Carine Roitfeld Talks Harper's Bazaar, Porno Chic and That Gucci Ad | Adweek Carine Roitfeld Talks Harper's Bazaar, Porno Chic and That Gucci Ad | Adweek
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Carine Roitfeld Talks Harper's Bazaar, Porno Chic and That Gucci Ad

Hearst's David Carey gives thumbs-up to new spread

On Monday night, Carine Roitfeld, the legendary French fashion icon and recently appointed global fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar, took the stage at Hearst Tower to unveil the first of four annual fashion spreads that will appear in all 26 international editions of the magazine. Afterwards, the former French Vogue editrix, dressed in a form-fitting gray dress, fur stole and vertiginously high suede booties, sat down with Town & Country editor in chief Jay Fielden to discuss everything from social media (Roitfeld is currently trying her hand at “Instant-gram”) to designers (“Mr. Armani” initially found her fondness for high heels “vulgar”) to aging gracefully (“I’m less beautiful than I was in my 20s, but more fun at the dinner table!” she said).

The 16-page fashion spread, titled “Carine on the Collections,” was shot by up-and-coming photographer Kacper Kasprzyk in New York during Hurricane Sandy last fall. The portfolio veers sharply away from the risqué images that Roitfeld is known for—“I have a reputation to be a bit ‘porno chic,’ ” Roitfeld admitted, after Bazaar editor in chief Glenda Bailey introduced her as the queen of the concept—and, instead, focuses simply on the models (including Stephanie Seymour and Lara Stone) and their clothes (from established designers like Saint Laurent to newcomers like J.W. Anderson).

Roitfeld said that creating the Bazaar spreads was a major departure from working on her much smaller, twice-yearly niche magazine, CR Fashion Book. “Working in France gives you more freedom because there are not as many publicists and layers to deal with,” she said. (Another important cultural difference: “No pussy” in American magazines, she delicately explained.)

Speaking of “porno chic,” Fielden asked Roitfeld about her previous role as one of Tom Ford’s key creative advisors at Gucci where she oversaw an infamous ad campaign that involved shaving the designer’s logo into a model’s nether regions. According to Roitfeld, she had to push Ford and photographer Mario Testino to create the risqué image after none of the other photos from the campaign shoot appeared “iconic” enough. “Mario was a great person to do that because he could make a naked girl not look vulgar,” she recalled.

Hearst Magazines president David Carey wasn't too concerned with Roitfeld finding the right tone for her first spread, he said. (Bazaar creative director Stephen Gan also worked closely with Roitfeld on the shoot.) “She knew she was creating content for a large-scale international audience,” Carey told Adweek. “It had to be very stylish and intelligently done, but it had to have broad global appeal.” The magazine’s advertisers have also responded positively: “I was in Europe a few weeks ago and saw some of the large fashion clients, and they just loved this idea of an editorial that runs globally,” Carey said.

The success of Roitfeld’s new role has Carey thinking about implementing the same structure at other Hearst titles. “We’ve had lots of discussions about who else would have that similar global stature [as Roitfeld]," he said, adding that the company has “identified some names” but isn’t ready to make any official announcements just yet.

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