Carine Roitfeld: Fashion Stylist Extraordinaire

French style is more the way you mix the clothes and how you move, how you open your bag, how you cross your legs-just little things that make a difference,” Carine Roitfeld told Jessica Booth in “14 fashion ‘faux pas’ Americans make that French women don’t.”

Carine Roitfeld

Je-taime French Chic:

I have always had a thing for the way French women dress, to the point that it’s inspired a few school projects featuring Gabrielle Coco” Chanel, during my undergraduate days as a Fashion Merchandising major at CSULA, to a blog “Homage to a French Girl” I wrote for a classmate I met in a Fashion Illustration class I took one summer at “Santa Monica College”.

Soignee and louche, my friend, a vision in an oversized white men’s button-down shirt, wide-legged navy-blue pants and white sneakers she personified the “effortless, luxurious, naturalistic” chic her fellow fashionistas are known and envied for.

French style is more the way you mix the clothes and how you move, how you open your bag, how you cross your legs-just little things that make a difference,” Carine Roitfeld told Jessica Booth in “14 fashion ‘faux pas’ Americans make that French women don’t.” “With French women, you first see the women and then you see the clothes. In France, you cannot see what labels we are wearing. It is very snobby.”

Carine Roitfeld in Vogue

Carine Roitfeld’s Personal Biography:

Born on September 19, 1954 Carine Roitfeld is a Parisian resident who’s been in the fashion game ever since she was discovered as a model at 18. A habituĂ© of “junior magazines” she parlayed her talents into writing and styling for French Elle. Her formal education includes graduation from Parson’s School of Design in New York City and her professional training, as a stylist, includes a fruitful collaboration with Italian photographer Mario Testino. Their partnership led to advertising gigs and “shoots for American and French Vogue.” Her classic, but edgy style, attracted the attention of Tom Ford, when he designed for Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent, whom both subsequently hired her as a consultant/muse for their brands.

Fashion Illustration of Carine Roitfeld (“The Cut”)

One of the 50 best-dressed over 50.

The Guardian, March 2013 issue

From 2001 to 2011 she was the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris and was named “one of the 50 best-dressed over 50” by The Guardian in their March 2013 issue. Uniqlo also selected her as their style mascot for “Fall/Winter 2016” creating a line that mirrored her penchant for leopard prints, pencil skirts and structured suiting.

“It’s very me,” Roitfeld told Matthew Schneier in The New York Times article Carine Roitfeld Is Her Own Muse. “To have bad taste in a good way, it’s very French.” Editorially, she became “global fashion director for Harper’s Bazaar in 2012″ and created her own magazine, CR Fashion Book which she recently left.

Photographers and Client List:

Besides Mario Testino, Roitfeld has worked with a number of photographers for Harper’s Bazaar-Anthony Maule for the Carine Roitfeld Astrology shoot, and Sebastian Faena for her Unmistakable, Unforgettable, Always In Fashion Icons July 2014 shoot

According to WWD, in the article EXCLUSIVE: Karl Lagerfeld Taps Carine Roitfeld for His Brand she was scheduled to partner Lagerfeld in September 2019 and kick off The Edit by Carine Roitfeld, based on “her own selection of essential pieces from his fall 2019 collection.” Widely renowned for her distinctive looks her collaborations reflect that aspect of her persona as much as her styling chops. She uses clothing and accessories to display who she is to the world, and through her own distinct filter her culture and lifestyle are equally represented.

The Carine Roitfeld Look:

Carine Roitfeld’s classically coordinated style of sexy blouses, structured blazers, pencil skirts and sky-high heels is both retro and modern because while the combination bears the traditional markings of the 1950s female, it still has an air of modern hard-core street and ’70s Klute thrown in as well.

“My style is very simple but very specific. Everything is about proportion and silhouette,” she told Alexandra Fullerton in the article Carine Roitfeld reveals the fashion lessons that have helped her create her signature style. When I examined the various shoots, layouts and ads she’s done throughout her career, the styling elements that inspired me the most are the same ones that inspired me when I examined her personal style photos online. Distinctive, due to their astute physical perspective and singular focus, the fact that her work is an extension of herself is both powerful and immensely creative.

Works Cited:

Booth, Jessica. “14 fashion ‘faux pas’ that Americans make that French women don’t”,

Schneier, Matthew. “Carine Roitfeld Is Her Muse”. The New York Times, Oct. 2, 2015.

Socha, Miles. “EXCLUSIVE: Karl Lagerfeld Taps Carine Roitfeld for His Brand”. WWD, Jan. 30, 2019.

Fullerton, Alexandra. “Carine Roitfeld reveals the fashion lessons that have helped her create her signature style”.

