happen that don’t happen elsewhere. In Europe, art is for an elite that does not take seriously the young art dealer, no matter the effort you make. Here, if you put it into play, you can make it. And, believe me, my family is not involved.
What do you like most about your job?
The relationship of confidence with the artist. If I believe in the project, I give my all for him. Money is the last thing.
No, believe me, I am practical. In London, if you enter a gallery and you have little money, they do not consider you. And they are wrong. I want to bring art to more possible houses, also to those of young people with less money but that appreciate it. If I cared only about money, I would choose other ways. But, well, you don’t know how beautiful it is to come back home at night.
Translation from Italian to English by Francesca Berti
Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld photograph © 2012 Arnoldo Mondadori Editore Spa. All Rights Reserved.