Vogue Magazine has influenced countless women all over the world. They come seeking style suggestions and leave with more than enough information to have a new look every day for a month! Only the best of the best have their work published in Vogue and when they do, it truly is a monumental event. But what happens if you are a stylist and the editor-in-chief for Vogue Paris? What happens when you leave? InFabien Constant‘s documentary Mademoiselle C, Carine Roitfeld takes us through her story and experience with Vogue and her decision to venture off to launch her very own magazine!
For ten years (2001-2011), Carine Roitfeld served as the editor-in-chief for Vogue Paris. Born in Paris, Roitfeld got her first shoot with the magazine when she was 18. She was the creator of the Equipment clothing line, until she became the magazine’s editor-in-chief. In her ten years in charge, she worked closely with fashion designer Tom Ford and often modeled for him. The two were very like-minded and often collaborated on “risque” projects that they enjoyed. Roitfeld often brought up that she lived vicariously through her photo shoots and could express her emotions and desires through her work than with anything else.
After resigning from Vogue‘s French magazine, Carine moved to New York to begin her own magazine called CR Fashion Book. When comparing the differences between the work she did with Vogue and the work she has been planning to do with her magazine, Carine discusses new directions and specific distinctions she wants to make in the world of fashion. Whereas she worked with cigarettes and naked women for Vogue, she discusses taking a new approach with her work to keep it fresh and keep her readers interested. Along her new journey, she takes meetings with many of her admirers (including Sarah Jessica Parker, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Kate Upton). We also get interviews with many people with whom she worked with. On top of all of this, while she is juggling multiple hats and projects and tasks, Carine is also preparing to become a grandmother! With all of these things coming together, it seems she’s just as busy now as she was when she worked for Vogue!
Mademoiselle C is essentially a compilation of fashion show footage, interviews and staged sequences. While Carine’s story is fun and unique, this documentary is anything but those things. While it is nice that she is receiving praise for her impact on the fashion industry, Reitfold’s life and work stories really only interest a select number of people. The way the story is presented and handled is dull and all over the place. The film jumps back-and-forth between past-and-present footage and interviews. The film has an awkward flow and that makes it difficult to understand what all is happening. The film is subtitled, but the actors switch between French and English so often that it becomes cumbersome trying to make sense of what is or is not important. Moments such as these are big and significant issues which take you completely out of the film. You do have to pay some close attention to the dialogue so that I could understand everything which was going on.
On the one hand, I thought that this recognition for Carine was awesome! Her work is greatly admired and it is clear that she has had quite an impact in the world of fashion. Her employees, friends and the people that she collaborated with all speak incredibly highly of her and in these scenes, we get a sense of how groundbreaking and accomplished she has been. Unfortunately, on the other hand, we spend a lot of time with Carine as she is setting up her magazine. In and of itself, these moments are essential to learning how Carine operates on a daily basis, but the information we get is rather unremarkable. When she’s in her element, Carine is a workhorse who produces results. We get to see her craft some unusual, but thought-provoking fashion statements which are wildly entertaining. Had Constant’s film had more moments like those and less moments that are spent deliberating over silly and irrelevant matters, this film would have really exemplified the mastery behind Carine’s work.
For a documentary set to explore Carine’s new foray into her own magazine, we spend more time getting her opinions of fashion. Those opinions are very intelligible, but they are not the focus of this film (or at least they should not be). You cannot help but have some fun watching fashion shows and interactions among the different celebrities for awhile, but that is likely about the most fun you will find withMademoiselle C. If you have any interest in fashion or Carine Roitfeld, you may find yourself enjoying this film a lot more than I did. If not, this film is going to struggle to entertain you and it likely will not make a lot of sense either. To me, a magazine article or short video would have made more sense for what this film is trying to tell. It’s not the worst film, but Mademoiselle C deserves a better film and tribute.
Mademoiselle C Trailer