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Carine Roitfeld on Anna Wintour, Drugs, Boring Fashion Shows, and Her Upcoming Book with Karl Lagerfeld


>> Carine Roitfeld
is enjoying her new status as a free agent. While meeting with an interviewer from Spiegel, for instance, she was told that she looked "remarkably normal" (She showed up in a "no-name" T-shirt from Los Angeles, Current/Elliott corduroy jeans, and satin shoes that she had custom-made in violet.). Roitfeld's reply? "That's part of my newfound freedom. I always wore a tight skirt at Vogue; it was like a uniform." And the former editor already has plenty of new projects in the works — the Fall 2011 Chanel campaign, consulting work for Barneys, her biographical retrospective book with Olivier Zahm that comes out in October — plus, she mentions that she's working on "a book with Karl Lagerfeld," and adds, "Who knows? Perhaps I'll become a muse for designers again."

Needless to say, there's been no second-guessing her decision to leave Vogue Paris: "[It was] the perfect moment. The French edition of Vogue had never been more successful, had never had more readers or advertisers. And it had never made as much money. For 10 years, my American publisher, Jonathan Newhouse, let me do what I wanted, even when he thought it might be crazy. But it couldn't have gone on for much longer."

A few more highlights from the interview, below.

On editing Vogue Paris and the current state of the industry: "For 10 years, it was a hell of a lot of fun. But, toward the end, it unfortunately got less and less fun. You used to be able to be more playful, but now it's all about money, results and big business. The pret-a-porter shows have become terribly serious. The atmosphere isn't as electric as it once was, and they now have about as much charm as a medical conference. But it takes just one good fashion show to get things exciting again . . . Creativity needs space and a willingness to take risks, but businessmen don't like risk. What's more, designers are coming under more and more pressure. Today, a dress can't just please the women in Paris; it also has to please those in Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow and New York."

On the frequency of drug use in the industry: "My only drug is a small glass of vodka in the evening, if that's what you're asking . . . [Drugs are used in fashion] no more and no less than they are in other artistic circles. Yves Saint Laurent was the first person to openly admit to being a drug addict. Since I never touched drugs myself, I find it hard to tell whether people are taking them. But, of course, some people do. The industry has become faster and faster. People are constantly fighting jet lag and working through the night."

On the rumors of her succeeding Anna Wintour at Vogue: "That was never seriously under discussion. I like to provoke. I'm very French. In America, they're not even allowed to show a hint of nipple in photos. Anna Wintour is the most powerful woman in the global fashion industry, the first lady of fashion. She's a politician; I'm a stylist. They are two very different jobs. Incidentally, despite all the rumors, she is actually very nice."

On the John Galliano scandal: "I had no idea how unhappy John Galliano must have been. You have to be very unhappy and lonely to praise Hitler in public while completely drunk. The House of Dior has always addressed a range of topics, for example, by having haute couture shows on homelessness where all the models look like people living on the street. But drunkenly shouting 'I love Hitler' and calling people in a bar a 'dirty Jew-face' is unacceptable. I don't think he really believes what he said; they were simply the actions of a drunk."

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