WOMAN ON MISSION
A new film captures BAZAAR’s global fashion director, Carine Roitfeld, as she forges a new path. By Sara Parker Bowles.
At its best, the fashion documentary can be a hugely illuminating and eminently watchable story, from Wim Wenders’s Notebook on Cities and Clothes in 1989, a beautiful take on the enigmatic Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, to the smart and sassy Isaac Mizrahi documentary Unzipped from 1995, through to 2009’s insightful The September Issue. The industry’s latest offering, Mademoiselle C, is a glimpse into the fabulous world of Carine Roitfeld, whose sky-high Alaïas, Anita Pallenberg eyes, and aesthetic monopoly on highly charged fashion shoots have ensured her status as the high priestess of style. The film charts her dramatic resignation and consequent departure, in 2011, from Condé Nast, publisher of French Vogue, to New York where she set up her own magazine, CR Fashion Book.
Follow her David-and-Goliath narrative (vulnerable lone female editor versus publishing behemoth) as the film explores some universal themes: self-doubt (“I know they are waiting for me to fail ... when I left Paris, I left my crown”), courage, graciousness, fair-weather friends, real friends, and foes. There are also beautiful clothes, eccentric characters (Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford), and lots of parties. Highlights include Roitfeld doing full splits (she’s 58) during a ballet lesson at her New York apartment, and Lagerfeld pushing a pram containing Roitfeld’s newborn grandchild Romy up and down the corridors of the Chanel atelier, quipping: “She’s cute, but she doesn’t say much.” Fashion gold. ‘Mademoiselle C’ is available on DVD.
Looks from Roitfeld’s March 2013 shoot for BAZAAR
Carine Roitfeld with Karl Lagerfeld at a charity event
With Lara Stone on a shoot for CR Fashion Book