Carine Roitfeld Stephen Gan Bruce Weber
For those interested in the world of fashion, this may be an exciting film to see; it certainly is loaded with the icons of the fashion world such as Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, and Diane von Furstenberg. Film stars and models like Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Upton are likewise glimpsed frequently or are featured in the story of the founding of the publication, CR Fashion Book, last year.
Roitfeld was editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris for ten years when she decided to launch a publication of her own. She was able to get well known fashion photographers, designers, and models to work for her (and still does), although along the way, some major entities such as Conde Nast and the New York Times attempted to discredit and sabotage her efforts. The documentary is not entirely clear about what prompted those actions, but it is mildly implied that it was about the inclusion of “erotic-chic” (Roitfeld’s term) in photos. (Others call it “porn-chic.”) Despite the stumbling block, the magazine sold out of its first issue in two weeks, and Roitfeld continues to be the founder/editor-in-chief, along with a new appointment as International Fashion Editor for Harper’s Bazaar.
It is interesting to see how a fashion magazine is put together, and the artistry that goes into every shoot. CR Fashion Book is probably unique in its inclusion of stories that go along with the pictures. For instance, a story by Tom Ford accompanies a series of artistic shots. Whether or not the text of the story, based on a well- known fairy tale, is included in the publication I cannot say; it may just be a story told in pictures. The artistry in the pictures is obvious from a glance at the archives of the magazine: http://crfashionbook.com/archive
The film seems to go a little heavy on adulation of Roitfeld, who does indeed come across as a warm, cheerful, attractive person who seems to show respect to everyone, and happily enjoys the birth of her first grandchild during filming. This is perhaps to contrast her with Anna Wintour, the subject of the documentary The September Issue (and possibly of the feature film, The Devil Wears Prada), and in real life is the longstanding icon of Vogue in the U.S. with the reputation of being icy. Or perhaps it serves as a rebuttal to the criticisms of Roitfeld by rival publications.
The film—as the publication itself—will primarily be of interest to what is probably a select few who are obsessed with fashion and have the means to acquire the lavish designs contained in CR. Nevertheless, for the rest of us, it is an interesting and informative look at the fashion industry.
By Donna R. Copeland