It was a very international affair last night at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City, where Parisian-turned-New Yorker Carine Roitfeld sat down for an interview with the very German Klaus Biesenbach, the Chief Curator at Large for the Museum of Modern Art and Director of MoMA PS1 as part of the institute’s “Creative Leaders” talks.
Despite the number of heavy accents on stage, the crowd was rapt as they listened to the editor speak about her illustrious career, party girl past (she started frequenting Paris nightclubs at age 15), adjustments to American culture (“I heard in America you cannot wear white shoes after labor day,” she said, looking chicer-than-chic in a pair of white pumps herself), and, of course, new roles as editor-in-chief of brand new title CR Fashion Book and as global fashion director at Harper’s Bazaar.
“It always starts with the same thing: a dream,” Roitfeld said, describing the genesis of her many creative endeavors. But, of course, her recent move to New York City necessitated a slight pragmatic adjustment to the job description she has internalized: “It’s very difficult when writing my immigration papers — dreamer, image-maker — I don’t think they’d let me in.”
Roitfeld also recounted some of her more scandalous photo shoots over the years. most alongside similarly-irreverent photographer Mario Testino. One such editorial was “The Butcher,” which featured Eva Herzigova in a blood-smeared apron holding hunks of raw meat, fondling a meat cleaver, and gnawing on chicken bones, inspired, as Roitfeld tells it, by the prevalence of mad cow disease in the news at the time.
And, in light of more recent news, Roitfeld also had some choice words about who should fill the soon-to-be vacant spot at the helm of Balenciaga following Nicolas Ghesquière‘s departure: “I think it would be great to have someone as young and fresh as Nicolas was. Some young designer — totally fresh, very new, very oxygen. When they took Nicolas, he was totally unknown…I like when the company has — how you say? — the balls to do something new.”