Carine Roitfeld





Mademoiselle C

Mademoiselle C (2013)
Directed by Fabien Constant

IWTB Interview:
Fabien Constant




Harper's Bazaar

carine roitfeld: irreverent


Tom Ford
By Tom Ford


Yves Saint Laurent 
By Roxanne Lowit


The Big Book of the Hamptons
By Michael Shnayerson


A Message for You
By Guy Bourdin


Dior: The Legendary Images
By Florence Muller


Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan
By Maria Agnelli


Fashionable Selby
By Todd Selby


O.Z. Diary
By Olivier Zahm 


Serge Lutens Fleurs D'Oranger

Do you want to smell like a Roitfeld? According to an interview with Do It In Paris, Carine Roitfeld favors two scents to enhance her seductive aura: Yves Saint Laurent Opium Body Moisturizer and Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger. Formulated by Christopher Sheldrake in 1995, Fleurs d’Oranger is a complex fragrance, unobtrusive and delicate yet heady and decadent, beautiful but demanding, purely feminine, utterly irresistible. The notes center on white flowers with hints of citrus and spice: orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose, and white rose over a warm base of musk, hibiscus, cumin, cedarwood, nutmeg, and neroli. Serge Lutens himself describes Fleurs d’Oranger as the smell of happiness, that certainly sounds like the essence of Carine…

Carine Roitfeld photograph courtesy of Fashion Spot. Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger image  © 2012 Serge Lutens.


The Night Porter

“Maybe one day I'll become a film star. I'd love to become a film star... What do you think? A remake of The Night Porter with me instead of Charlotte Rampling?”

— Carine Roitfeld to Talk Magazine, April 2001

I came across the above quote recently and had to laugh. How very Carine — not for her the sophomoric Fifty Shades of Grey! If she were to do a film, she would naturally gravitate towards what is arguably the most controversial S&M narrative ever made.

The Night Porter, directed in 1974 by the Italian Liliana Cavani, stars Dirk Bogarde as Maxmilian Theo Aldorfer, a former Nazi SS officer, and Charlotte Rampling as Lucia Atherton, a survivor of his concentration camp. Flashbacks show Max tormenting Lucia, but also acting as her protector. The two are reunited 13 years after World War II, in a Vienna hotel where Max is now a night porter. There they fall back into their sadomasochistic relationship and all hell breaks loose.

It is a deeply disturbing film. The first time I sat down to watch it years ago, I couldn’t make it all the way through. But I decided to give it another try, taking a more detached view and trying to analyze what, aside from the obvious attraction of the taboo, would appeal to a woman as intelligent as Carine Roitfeld.

What struck me the most about The Night Porter this time around was the symbolic use of light and dark in the film. Max is both literally and figuratively a dark character. He has a slick, shadowy handsomeness, beneath which roils deep perversity. He works at night for a reason. He needs the cover of darkness for the sick ministrations he performs to the hotel guests — with needles, pills, or flesh. It turns out that the twisted things he does in the unlit rooms provide an outlet for the cruelty that he was able to give full reign to in his former life as an SS officer.

Enter Lucia, a conventional bourgeois housewife, dressed in blacks, greys, and slate blues, her hair tidily pinned up with nary a strand out of place. A flashback shows the contrast between her present-day appearance and her previous association with Max. We are shown Lucia as Max first saw her: one in a line of prisoners being checked into his camp, she stands nude, her bobbed hair bound by a ribbon, clothed only in white bobby socks and black Mary Janes. Max singles her out from all the other inmates and trains a camera on her, flooding her with light from its blub. The light makes her a brilliant, over-exposed white. This vision highlights the symbolism of her name: Lucia, a pun on “light” and St. Lucy, the patron saint of the blind.

Thus Max’s statement that he works at night because he has a sense of shame in the light has a double meaning. He feels shame for what he has done, but can’t overcome his compulsion to continually repeat the past — his hotels “guests” replacing his concentration camp victims. But he means it metaphorically as well in relation to Lucia, “the light one,” whom he deeply loves, albeit in a deeply twisted way.

Lucia’s association with light continues once she is reunited with Max. From that point on, she is never in dark clothing again. She initially struggles against him in a flowing, icy-white nightgown. Later she revels as a willing captive in his apartment dressed in a thick, cream-colored fisherman’s sweater over filmy white lingerie shorts. And her hair is never up again, but released... the flowing, tousled, sexy mess of the renegade. By the time Lucia states, “Max is more than just the past,” we have guessed this already from her transformation.

