Paris people
Paris people

Carine Roitfeld walking out on high heels

Everybody is excited in Paris about the news that Carine Roitfeld, editor in chief of French Vogue, has resigned. Everybody? Well, the fashion clique at least. And doesn't everyone want to be a part of it?

It was a surprise move, actually. Roitfeld, who has been at the head of the French Vogue since 2001, was one of the most influential editors in the fashion business. She was so very successful that nobody can really understand why she would quit. Just like that? Yes, just like that. Roitfeld, surprisingly, didn’t announce that she would join the competition. “I have been editor of the magazine for 10 years, I think it’s time to do something different,” was all she had to say.

The Anti-Anna

Something different? Hard to imagine: Roitfeld doing something other than fashion? Impossible.

There was always talk that she could be the new Anna Wintour and replace the latter as editor in chief of American Vogue. But it never happened. She might just being punishing Condé Nast for not having offered her a bigger career – the one she pretends she never wanted. Possible. But not probable.

Roitfeld always functioned by instinct. She does again now. French Vogue with her as chief editor quickly became the opposite of an American fashion magazine. It was not about making fashion wearable or accessible to its readers. On the contrary. Roitfeld showed models looking a bit like herself.

And readers where supposed to look like the models: skinny, glamorous, beautiful – or at least interesting. You don’t fit into that pattern? Well, than don’t buy Vogue. That’s why the French version has always stayed quite confidential with a distribution of just over 150 000 copies.

Unafraid of sex

Roitfeld is a fiftyish woman, a former model herself, still so skinny, if not to say anorexic, that on the red carpet she was always taken for the VIP and not for the journalist. It was often said that her ambition was to look like the subject of a Helmut Newton photograph. In a way, she does.

She is an edgy,  razor-sharp kind of person. Her eyes are always rimmed in kohl pencil. And then there are the clothes. How to describe them? Well, kind of unafraid of sex. Not sentimental, or romantic, or nostalgic. Nothing like that.

She is just always in high heels.

They say that she had a set of scales in her white-clean-zen office, one of the rare objects in her empty place. Roitfeld said once about her career as a stylist: “I made the girls look like me; it was an easy job.”

Paris & pills

Roitfeld is a true Parisian. She has lived her whole life in Paris. The rumour goes that she manages her life and her job mostly with pills. She often confessed to loving pills. Sleeping pills, a combination of anti-anxiety drugs, all this stuff that makes you function and keep going in the rat-race. “My doctor”, Roitfeld once confessed to the New York Magazine, “tells me that I am beginning to lose my vision because of the pills.”

Did Roitfeld just lose her vision? Or, again, does she just have her eye on something better?Photos:
Roitfeld the modell? Photo: AFP, Guiseppe Cacace