Recognizing Strong Story Hooks

Before I commit myself to a fashion article I do three things: (1) assess the title, (2) study the adjoining visuals, and (3) peruse the lede. From there I can tell whether it’s worth my time or not. Unusual phrasing and quotes often hold me, as does a new twist on an old subject. With the competition from books, the internet and T.V., I appreciate a writer who considers these obstacles when writing.

Eliza Douglas, Model

Balenciaga F/W 2016-2017

Compelling Articles:

Two articles that used the “examples of synergy” angle and really mesmerized me were Paint It Black by Mark Giudicci (Vogue, September 2017) and Heart and Sole by Lynn Yeager (Vogue, September 2017). In the first one it begins like a typical art piece, identifying “artist/model” Eliza Douglas as a painter then ends with her revelations about being a Balenciaga model. Somehow, Giudicci ties her two worlds together, by explaining it’s her personal style, at 30, that caught Lotta Volkova’s attention, not her beauty. A surprising, but refreshing twist, for the fashion industry.

Manolo Blahnik shoe

Shoe Story:

Reversing the synergy tactic, but still revealing the tale of an older, but influential mover, Yeager unveils Manolo Blahnik’s life and career as deftly as the “biodoc” does he’s doing with director Michael Roberts. Art again is the liaison for this piece, but this time it’s fashion and film. One of the aspects I admired about these stories is their versatility to reach different types of readers.

Candace Bresler

Beautiful Body Image:

Body image is such a sensitive subject I was surprised how frankly it was discussed in Why I No Longer Care About Being Small by Candace Bresler (Stylewatch, September 2015), Game Changers by Kay Barron (Porter, Fall 2017), and Eye of the Beholder by Liz Hoggard (Porter, Winter 2017). Contrasting with Bresler’s “personal reflection” about her size, with actress Sophie Turner’s take on Hollywood about weight, and Hoggard’s discoveries about Louise-Dahl Wolfe’s photographic approach, I gained a new perspective regarding this issue.

Despite prevalent subjects in fashion journalism, about designers, runway shows, and trends, my passion for additional sidelines rules my reading choices. In the end, it’s the way the writer crafts a story and presents it to me, as a new reader, that holds my gaze.

The Singer Lorde: A Great Musical and Fashion Icon for Today

Wavy dark hair framing snow white skin, high cheekbones and carefully painted lips, the singer Lorde is a bohemian from another time. Is she an enchanted witch or fairy out of a magical forest? No and no. She’s a complicated songstress whose modern tunes about alienation, boredom and romance have impacted the world.

Personal Background:

Born in Takapuna, New Zealand on November 7, 1996 her original name is Ella Marija Lani Yelich O’Connor. “I changed it to Lorde because I was fascinated with royals and aristocracy,” she said. Her father, Van O’Connor, a civil engineer, and her mother, the Croatian poet Sonia Yelich raised her in a supportive environment. Later her early cultural influences would form her trademark. Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Etta James would teach her about pain and suffering, and Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger and other writers about literature. Journalistic and intensely personal her main strength as a lyricist is relating short stories within a song. Similar to another New Zealand writer, Katherine Mansfield, she isn’t afraid to be real.

Cultural Influencer:

In 2013, at 16, after she released her first album Pure Heroine, she was featured on Time magazine’s “list of most influential teens”. Her image became as renowned as her sound, and soon the admitted feminist, was being wooed by MAC Cosmetics and Vogue magazine. With MAC she collaborated on a mini line-a sultry plum lipstick. Pure Heroine, and an eyeliner, Rapidblack. (Naughton and Born, 2014)

Lorde’s Style:

Unswayed by trends she admitted to Vogue that “she liked pants, structured dresses, and other clothes that made her feel powerful.” (Burton, 2014) In 2017, with the release of her second album, Melodrama, she graduated from Comme des Garcons to Jacquemas and vintage Giorgio di Sant’Angelo. This transformation started in 2016, when she moved away from the all-black theme of her adolescence, towards a more colorful palette. One of the most fascinating things about Lorde is her ability to see colors upon hearing certain notes, because she suffers from “sound-to-color-synesthesia.” This disorder is really emphasized effectively in her video Green Room where the lighting changes with her emotions as she sings.

Joining the ranks of her icons, Stevie Nicks and Prince, she’s carrying on both a musical and style tradition, in her own unique way.

Works Cited:

Naughton, Julie and Born, May. “Lorde on Influences and Cosmetics.” WWD, May 21, 2004

Burton, Cinya. “Lorde on Fashion: My Style Icons Are David Bowie and Grace Jones.”, February 19, 2014