Carine Roitfeld hasn’t slowed down since ending her decade-long editorship of Vogue Paris last year. She launched the magazine CR Fashion Book, collaborated with MAC on a cosmetics collection, was named the first global fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar and became a grandmother. Here, the onetime queen of “porno chic” talks about growing up, balancing jobs and working with reality stars.
At Vogue Paris, you were known for having a very erotic sensibility, but the first issue of CR had a mother and child on the cover, and the second issue (on newsstands) has a ballet theme. Is this a softer side?
I think that ballet shoe on the cover is quite fetishistic! If you don’t want to get bored with what you’re doing, you have to change. I will not tell you now, but I have a new obsession already for the next issue. It’s totally far away from this one.
Why the ballet theme?
I met this ballerina, Marie-Agnès Gillot, and got to see her dancing, and I immediately fell in love with ballet and decided to do some ballet lessons myself. Dancing is the last sport with no sponsor. You just dance for the beauty of the dance. You don’t get so much money, you’re finished when you’re quite young and your body is broken after all these years of working. And there’s so much beauty in the gesture. But it is very romantic in a way, and very chic. And it deserves recognition.
What was it like to go from the freedom of creating CR to catering to a more mainstream audience at Bazaar?
CR is for people who really know and love fashion. What I’m doing for Bazaar is like advertising. You have to please a Chinese girl and an American girl and an Argentinian girl and a Japanese girl. But it’s so exciting to be able to talk to all these women at the same time.
When you left Vogue Paris, did you think you’d work for another big publisher like Hearst?
Not at all. I never met them before because when you’re at Condé Nast, it’s just Condé Nast and you don’t know the other people. After I left Condé Nast, I said I’m going to do some more cool magazines, my projects, advertising, collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Riccardo Tisci. Then [Hearst] proposed the Bazaar job, and I said, “Wow, why not?” I keep my freedom, I have no editor in chief above me and I do what I want. And sometimes it’s good to have the support of a big company like Hearst behind you. You need support in fashion.
Was it easier to produce the second issue of CR?
The first one had more spontaneity, but I think this one was better in terms of quality and fashion. They did a film about the first issue—a documentary that will come out next September—and it was very funny to see the way I was working. I was doing everything, from carrying the luggage, waiting in airports, doing the shoots. Fashion is a hard business.
You photographed Big Ang from Mob Wives for the new issue of CR. How did that happen?
It was an idea of Bruce Weber. He will give you crazy ideas, and he knows I’m always going to love it. Bruce loves the idea of special people, and you discover that OK, Big Ang has big breasts, but she has such a big heart and is such a great person. We had everyone dancing together in Miami, and it was such a great day. Everyone had a crush on Big Ang! She looked hot, and she’s such a nice person. And you know, it’s good to have a different vision of fashion than just to be a very beautiful, skinny girl.