Carine Roitfeld is the living incarnation of modish Parisienne déshabillé. As editor of Vogue Paris, her uniform of fitted, ultra chic black tailoring, worn with smudged kohl and an air of danger, was the perfect foil to her American counterpart’s refined respectability. Roitfeld’s artistic yet sensual Vogue Paris was filled with attitude. “I've used a lot of cigarettes, a lot of sexy pictures, a lot of naked girls,” she told Refinary 29.
Roitfeld who grew up in a “very bourgeois” household in Paris, began her career as a model although, she told American Vogue, “I wasn’t a star, I was just booked for junior magazines.”
Roitfeld eventually became a writer and a respected stylist for French Elle, although she confessed to Vogue Paris, "I was not the best stylist when I worked for 15 years for French Elle, but certainly when I met Mario Testino something happened. The right person for me at the right time.”
Roitfeld and Testino met at a shoot in 1990, in which Roitfeld’s daughter appeared as a baby. It was a meeting that would launch both of their careers into the stratosphere, through their collaborations for American and French Vogue and their work with Tom Ford at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Ford, Testino and Roitfeld’s sex-filled, irreverent and controversial aesthetics dominated advertising for a decade from the late nineties onwards.
Roitfeld was approached by Condé Nast's international chairman Jonathan Newhouse to edit Vogue Paris in 2001. Roitfeld departed after a decade at Vogue Paris to concentrate on personal projects, leaving the magazine at the end of January 2011.
At the end of 2011 she confirmed the rumours that she was working on her own magazine, CR Fashion Book, saying, "I will always be irreverent in my own way, but I will try to use new approaches. I will try to do something totally different now, because I don't want to get bored of myself or to bore my readers. So, if I learn something new today, I will use it. I have to reinvent myself."
Along with the CR Fashion Book, and starring in the recent accompanying documentary, Roitfeld is the global fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar. Roitfeld and partner Christian Restoin have been together for three decades; the couple have two grown children and one grandchild.