The latest is Mademoiselle C, a documentary that follows Carine Roitfeld after she leaves her position as Editor in Chief of French Vogue and starts on her first project, which comes to be called CR Fashion Book.
She leads in this impossibly glamorous, luxurious life, yet you still get to see that this is a real woman with feelings – when she tears up talking about her daughter Julia having a baby and how she hopes she’ll be as good a grandmother to Romy Nicole as her own mother was to Julia, it’s moving and the anxiety she expresses on leaving French Vogue to strike out on her own is completely authentic.
Leaving the comforting familiarity of any job you’ve done for a long time and having to establish yourself as an individual is daunting, and even though she’s living in a different universe to most of us, where money and connections are really no obstacles, such is her honesty and warmth, I found I could identify with her situation.
Carine has a finely tuned sense of the ridiculous, making me feel that if she wasn’t a superglam fashion editrix, she’d just be a fun, jazzy French lady who shamelessly enjoys the finer things in life – food, wine, clothes – who could be your mate’s (sexy-as-F) mum. There are delightful moments of humour in the film – Karl Lagerfeld pushing a pram, Donatella Versace’s totally deadpan expression (or is that the surgery?) on being told by Carine that she has become a grandma.
She has a sweet, genuinely loving relationship with Tom Ford – they’re like an old married couple who understand each other’s thoughts and intentions before they’ve voiced them. She even manages to make monogamy look chic and sexy, having been with the same man for 30 years (without marrying him.)
Some people get angry with fashion documentaries that seem to be all about the surface gloss of the business, but I think they’re missing the point – fashion’s substance IS the superficial. Honestly, I love the artifice and luxurious fantasy of it all. This is a world where, quite literally, your feet don’t touch the grubby ground, instead moving seamlessly from car to carpet, spike heels sinking into the deep, plush pile.
In the show notes to his final collection for Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs wrote “I take pleasure from things for exactly what they are, revelling in the pure adornment of beauty for beauty’s sake. Connecting with something on a superficial level is as honest as connecting with it on an intellectual level.” That’s what makes a fashion film like Mademoiselle C – or Funny Face, or Valentino: The Last Emperor for that matter – such an unashamed pleasure.
Co-founder and co-editor of Pamflet. Bookworm, bluestocking, Brown Owl. Loves Garconnes style, reading, writing, ranting and raving. Gin snob.