I’m not a big believer in IDOLATRY, especially when it comes to the sphere of fashion. Many people are raised on platforms that have epic connotations–as if the ability to pair the right shirt with the right pant is a holy faculty given to the mere few. I admire stylish people and find them fascinating myself, but I don’t believe they’re deserving of near-worship. Ditto celebrities at large.
With that said, I’m a sucker for Miss Roitfeld–Carine, to be exact, though her daughter comes close by association. When I was working at Harper’s Bazaar, I opened the bathroom door one day to find her staring straight at me, doing my best to play it cool and act unfazed. But fazed I definitely was. She’s no deity, but she’s a superstar with good reason…having broken numerous fashion boundaries with her styling choices and continuing to push buttons with her newest project, CR Fashion Book.
In honor of my not-quite-an-idol, here are some choice quotes from a recent Guardian interview with her (sidenote: the piece is hilarious in that the language used to describe her is so heightened and extravagant, which circles back to my point about the oft-ridiculousness of treating creative folk like they’re akin to saints):
“We work seriously but don’t take ourselves seriously. This is important in fashion. It’s not all a business, it’s a dream.”
“Sometimes today in fashion the dream is lost,” she sighs, discussing the pressures that brands are under to make “It bags”, “It shoes”. “For some the dream is broken. Designers are artists – you see people like McQueen, and you understand how difficult it can be if you aren’t strong, if you don’t have support.”
“All these young people give great energy to the photo shoots. They keep me young.”
“My talent, maybe, is to push people in other directions. To discover themselves.”
Of her partner Christian, she says: “He’s always behind me. He gives me my best ideas. And he’s good at telling me the truth. When you get a bit well known you always look gorgeous, your ideas are always genius – he tells me when I look horrible, when I make a mistake.”
“Becoming a grandmother brought me back to the things I forgot to love. Nature. Playing. Seeing animals. A new way of looking. A rejuvenation. A cycle of life – things come back to you. The details.”
“When you work in fashion it can be a bit superficial, about clothes and beauty. It’s not the real world. It’s important to let it [the real world] back in, to appreciate it again. It is so easy to forget when you’re in your golden cage. These important things in life. You are less selfish than you might become in this world of fashion.”
“Sometimes you become what people think you are.”
“I am the observatrice – I always keep looking. Not judging.”
“It’s fun to play with fashion because it is a fantasy. Each morning you dress to become a different woman. Fashion helps.”
“To make things for the first time keeps you young.”
On Mademoiselle C, the just-released documentary about her: “I hope in Mademoiselle C people don’t think I’m too ‘me me me’. I hope it shows that fashion can be a nice world, if a bit crazy. I hope it shows you can be a mother in fashion, and that friendships are possible.”