Carine Roitfeld: she’s still Irreverent

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It was top of my most-wanted festive gift list and, as expected, Ms Roitfeld doesn’t disappoint. Those who expected Carine to rest on those proverbial laurels following her unexpected exit from French Vogue have been silenced, as she reaffirms her place in the fashion spotlight with the (fairly recent!) publication of ‘Irreverent’. Edited by Purple’s Oliver Zahm and Vogue Hommes creative director Alex Wiederin, the book features over 200 tear sheets, editorials and cover shots from the various magazines to which Roitfeld has contributed during her career. This visual history is interspersed with candid personal shots, hand-written annotations and Q&A pages from a veritable who’s who of fashion royalty (example: Lara Stone, ‘Hey Carine, how come you’re so cool? Carine, ‘I always keep my cool on the inside, even when there are storms all around me’)

‘Carine is not afraid to be audaciously sophisticated and sexual, if politely unavailable. She understands that the roots of all fashion are snobbish, expensive and erotic’, Cathy Horyn notes in her opening intro. Carine Roitfeld’s influence on fashion is first and foremost her own doing–the fruit of that edgy, chic, and audacious glamour that is hers and hers alone.’

There are plenty of the controversial, scandalous shoots that helped to make her name (a naked Crystal Renn in a red trench, a blood smeared Eva Herzigova in ‘The Butcher’ shot by Mario Testino for The Face, 1997). Whilst it’s tempting to see this as little more than a glossy coffee-table tome, the book reveals much about Roitfeld, and by extension, the inner workings of the fashion industry. Yes, Carine’s cool and edgy, but she’s not an annoying try-hard, and she’s surprisingly down-to-earth. The annotated mood-boards and the handwritten notes suggest the strength of the relationships Roitfeld has developed during her career, and there’s a prevailing sense that her work is a collaborative affair. It might be self-serving, but it’s certainly a lot of fun. With some glamorous images thrown in for good measure.

If you’re still not convinced Irreverent is for you, what other gems does Ms Roitfeld offer up?

Think about your lingerie first. ‘I think, “Today I’ll wear the lilac bra’ and the rest follows from there. I find that really pleasant’.

There’s no need to hoard clothes. ‘I don’t have the space…I give a lot to my daughter. She looks divine wearing my floral hippie dresses, I’m ecstatic!’

Sometimes even fashion editors can be surprising. ‘Slouchy sweatpants at home. Eating in bed in front of the TV, watching Damages’.

Family makes her happy. ‘Even though we are not married, Sisley has been my partner for thirty years and we still love each other’.

Buy Irreverent at amazon.co.uk.

Images via style.com

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