Skip to main content
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

The BoF Podcast: Carine Roitfeld’s Remarkable Fashion Career

The acclaimed stylist and editor, whose name has become synonymous with French style, talks to Imran Amed about how the industry has changed since her days at French Vogue, working with Karl Lagerfeld, becoming a brand and the importance of staying curious.
Carine Roitfeld | Photo: Hedi Slimane
The author has shared a Podcast.You will need to accept and consent to the use of cookies and similar technologies by our third-party partners (including: YouTube, Instagram or Twitter), in order to view embedded content in this article and others you may visit in future.

To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.

PARIS, France — Carine Roitfeld's first connection with fashion came from perusing the pages of her mother's copies of French Elle, the magazine that would later kick-start her career in the industry. But when Roitfeld started out as a stylist and writer for Elle, the industry was wildly different than it is today.

“It was amazing because we were not talking with advertisers … the last page of the magazine was just something for knitting,” she said.

Before the internet, Instagram and globalisation shaped fashion, it was a tactile, personal industry that involved more day-to-day interactions with local designers. Her favourite? Jean Paul Gaultier, on account of his willingness to talk about anything but fashion (and himself).

ADVERTISEMENT

In an industry that operates on chance meetings and gatekeepers, Roitfeld said that her career path was defined by three people: photographer Mario Testino, whom she met in 1990 while working on a shoot; Tom Ford, to whom she served as stylist and muse during the designer's stints at Gucci and Saint Laurent; and Condé Nast International Chairman Jonathan Newhouse, who Roitfeld said "was very nice and crazy" to give her the job of French Vogue's editor-in-chief.

Leaving Vogue after 10 years, said Roitfeld, was like leaving a "bubble" that shielded her from most of the practicalities of real life — from making a restaurant reservation or paying for a taxi to funding a shoot — but it also gave her the freedom to set up her namesake publication CR Fashion Book and form a long-standing partnership with the late Karl Lagerfeld.

“Everything was possible with Karl,” said Roitfeld. “[He] was a perfect protector. He defended me, he pushed me, and I pushed him.”

Roitfeld maintains the importance of pushing herself. Much like John Galliano's claim in 2014 that his best collection is yet to come, she believes that she hasn't made her best image yet. As for navigating the ever-changing landscape of the global fashion industry, staying open and approachable to new talent is key.

“I’m very curious,” she said, “I think it makes me young inside.”

Subscribe to BoF Professional for unlimited access to BoF articles, plus exclusive benefits for members. For a limited time, enjoy a 25 percent discount on the first year of an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.

To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from Media
How fashion media is adapting its approach to content, platforms and business models.

Is the Met Gala Worth the Investment?

For dozens of brands, dressing stars for the Met Gala comes at a significant cost. It’s not always clear how they should measure their return on investment, writes Imran Amed.


At the Met Gala, the Fantasy Was Intact

Despite threats of disruption from protests, the Condé Nast union and TikTok’s legal woes, the event continued as planned with attendees dazzling in bespoke and archival ensembles.


view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
The Business of Beauty Global Forum
© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
The Business of Beauty Global Forum