One cannot speak of the visuals of The Night Porter without addressing the iconic scene in which Lucia sings a Dietrich standard to the Nazi officers. It is a scene Carine herself might have styled: in a large, barren, white-tiled room, a number of SS officers lounge in bored disinterest while Lucia sings to them with clear relish and intent to titillate. She is nude from the waist up, wearing a few choice accessories. An officer’s cap is pulled low over her brooding eyes. Above-the-elbow black leather gloves encase her willowy arms. Striped suspenders create a graphic of two stark lines framing her bare breasts. Finally, there is a set of men’s black pinstriped trousers, the front of which she intermittently grinds and massages throughout the song. The perversity of the scene reaches its zenith when Max, who has been watching her with a crazed gleam in his eye, rewards her at the end of her performance with the severed head of a fellow prisoner who had been bullying the other inmates. Later he proudly recounts the scene to a friend, exclaiming, “It was biblical!”

It is worth pausing to consider the importance of Max’s allusion to the story of Salome. Is he, in aligning himself with the ancient biblical tale, trying to exonerate himself? He describes what should have been a derogatory episode for Lucia as one that was instead a triumph for her; like Salome, she wields great power.

It is this idea of a woman who is captive but not a victim that brings Carine Roitfeld to mind the most. Carine has defended her taste for showing bondage in her photos: “I don’t want to portray women as victims of male desire, to make them sex objects or first-degree objects of desire... when I’ve shown a woman tied up like one of Araki’s models, she’s always chic and doesn’t look as if she’s suffering — and this makes her stronger I think.” (Irreverent, 210) In the burlesque scene, Rampling’s Lucia is definitely chic and certainly not suffering. This aura is repeated later, when she is bound in chains in Max’s apartment. There is nothing weak about her when she rebuffs her would-be rescuers with a calm but steely, “I’m here of my own free will.”

The role of dark and light is perhaps most poignant in the closing scene of the movie. Max and Lucia attempt an escape from the neo-Nazi cell that has surrounded Max’s apartment, determined to separate them. Holding hands they run, dressed in the costumes of the past they could not and would not let go: he in his SS uniform, and she in her white little-girl’s dress and knee socks. But their pursuers execute them, midway across a bridge, at dawn. The lighting of these final moments is amazing. I don’t think it’s any accident how literally the director illustrates the darkness being chased away by the light.

Twisted and sensational though it is, there’s no denying how artful The Night Porter is in dealing with themes of sexual transgression... Like so many photos styled by Carine Roitfeld.

The Night Porter stills © 2012 Criterion. Carine Roitfeld photo © 2011 V Magazine, LLC. S&M modification by Kellina de Boer.


Tom Pecheux

Tom Pecheux, creative director for makeup’s most popular brand, Esteé Lauder, is the perfect example of how discovering your passion will lead toward your true greatness. This international superstar of makeup is known for his sophisticated take on Parisian glamour. His philosophy is that makeup should enhance natural beauty, not transform it.

Before the glamour, Pecheux grew up on a farm in Burgundy, France, with his heart set on becoming a pastry chef. In 1984 at 18 he made his way to Paris to make his baking dream a reality, however the universe would have a far greater plan for him. He discovered the alluring appeal of Paris’ nightlife and was immediately seduced by its blend of music, fashion, and underground culture. On most nights he could be found at Le Palace, the Parisian equivalent to Studio 54, and it was here that he met someone that would change his life forever — a makeup artist. Pecheux shares, "There was a little bell in my head and it went, ding, ding, ding. I didn't even know makeup artistry could be a job." Following his inner guide, he retired his toque, began playing with makeup, and registered for classes at Christian Chauveau l’École Technique Privée de Maquillage Artistique to train as a makeup artist.

Early on in his studies, Pecheux realized that in order to be successful you have to create your own opportunities. "I had no network in fashion. No one opened the door for me. I had to open it for myself," he remembers. So after his schooling he pushed himself to build a solid portfolio. His hard work paid off — he became an assistant to the legendary makeup artist Linda Cantello. Even with that success there were some moments of self-doubt. As Pecheux put it: "When I was 27, I thought, if I can't make it big by my thirties, I'm going to give up."

