Confined at home, Carine Roitfeld organises a virtual fashion show to be revealed on YouTube
Last June, as part of the Pitti Uomo trade show, Carine Roitfeld staged the biggest fashion show of the year - more than 3,500 guests strutted onto a podium installed on top of a Florentine hill, bathed in the golden glow of twilight: the image was memorable. This Friday, at 10 p.m., the stylist, editor and ultimate French fashion icon will organize an event that will be both more accessible and at the same time more intimate: a fashion show of confined models, to be broadcast on YouTube.
By organizing this event, Carine Roitfeld is supporting amfAR, a foundation whose fight is against AIDS. Every year, the former Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Paris stages huge fashion shows to enliven the organization's celebrated galas, at the Hôtel du Cap in Antibes, which always wrap up the Cannes Film Festival in style at the end of May. This year, the fashion show will be a means to raise funds to support the fight against the Coved-19 pandemic. Many celebrities have responded to Carine Roitfeld's call: Kim Kardashian-West, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Hailey Bieber, Adriana Lima, Diane von Fürstenberg, Halima Aden, Virgil Abloh, Alexander Wang, Winnie Harlow, Irina Shayk, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Heron Preston, Miss Fame and many more. These fashion celebrities have volunteered to participate in the event, and will be making donations to the American foundation.
Few stylists have had such an influence nor have had such an aesthetic impact on fashion’s global image than Roitfeld. Nearly a decade after leaving her job as at Vogue Paris, where she invented the concept of porno chic – an intertwinement of both suave elegance and risqué references – she now boasts 1.7 million followers on Instagram. Or three times more than Emmanuelle Alt, who succeeded her at the head of the publication. Once Karl Lagerfeld’s signature stylist, Roitfeld is now global fashion director of Harper's Bazaar and founder of her own publication, CR Fashion book, which is a reference within the industry. The stylist also regularly is a consultant to leading luxury brands. With this in mind, we asked this quintessential Parisienne a few questions to find out more about the event she is preparing for Friday, and to discuss her point of view - always iconoclastic - on the current situation.
FashionNetwork.com: Where are you now? Are you with friends or family?
Carine Roitfeld: I'm alone at home in Paris.
FNW: Why create this new kind of fashion show?
CR: I love to organize this type of event. After ten annual fashion shows for amfAR, and a first “CR Runway” show in Florence last year, Vladimir, my son and business partner, made me an interesting proposal: to combine the strengths of these two events to create the very first virtual fashion show – at home. The fashion industry is always game when it comes to supporting a good cause, and it's all to its credit. Besides, in our industry, the "trend" is towards collaboration. Nevertheless, this is a charity event. And this year, all of the funds raised by amfAR will be donated to help in research against Covid-19.
FNW: How is such a fashion show organized? By doing fittings via Zoom?
CR: No, we did not do a video conference fitting. All of the models will walk from home, with whatever they may have found in their wardrobes, following the advice of our team of hairdressers, make-up artists and manicure specialists... For once, it’s not me who will choose what they wear! Given the current situation, we haven’t asked for any product from either designers nor brands, but some will nonetheless participate in the event; it’s important to have their support, even from a distance.
FNW: Does this fashion show have a specific theme?
FNW: Where will you be when the show is broadcast?
CR: At home, of course!
FNW: How has the pandemic affected your creative ideas?
CR: It didn't affect them. On the contrary, the time I’ve spent alone, thinking, allows me to be even more creative.
FNW: When did you realize how serious the situation was?
CR: During the last days of Milan Fashion Week, we felt that the pandemic was about to overwhelm Europe. The Paris shows took place anyway, and fashion houses distributed masks to guests... And just a few days after Paris Fashion Week ended, we entered this period of confinement.
FNW: Do you think there will be a Fashion Week next September?
CR: Some brands have already canceled their fashion shows, and I imagine that others will organize events in intimate or very small groups. In my opinion, we will have to adapt to a newfound reality.
FNW: For your part, will you be going to Fashion Weeks in London, Milan, New York and Paris?
CR: I've always loved going to fashion shows - everything will depend on whether or not we will have the right to travel, as well as the directives of our respective governments. It will not be a season like any other. In some countries, airports may still even be closed.
FNW: In your opinion, what trend will emerge from next September’s fashion shows?
CR: I think that designers are in the same state as I am currently: they have done a lot of thinking during this pandemic, and will propose a post-Coronavirus type of fashion, which will be thought out differently.
FNW: Will the world change after this health crisis?
CR: What I do know is that there will be a post-Coronavirus era in fashion, but it is still impossible to comment on that as of today.
FNW: Will magazines recover from the crisis we are currently experiencing?
CR: I think that after all these months spent on their screens, many of our readers will want to leaf through a magazine.
FNW: The confinement was a means to remind one of family in the eyes of the public. And for you, who works closely with your son Vladimir?
CR: We have been working together for four years now. Paradoxically, being apart has brought us even closer. I hope that this imposed distance will only be temporary, as it is difficult not to be able to see your own family during months at a time. But we are fortunate to all be in good health. Be cautious, stay at home, and enjoy this show, which I hope will be able to change your mind a bit! And, once again, a big thank you to the models, who played their part, as well as to my lifelong teams - Piergiorgio Del Moro (casting), Tom Pecheux (makeup), Sam McKnight (hairdresser), Mei Kawajiri (manicure), Michel Gaubert (sound designer) and Stephen Galloway, who acted as a fabulous “runway coach”. I can't begin to conceive fashion without this team effort!
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