Carine Roitfeld rose to international prominence as the co-author, along with Mario Testino and Tom Ford , of the defining fashion aesthetic of the 1990s — an overtly glamorous brand of sleek that teetered precariously between brazen sex and good taste. She is currently the editor of CR Fashion Book, the biannual magazine she launched in 2012. Before starting her own venture, Roitfeld spent 10 years as French Vogue’s editor-in-chief; under her leadership, the magazine was known for its artistic yet sensual aesthetic injected with attitude.
In addition to helming her own title, Roitfeld also acts as Harper’s Bazaar’s Global Fashion Director and launched a men's title in 2015 entitled CR Men's Book. In 2016, she and Hearst Magazines inked a deeper partnership, with the media giant taking on the task of monetising CR Fashion Book’s digital and social media content and syndicate it across Hearst’s digital portfolio.
The self-taught, Paris-raised daughter of a Russian film producer began her career as a model. She found her niche in publishing, and went on to work as a writer and stylist for French Elle where she spent 15 years. In 1990, she met Mario Testino on a shoot — it was the start of a collaboration that helped launch both partners' careers on an international scale.
While the Creative Director of Gucci, Tom Ford invited the rising photographer-stylist power duo to help him revive the sleepy Italian brand. The partnership resulted in ad campaigns and runway shows now considered landmarks, all styled by Roitfeld. As Ford’s muse, Roitfeld was instrumental in helping turn Gucci into a global superbrand. Moreover, the trio’s sex-filled, irreverent and controversial aesthetics dominated advertising for a decade from the late '90s onwards.
The success of her work as a stylist led to Roitfeld's appointment in 2001 as Editor-in-Chief of the French edition of Condé Nast's flagship fashion title, which she renamed Vogue Paris. Her 10-year tenure at the magazine was known for bold editorial choices, such as putting a black, bearded drag star on the cover in 2007. Along the way, Roitfeld became a global icon, photographed as much as the actresses and models she featured in her pages, and revered for her idiosyncratic sartorial sense — invariably involving towering heels, simple but ultra-fitted blazer-and-skirt ensembles, and the hair and makeup of a night owl.
After a decade at the helm, Roitfeld departed the title at the end of January 2011. “There was no drama when I left,” she told BoF, speaking about her split from Vogue publisher Condé Nast. “No doors were slammed. It was a cordial conversation in which there was a mutual agreement that it was a good moment to leave.” After her departure she turned to styling — her roster of clients reads like a roll call of fashion’s most prestigious brands, including Louis Vuitton , Dior and Chanel — and, at the end of the year, she confirmed the rumours that she was working on her own magazine. CR Fashion Book went on to launch the following year, backed by Stephen Gan ’s Fashion Media Group.
In 2012, she also took up the role of Global Fashion Director of Hearst-owned Harper’s Bazaar. In November 2016, Roitfeld deepened her partnership with American media conglomerate following the end of CR Fashion Book's publishing agreement with launch partner Gan. Hearst now hosts CRFashionBook.com on its publishing platform, MediaOS, and oversees its distribution and digital advertising.
In 2018, CR Fashion Book launched its first international edition CR Fashion Book Japan. The following year, Roitfeld debuted her eponymous line of perfumes, Carine Roitfeld Parfums — a collection of seven genderless fragrances called 7 lovers — and launched CR Runway in collaboration with Luisa Via Roma in Florence on June 13, 2019, which featured a performance by Lenny Kravitz. In June 2019, On June 3, the Council of Fashion Designers of America recognised her with the CFDA Founder's Prize.
Roitfeld and partner Christian Restoin have been together for three decades; the couple have two grown children and one grandchild. Her son Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld is her business partner and heir apparent, helping his mother cement her name as a brand. She told BoF in 2019, “Without Vladimir, all these wouldn’t exist. Vladimir understood before me that my name has a value. That we have to protect it no matter what, with the positioning of a luxury brand,”
The editor was also the star of 2013 documentary, Mademoiselle C.