The turning point came just in time when he hooked up with newcomers Carine Roitfeld and Mario Testino. The trio landed work on a Stella Tennant shoot for German Marie Claire with Pecheux responsible for makeup, Rotfield as the stylist, and Testino as the photographer. "It was a disaster!" he recalls. But the three learned quickly and went on to collaborate for years creating landmark advertising campaigns, their most famous collaboration being Tom Ford’s iconic campaign during his Gucci tenure. At the time Ford was a complete unknown but with the trio’s magic touch a once drab house became fashion’s sexiest statement maker.

Roitfeld and Pecheux share a unique and uncompromising dedication to following their vision. Without a doubt this is why they’ve remained such loyal and supportive friends. You can see Carine’s love for his creativity and special talent by looking at past issues of Vogue Paris — his imprint is all over the magazine.

The fashion and beauty industry also took notice of Pecheux’s French sensibilities. Fashion A-listers such as Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Givenchy, Balmain, Max Mara, and Jean Paul Gaultier have all been touched by his expertise. He has also created flawless looks for the finest photographers in the business, including Patrick Demarchelier, Craig McDean, Peter Lindbergh, Inez Van Lamsweerde, and Vinoodh Matadin. With a rock solid CV, the corporate offers started rolling in. He joined Shiseido as its creative director in 1999 and was responsible for transforming the brand into a modern beauty empire. First up was the creation of the brand’s makeup line Shiseido The Makeup. Pecheux’s selection of new colors, textures, and packaging made it an instant international success. A few years later in 2001 he devised a new approach to the traditional makeover, Shiseido’s Beauty Navigator, an online interactive simulator through which the user can virtually experiment with various products from the collection.

Today Pecheux is responsible for the artistic direction of Esteé Lauder bringing new energy, style, and a fashion edge to the 67 year old brand. In fact, Pecheux was guided to Esteé Lauder through a stellar recommendation from long-time friend Mario Testino who suggested that he was the ideal beauty influencer to rejuvenate the brand. Wanting to give the brand a catwalk edge, Pecheux used his backstage credentials to bring Esteé Lauder into the fashion world. Derek Lam’s Fall 2010 runway show marked EL’s first fashion week collaboration. “We're doing Derek Lam again for Spring, and we may do other shows, too," Pecheux revealed, "but we're never going to become a show machine. I want fashion to become part of Lauder's image, but it's too chic to be just fashion. Fashion doesn't last; it's in and out. Estée Lauder is much bigger than that."

Tom Pecheux continues to blaze his own path and set the standard for beauty. From pastry chef to world renowned makeup artist, his story is proof that the universe has a plan far greater than we do.

Carine Roitfeld and Tom Pecheux photos via Condé Nast,,,, and



Do you want to have sexy legs like Carine Roitfeld, regardless of your age? She recommends sheer seamed stockings by Fogal, "Something that makes me happy now is a pair of new tights — it's not so expensive, not like buying a Dolce & Gabbana dress or a Dior bag. This is nearer to yourself, nearer to your skin, something that makes you more sensuous, more voluptuous, more woman…" Fogal, a Swiss company, launched their second location on Madison Avenue in Manhattan recently and plans are in place for a SoHo expansion. As for Carine's favorite stocking by Fogal, she prefers the Catwalk Couture, en noir bien sûr, available in both thigh high and full hose options. Don't forget the daily ballet practice shaping Carine's legs underneath those chic stockings... you may not achieve the exact same look, but as she says, you will feel sexier and, dare I say, more like a Roitfeld....

Fogal image © 2012 Fogal. Carine Roitfeld photograph © 2011 All Rights Reserved.


Givenchy Pansy Minaudiere

Perhaps you noticed Carine Roitfeld's adorable clutch in hand during the most recent rounds of Fashion Week, an elegant minaudière designed by Riccardo Tisci for the Givenchy Fall/Winter 2011 collection. Created in black satin printed with purple pansies, the chic and sexy little clutch is just enough to hold your essentials because as Carine always says, less is more... Note that she is also enamored of the skirt from this collection, only Monsieur Tisci could find the fetish in the sissified pansy....

Givenchy image © 2011 Givenchy. Carine Roitfeld photographs courtesy of,, Getty Images, and All Rights Reserved.