Fashion icon Carine Roitfeld has gained global recognition, first as editor in chief of French Vogue and later in her post-Vogue incarnation as head of CR Fashion Book, her namesake magazine. Now her eyes are set on the future as she launches her very first collection of fragrances, prepares for CR Fashion Book's first-ever runway show in Florence and unveils her latest collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld.
You recently celebrated the launch of your perfume collection with a pop-up here in New York. The first 200 fans who visited the pop-up were also gifted a Yeezy t-shirt. You've collaborated with Kanye West and even put Kim Kardashian on the cover of CR Fashion Book. What is he like to work with?
CAROLINE ROITFELD: I think Kanye is a genius musician. I met him through Ricardo [Tisci], and Kanye introduced me to Kim. After I put her on the cover of CR Fashion Book, we became friends. I remember when he showed in Paris, I was not so sure. After, he found his thing. It's not easy what he's doing.
What do you make of Kanye's style?
CR: What he did at the beginning in Paris, I don't think it was his style. I think he was trying different things. What impressed me was his sense of couture fashion, much better than mine. I think he found his thing and where his talent is supposed to be. I think he's the best at what he's doing with Yeezy. Everyone is trying to copy him now.
You've been quite the trendsetter yourself: you just launched your first fragrance collection, CR Fashion Book's second international issue just came out and, in January, it was announced that you would collaborate with Karl Lagerfeld on a capsule collection.
CR: Yes, and I just finished the capsule collection! And now, for three seasons, I've been working with his personal brand, not as a designer but to keep the legacy of Karl in his own brand. I want to make sure it looks like Karl because I knew him so well.
You also have CR Fashion Book's first-ever runway show coming up.
CR: It's huge. It will be in Florence. The first one is always difficult because you have to tell people exactly what it is going to be. I learned this from Karl. "Everything you're doing, Madame Roitfeld," he would say, because he always called me Madame Roitfeld, "has to be for the first time." So I said "Okay," and he believed it would be a success. It will be very new. It will be the first multi-brand runway. It's a special production online.
Corey Gambling, Kris Jenner and Tommy and Dee Hilfiger made an appearance at Carine Roitfeld's "7 Lovers" fragrance launch party.
What did you make of Chanel's 2020 Resort Collection, the first post-Karl runway?
CR: I think it was a very emotional day for me like it was for everyone who knew Karl. Honestly, I think Virginie [Viard] did great work. It's difficult to follow Karl. She started with the core of Chanel, with its DNA, but did it her own way. It was very cool. It was interesting to see the Cruise collection, but now I'm very interested in seeing the haute couture.
Are there things that are currently grabbing your attention in the world of fashion?
CR: I'm never bored of fashion, but it's new for me to wear colors. I still love fashion, but not on me.
CR: I've found what suits me and I don't follow fashion anymore. The outfit I was wearing the other day at my perfume launch party was very me. I was wearing a Tom Ford outfit: a tight skirt, a transparent lace t-shirt, a tight jacket.
Is there anything you haven't done that you'd still like to accomplish?
CR: I have to appreciate everything I am already doing, and focus on making each one a success. The perfume was a dream come true. I was like a bride on her wedding day when it came out. And so many friends came out to the launch party: Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, Kris Jenner, Kim Jones, Bella Hadid. It meant a lot to me.
Photography by: Photography by Matteo Prandoni /BFA