Ultimate imagemaker Carine Roitfeld is driven by the desire to create the next big story that will change the way we think of fashion. In her groundbreaking work for CR Fashion Book, her distinct voice is growing louder and louder.
How big is your team, and how many outside contributors are you working with?
My team is small—a tight-knit team that is very loyal, and growing bigger by the day. I am fortunate to constantly be meeting fresh, young talented people who are excited to be working with the magazine and for me.
How do you discover new photographers? Do they pitch themselves, or do you research them?
Usually it is my team. Like me, they are always looking out for who will be the next big thing. I trust them, and they rarely let me down. I also love to look at images on Instagram, and believe it or not, sometimes you find new and very talented photographers or emerging talents.
How did you link up with Sebastian Faena?
I first worked with Sebastian for V many years ago; Mario Testino was part of the team. We work well together, and I am happy to call him a friend. It’s a family affair with Sebastian.
How closely do you communicate with Stephen Gan?
Stephen and I have a unique relationship based on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. He gave me the freedom to do what I want, and accepts almost all my fantasies. We don’t need to speak every day—he doesn’t have to participate in all the meetings. I remember one day he told me I was like a great performer, and he wanted to give me a stage. And it is true—I always have a new song to put out.
Your collections for Uniqlo have been very successful. Any plans to create more CR-branded product?
You will have to see! I am working on my new fragrance to launch in 2017 as part of other projects for CR.
CR is so image-driven. What makes an interesting story from a text perspective?
The subject, of course. Pictures bring a story to life, but it’s the words that give it meaning, and context.
Are magazines, in general, too word-focused these days? Is that a problem?
No, I don’t think so.… If anything, I believe it may be the opposite. Too many publications today are putting out stories like “how to make your boyfriend happy,” and “the top Instagram celebrities.” Those are not stories, and they are not what magazines are for.… Magazines are meant to inspire.
Why did you choose Starworks to serve as CR’s entertainment editors?
They are simply the best at what they do. No one has their ear to the ground the same way they do.
What do you look for in a model?
A good story. Something different, a new beauty. When I discover new models that I like, I push their career, and I am very loyal, so I am constantly making sure they are working with me for CR Fashion Book, Harper’s Bazaar, or campaigns and shows that I am consulting for. Look at my girls Lara Stone and Gigi Hadid today, to name a couple.
Who have been some of your biggest model finds?
Lara Stone, Kate Upton, Staz Lindes, Gigi Hadid. Just look at the latest issue of CR Fashion Book.
You’ve had a long relationship with Lady Gaga. Why is she such an inspiring figure? And what is it about her look that you respond to?
She is a great artist, and she does whatever she wants…and that is a quality to which I can relate. She always reinvents herself.
Do you have any plans to make the pages of CR shoppable?
They are shoppable. You look at the pictures, and you go shopping.
It’s a challenging time for mass consumer titles. What’s your best advice for print editors?
Don’t listen to what numbers and marketers tell you. Don’t follow the voice of fear. Listen to yourself. Be brave, and be fearless in following your intuition, always.
Why do you gravitate toward Instagram?
I think Instagram is a microcosm of young culture today. It tells you what your readers are hungry for.
When you first came up with the idea for CR, who were your biggest supporters?
Stephen Gan. He is a true friend, and he didn’t hesitate once when I told him this was my new dream. That’s what we do together—we make dreams. I am very grateful to all these people and great friends that helped me in my career. Some of them left me. Some of them are still here and loyal, but at the end of the day, you know yourself who you love and who loves you back. And every day is a new day, you meet new people and sometimes more interesting people. I am also very thankful to be surrounded by my forever friend Tom Ford, who gave me first the opportunity to be a consultant; Karl Lagerfeld, my mentor; Riccardo Tisci, of course; and my family and friends, who are always there.
How has the fashion community reacted to what you are doing with CR?
People are always telling me how much they love CR, that it inspires them. It makes me happy. CR is not a magazine you buy to throw away the day after. You keep it. The readers buy and read CR because it is a collector’s item, a coffee-table book talking to people who want to see fashion.
Why was it the right time to launch CR Men’s Book?
To me, this is the most interesting moment in menswear. The mood is changing; men are no longer afraid of fashion. Soon it will be just as common to see a man in a skirt as a suit.
If you weren’t editing CR, what would you be doing?
Telling stories in some other way. That is what I do. It’s who I am.