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Carine Roitfeld: Former Vogue Editor shares her Fashion Career Highlights

This month, in honour of International Womens Day, Cohorted are championing leading #FemaleFounders in the industry. Throughout the month of March, we are bringing you exclusive content from the leading ladies themselves.

Our female founders series will discuss how brands were founded, the personal journeys of these inspirational women and sharing advice that will empower younger woman on their career paths.

Next up in our #FemaleFounders series is Carine Roitfeld, whos fragrances are as memorable as her career. 

Don’t worry, we wouldn’t just tease you because featured in our March FemaleFounders Beauty Box is the Carine Roitfeld Vladimir fragrance in a complex ambery accord of sensual, woody, vanilla notes.

Your time in the fashion industry must have brought around many noteworthy encounters. What is your most fond/memorable moment throughout the years? 

I am not thinking about one single moment. I think that the most memorable is my ten years of close work with Karl. He is definitely the most impressive, cultivated and kind person I ever met.  

'I always put myself in a position of discomfort. I think that it is a good way to explore our potential. .'

As a female trailblazer, throughout your career were there any times when you felt you faced gender discrimination or bias within your work?  

I actually never really experienced gender discrimination in my career, I worked with both amazing and open-minded women and men. However, I am very happy to see that there are much more female designers, photographers, artists, artistic directors in the fashion industry than when I started 

How did this make you feel & how did you overcome these obstacles?  

The only obstacles I met in my career were the ones that I created myself. I always took the difficult road, I always put myself in a position of discomfort. I think that it is a good way to explore our potential.  

'Karl said that “Trendy is the last stage before tacky”. I am saying that fashion is almost cheesy. You can be fashionable, or you can LOVE fashion.'

How did your fragrance line come into play and more importantly are the ‘7 Lovers’ fragrances inspired by real individuals? 

It was a wish I had since more than ten years, without taking the time to start it. Perfume always had a very special place in my routine, and I felt like I was at a moment of my life where I finally wanted to wear my own perfume, to finally express this aspect of myself. The 7 Lovers are inspired by both cities and men (real or imagined). Vladimir is the name of my son and my father, Aurélien is the name of one of the perfumers who created the scents, Kar Wai is a tribute to the movie “In the Mood for Love” directed by Wong Kar Wai… The collection is about feelings, encounters and atmospheres I felt during my trips.  

 Do you have a favourite scent from the collection?  

Not really, it depends on where I am and at what period. For example, I love wearing George in the summer, Aurélien when I am in Paris, Vladimir in Autumn. 

 How do you think the pandemic has impacted the industry – having a brand and a fashion magazine yourself, were there any major pivots you had to take?   

I think the difficulty was to learn to work without traveling, without working in the same country. For example, the CR Fashion Book’s biggest team and headquarters are in New York, so we are working with jet lag and long distance meetings. It is a new way to organise ourselves and to do a magazine. It generates new obligations to deal with, but it is also a boost for creativity.  

 It's no argument that you know a thing or two when it comes to styling – what defines the word ‘fashion’ for you? 

Karl said that “Trendy is the last stage before tacky”. I am saying that fashion is almost cheesy. You can be fashionable, or you can LOVE fashion.  

 If you could tell your twenty-year-old self once piece of advice what would it be?  

The fact is today, 20 is not so young anymore. You sometimes already started something, you have to go and do your thing. My granddaughter Romy just tried green hair, and she is eight years old. You see what I mean? I would tell myself to push my boundaries, to try everything I can.  

 What was your first ever designer item and do you still have this now? 

I remember my first gift from a couturier. It was a red basqued jacket from Jean-Paul Gaultier, that I photographed for Elle Magazine. Jean-Paul gave it to me and it is still mine today. But I don’t usually keep my old clothes, I gift a lot of them during the years. 

 Who is your ultimate female inspiration and why? 

I think there are two, actually. The first is Gabrielle Chanel, for her combativeness and pugnacity in her work. It is quite amazing to restart your career at 71 years old. The energy and strength that she had is impressive. The second is Liz Taylor, neither for her beauty or her story with the handsome Richard Burton, but for her commitment and loyalty to her friends infected by AIDS at a time when they were considered like pariahs… I am very committed to the AMFAR, that she founded in 1985. I also took my better beauty tip from her: putting your makeup, and then go take a bath. She was also always late, even at her own funeral. Today, being late at a show is practically a duty.  


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