She’d dropped enough hints.
Interviewed by The Guardian in 2009, Carine Roitfeld – libertine, provocateur and editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue – mused, prophetically, on the future of her career:
“I love to change. I have been here eight years; I think maybe 10 years is good. But for now, I am very happy in my little Paris.”
Nonetheless, when official confirmation came last week that Roitfeld is to step down – after ten years of service with the Condé Nast publication – the fashion world shook with a collective Oh My F*cking Dieu.
“Listening to Carine Roitfeld talk is like having Chanel No 5 eau de parfum dripped, very slowly, into your ear. If it were possible to bottle that accent, it would surely be found to contain the very DNA of sexy-French womanliness.”
This quote – the most evocative I have ever read of Roitfeld – can aptly extend to her editorial influence.
Without censure, Roitfeld tattooed the pages of Paris Vogue with the most urgent elements of her DNA. Uncompromising. Visceral. Luxurious. Tribal. Anti-establishment. Sexual. The magazine was remade in her icon.
Unlike her glacial counterpart across the Atlantic, Anna Wintour – who helms a corporate, nipple-free, celebrity-centric Vogue – Roitfeld has found a constant bedfellow in controversy.
She sits, unapologetically, at the limit.
“We have to fight to keep this un-politically correct attitude of French Vogue. But it’s more and more difficult… you cannot smoke, you cannot show arms, you cannot show little girls. Everything we do now is like walking in high heels on the ice, but we keep trying to do it.”
It is for this – her commitment to a creative vision and fearlessness in the defence of it – that Roitfeld epitomised, more than any other, an editrix of extraordinary daring.
In a world where dollar is king and commercial interests rule sovereign, she stood one of very few to implode taboos and reimagine our boundaries of morality and fashion.
There will, of course, be other visionaries to fill her spike heels. A new editrix – Emmanuelle Alt or Virginie Mouzat, anyone? – to take the magazine onward.
But for this reader, Carine Roitfeld will always remain.