Carine Roitfeld interviewed by the FT

Following on from La Wintour’s cover and interview by WSJ, theFinancial Timesrecently interviewed Carine Roitfeld. I adore Carine and literally poured over the details. She comes across as the polar opposite of Anna Wintour – warm, friendly and genuine. There’s an overwhelming feeling that she’s enjoying her new-found freedom. Here are my highlights from the interview..

On drinking: “It will be around 8pm when I go home that I will have a little shot. It’s my Russian roots.” Roitfeld doesn’t like champagne, which is a “problem at fashion parties”, so before she goes out she will have a shot of vodka to ensure she arrives in a good mood.

On leaving Vogue Paris: “When I started I said I would not stay forever, a maximum of 10 years. You know, I could stay six months more but it’s good to leave when you are in the highest position, and I think I did a lot at Vogue.”

On that Tom Ford issue: “No, he [Conde Nast’s president] didn’t like it. Me, I like to push boundaries, I am irreverent, but he would prefer something softer, more mainstream. Maybe he was anxious about the future because magazine sales are going to be harder and harder.”

On Emmanuelle Alt: “We aren’t friends any more. I think it’s sad. When you give a lot of confidence in people and you don’t get it back you are a bit disappointed but it’s life. I move on.”

On her new job with Barneys: “They suggested, and I love this, ‘to celebrate me’ during September fashion week in New York.”

On Iggy Pop comparisons: “People always say, ‘You look like Iggy Pop…I don’t know if it’s the eyes or the hair, anyway, he has a great style.”

On being down to earth: “It’s funny, everything is so much easier when you do it yourself. [Having assistants speak to people on your behalf] takes you further away and I was very surprised to learn that a lot of people were scared of me because they thought that I was tough and mean, I am not mean at all, I am not tough at all.”

On the US Vogue rumours: “It’s the biggest compliment that I could edit the biggest fashion magazine on the planet but I am not totally bilingual; I am irreverent, which works in a small country like France but not a big one like America and it’s a big business magazine. To edit a magazine like American Vogue you have to play politics and she is like a first lady.”

On Fashion Week: “It’s less fun than it was 10 years ago. I liked the times when people were more crazy about fashion, they tried hard with the clothes they wore, they were so excited it was like the royal wedding – they could sleep outside the show. Some people are more interested in what stylists are wearing to the show than in the show itself.”

On the business of fashion: “There’s so much money involved and the designer has to produce a great show that will sell clothes but also keep the name of the brand high to sell the perfumes. Sometimes you can really feel the business behind the fashion show.”

On McQueen and Galliano: “Fashion is very tough and we shouldn’t forget that before designers were money-makers they were artists. Galliano was an artist, McQueen was an artist. These people are very fragile and can’t support this pressure.”

On fashion as a global industry: “It’s difficult to please a woman in Shanghai, Rio and Paris, and to design a jacket that will suit all three of them. It’s difficult for a brand to talk to a lot of people, to seduce all these new customers, and sometimes designers don’t have the shoulders for it.” She adds, “It’s good for business that you can buy Dior in Shanghai or Brazil. I would prefer to find something different from what’s in Paris, but it’s over – a dream – and you can’t go back now.”

Reena Rai

Reena Rai is a 30-something London-based fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger. She has been blogging for 10 years (!), previously at before launching her self-titled blog.



  1. Syed
    May 26, 2011 / 2:27 pm

    For some reason I have a mental image of her chilling at a small bar, whilst some major fashion party goes on down the road. I'd rather be in that small bar any day.

  2. Rhônya Holman
    May 27, 2011 / 11:25 pm

    Great questions with smart answers! Thanks for sharing this interview!Keep it up… Also super cool and interesting blog.Have a lovely weekend!

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