Carine Roitfeld On Her Proudest Moments, Karl Lagerfeld, and How She Can Spot A Star

by Eddie Roche

Few can claim responsibility for so many memorable fashion moments and creating as many superstars as living legend Carine Roitfeld. The Daily asked the founder of CR Fashion Book about her greatest achievements and what she still wants to do.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Launching CR Fashion Book was definitely one. I remember the launch party as if it were yesterday; it felt amazing to be surrounded and supported by all my friends and family. I was proud to show what we had been working on for months. Launching CR was such a personal undertaking, and I couldn’t be happier to see where it led us 10 years later.

Who were your mentors early in your career, and what advice stuck with you?
There were a few people I looked up to. My father will forever be my mentor, and there’s a bunch of sentences he said to me that always stuck with me. When I was 18, we had a conversation about where I was going, what I wanted to do with my life, to which I responded I was still young and I had time. He told me, “18 wasn’t young.” It felt quite brutal at the time, but it was also a catalyst for me.

You have been responsible for the success of so many people. How are you so good at spotting stars?
As you can imagine, that was never my intention in the first place. I just happened to follow my intuition and root for the people I believed in. I came across so many people in my career and a bunch of them stood out. Today, I feel grateful that I could ever play a part in these people’s successes. The traits I look for are resilience, vision, loyalty, and of course, irreverence. I’m always looking for people who are ready to take risks.

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You and Karl Lagerfeld had a special relationship. What do you miss most about him?
He made you feel protected. He had the greatest aura, culture, and taste; he made you feel so special. No matter how formal our relationship could sound, he would always call me “Madame Roitfeld.” It was based on blind trust.

What has the success of CR meant to you?
It means the world, knowing the amount of energy we all put into its building and the making of every single issue. It started as a magazine and a website, which we worked toward expanding into a global brand. Now not only do we publish the magazine twice a year and daily handle our digital and social media channels, but we also host parties, stage runway shows, and do merchandising. Just the beginning!

You’ve expanded CR to China. Why did that come about, and do you plan to move into other markets?
We have expanded to both Japan and China. For now, we’re focusing on developing these two local editions as they are quite recent; it’s about understanding the market needs and the way it needs to be approached so our readers are able to connect with our content. It’s a great opportunity for us to expand CR’s vision to Asia. We have more upcoming projects this winter in Asia, and I am very much looking forward to being able to talk about it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I would be watching Netflix, practicing ballet, boxing, and playing chess. How do you stay energetic and enthusiastic in everything you do? Only because I love what I do. To be honest, as long as there’s renewal, I never get bored.

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Your family is important to you. How have they helped you in your success?
They have helped in my success in many ways, first by being my first supporters. They are always by my side. [Son] Vladimir joined the company as the CEO, and it really did change everything for me. I’m working with someone I have full trust in, and who trusts me in return. We’re a family, but we’re also a team.

What does your granddaughter call you?
She calls me Grandma Carine, but I’m considering finding something else. [Laughs]

What’s still on your wish list professionally?
I always want to do what I’ve never done before. Karl always told me to surprise people. That’s what I did when launching my perfume line Carine Roitfeld Paris. Next thing on my wish list is a beauty line.

 

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