Carine Roitfeld

Article excerpt

Byline: Jacob Bernstein

The editor is reborn after her French Vogue exit.

The Theme of Carine Roitfeld's new semiannual fashion glossy is birth. On the cover is a young girl holding a naked baby. Flip it over, and there's a model captured with a handful of hatchlings.

Are babies really the new black?

Actually, the images are a metaphor--a meta-fashion commentary for Roitfeld's rebirth after departing as editor of French Vogue nearly two years ago, and her new life as a grandmother (her daughter Julia hatched her own little bird last spring).

"I was obsessed seeing my daughter becoming a mother," Roitfeld, 57, says, sitting in the loftlike offices of Stephen Gan, who publishes V and Visionaire and is helping to bankroll her new venture. "And when you're obsessed with something, you see it all around," Roitfeld says in her signature patois. "And so maybe it was a good moment for me. It's like a rebirth, too."

If it all seems a bit self-referential, well that's what has always differentiated Roitfeld's magazines. It's also part of what flipped out her bosses at Conde Nast, who grumbled privately that her French Vogue became completely about Carine Roitfeld.

Certainly, French Vogue seemed cast in Roitfeld's freshly bedded, Helmut Newton-obsessed image: all the models came dripping in black eyeliner, smoking cigarettes, and wearing outfits so tight it was a wonder they bothered to get dressed at all. In the fashion press and society pages, Roitfeld and her leopard-print dresses were everywhere. Her own children became regulars on French Vogue's party pages. …