Carine Roitfeld, 57, was the editor in chief of the French edition of the fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue from 2001 to January 2011. She grew up in Paris with her Ukrainian film producer father and French mother. After a few years in modelling, Roitfeld worked as a fashion stylist for the magazine Elle and with the photographer Mario Testino. After working as a consultant alongside Tom Ford at Gucci and Yves Saint-Laurent, Roitfeld took over as the head of the French edition of Vogue, where she earned a reputation for provocative photography and became a star in the Paris fashion world. Roitfeld is also the mother of two grown children.
I have followed the career of Carine over the last 5 years, and every issue she produced of French Vogue was simply stunning. I also admire her personal style, her views of life and that’s why I wanted to share the best snippets of her exquisite article for Spiegel. In this very candid interview, fresh after her departure from Vogue, she opens up about her upcoming work, her views fashion and why a woman does not need a handbag:
“I believe in the Yves Saint Laurent woman who either has her hands in the pockets of her pantsuit or is holding her lover’s hand. She doesn’t need a bag.”
Seriously that is just inspiring. You can read the whole article online here.
On personal style:
Roitfeld: That’s right. This obsession with particular designers is somewhat strange. I think it’s the safest way for these customers to find their feet when they first discover the world of fashion. You can’t learn how to be elegant; you can only learn how to avoid mistakes. The rest is instinct. Elegance is about the way you cross your legs, not the label or the newest clothes from the latest collection.
Roitfeld: From a very early age, French women learn not to exaggerate. Yves Saint Laurent once said that the purpose of clothes is to make women more beautiful but that a coat must never attract more attention than the woman wearing it.
On the pressures of looking tall, slim and perfect:
Roitfeld: Well, during photo shoots, you come across these beautiful 16- or 18-year-old women who have perfect bodies and not a single wrinkle — but their pictures are retouched. Under these conditions, when you look in the mirror, you have to be happy with yourself, remain young at heart and keep that rock ‘n’ roll attitude. Otherwise, you won’t be able to deal with it.
On wearing high heels:
Roitfeld: I don’t go for a walk very often. I wear flat-soled shoes on vacation, but I also travel in high heels, which is why I’m regularly stopped by customs officials at the airport. Wearing high heels in an airplane is suspicious. Nobody else does that.
(I do that too, at airports you never know who you will meet, its a world stage. What if you get stuck in a particular country and they lose your bag?!)