Monday, March 19, 2012

Style Maven: Carine Roitfeld

In my fashion, the Vogue woman is a woman who uses fashion to their advantage in the world. She uses clothes to supplement and propel her to the next level of her life. She expresses her importance through the solidarity of her stylistic invention. She allows her clothes to speak for her and say everything she needs to say to the world without even having to part her lips. A Vogue woman doesn't associate her style with just anything, but instinctively knows what is good for her, and has a good reason for why or why not a piece is good for them. Clothes represent her main medium of communicating with others in the world. In Paris, Carine Roitfeld, ex-Editor-in-Chief of Paris Vogue,  is the epitome of this definition. Watch the video to view a personified version of my definition below.

"She is completely the epitome of what a French elegant woman
that likes fashion is." ~ Mario Testino

W Magazine, October 2011
Photo Credits: [source]
The video shown is an exposé of Carine Roitfeld as she traveled France during Paris Couture season to prepare for a spread in the October 2011 issue of W Magazine, the end results of which you can view to the left. Carine Roitfeld was the Editor-in-Chief of Paris Vogue for ten years, from 2001 to January of 2011 [source]. In case you didn't know, before taking her position at Vogue, Carine Roitfeld was a successful stylist in the 70s and 80s beginning her career with ELLE magazine. She helped to pioneer the movement of overt sexiness in fashion in the 90's with Tom Ford and Mario Testino for Gucci, which gained her recognition from Jonathan Newhouse, the Chief Executive of Condé Nast International, who approached her about the position of Editor-in-Chief of Paris Vogue [source]. During her tenure she defined Parisian fashion by bringing a rise to the erotic chic aesthetic, exposing overtly sexy and unconventional pieces that keep the magazine in the highest of honors among the fashion crowd, despite it's low circulation. 

In my fashion, we can learn so much from Carine besides beauty. Roitfeld represents all the characteristics that goes into being beautiful and what it means to be a beautiful women. In fact, with her departure from Paris Vogue, she represents and important aspect of leaving an impression on those that you meet; knowing when to exit! In my research, Vogue doesn't have a very good history with hiring and firing their Editors-in-Chiefs (take the abrupt end to editors-in-chief, Grace Mirabella, and Diana Vreeland from American Vogue for instance). Roitfeld was wise, and decided to explore other avenues before anyone else could have a chance to tell her what her next move would be, although I would be surprised if that was her primary reason for leaving. I enjoy the fact that she has decided for herself that she was ready to move on from Vogue, and onto other endeavors, although she had no plans after her departure. Her choice reminds me of the most important aspect of embodying your own ideal; having a sense of self-possession. Simply knowing that you are in command of your own destiny is just that bit of confidence one needs to reminds themselves that in life, only you are in control of your destiny. 

Parisian women define "sexy". In my fashion, between the 'Big 4 Cities' of fashion they are the most edgy, dark, seductress, and artistic of the fashion capitals. This season from the runways, some of my designer favorites were Rick Owens and the Ann Demeulemeester shows in Paris, and the and I enjoy these fashions because of how much they make you think. At first glance you think to yourself, "Why would someone make that garment, let alone wear it?" Then at second glance you see that's it's not a particularly "grotesque" garment, in essence, but it simply has a distinct point of view, which makes you think further, "What is her point of view," which makes the women in the garment that much more interesting from other types of woman. You wonder, "What about this women gives her this confidence to wear something so mind boggling, but still show off her best assets?"

From what I have observed about the people who have worked for her and spoken about her character she is a very respected, and revered person, not just from her tenure at Paris Vogue, but because of her optimistic and open-minded outlook towards life. Viewing her in documentaries, and interviews, Carine is a very humble individual to be so strikingly beautiful, and chic. It has been noted that one of her most endearing qualities is her devotion to her family, which she describes herself as what keeps her down to earth [source]. Watching her interact with fans outside of the Paris shows, I found it very refreshing that she was having such a candid and frank conversation with a fashion enthusiast, especially about his intent for the autograph she gave him. Even though Parisian women are classified as being highly pretentious, Roitfeld seems to be void of such characteristics in her interactions with people. When I look at photos of her she is always radiant with a go-getter-hither-to energy. In the video "The Client", every time I saw her change into a new garment during her fittings, each one looks as though it would be a keeper, but Carine knows what works for her, and who she is, and what she stand for.

Carine Roitfeld makes it evident that she stands for fashion! One of my favorite quotes, exposes her genuine candor for fashion and desire to expose true beauty in a malevolent manner. She went on to say,  "I don't want to take the money out of the beauty of the picture, I don't want to change the paper of the magazine, I don't want to change the materials, but we can do it another way," speaking about frugality in fashion during the recession [source]. She has deep insights about fashion that all of us taste makers can learn from, as evident from this interview. I constantly read comments from her in interviews in which she gives credit where credit is due, and often belittles herself in the process, but not in an unconfident, unassured tone. She understands that everyone has a talent and she is apt to point out the contributions of others. I enjoy the fact that she wishes to use her influence to support new and upcoming designers. In "The Client" we see her going to Bouchra Jarrar Spring showing whose first show was for Fall 2011. In my fashion, her presence at any show means there is something to be looked at that show and is worth supporting. 

The greatest aspect of any leader is to know when to lead, when to follow, and when to support. Carine has demonstrated through her career that she knows when to follow something and ride it to her next destination, not based off of selfish gain, but because the moment calls for her to participate in certain peoples lives, or on certain projects, because the vibe of the moment felt "right", and its this mentality that's I personally admire so much about this "Vogue Woman". She understands that its all about knowing when enough is enough, which is something I feel is missing in our day an age.

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