Two French Feet on American Soil

Great Design November 14, 2012 0
Two French Feet on American Soil

Her silhouette, from any angle, says Paris.

Broody intelligent eyes, the studied messy coif, good flat stomach, legs legs legs.  When an abundance of style meets the strong understanding of how bravura can alter our way of thinking in the field of fashion, you’ll find Mademoiselle Roitfeld.

Burdened with an artist eye, she instinctively understands how to sell the idea as well as the product behind it.  Her value as an editor originates from a strong imagination, perhaps rooted in hallucination or prophecy.

And with a rough yet childlike take-it-or-leave-it attitude, her work celebrates the mechanics, the essence and the heart of what we call great design.

CR Fashion Book, Carine Roitfeld’s lavish print contribution to the world of style, teems with arresting images. There is a photograph of Lindsey Wixon’s bewigged head dangling from her fist; another model, Marte, apparently suckles an infant dressed in a christening costume; and a bare-backed Elsa Peretti-lookalike fondles a drink while awkwardly straddling a faux-fur throw.

Too bad those pictures weren’t on view at the Florence Gould Hall in Midtown last night, the scene of a talk with Ms. Roitfeld organized by the French Institute Alliance Francaise. The former French Vogue editor, who was recently appointed global fashion director for Harper’s Bazaar, tried vainly to explain her métier, which boiled down, in her charmingly Gallicized phrasing, to “making happen a dream.”

Without the appropriate visual aids, though, she was at a bit of a loss. Plus, there was the undeniable distraction of Klaus Biesenbach, the director of MoMa PS1, a last minute fill-in for W editor Stefano Tonchi, who seemed more eager to talk about his admittedly laudable efforts to help the victims of Sandy than to probe deeply into the world of fashion.

For the full story visit The New York Times

Written by Ruth La Ferla

Photograph by Karl Lagerfeld