By  on March 11, 2002

PARIS -- When they're not watching the runway this season, editors and retailers alike are studying the impossibly stylish Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of French Vogue, scrutinizing her hair, her clothes and especially her shoes.

Bloomingdale's Kal Ruttenstein, who refers to Roitfeld as his "muse," was so impressed with the fur-trimmed high-heeled sandals she wore to the shows on Friday, he called his buyers in Milan to book an appointment lickety-split with their maker, Cesare Paciotti. "Everybody wants to look like Carine," said Ruttenstein. "She has the look of the moment. Every model on the runway in Italy looked like Carine, with the smoky eyes, hardly any makeup and the hair raked over the eyes."

The Carine-isms don't stop there. Long Tom Ford's muse, Roitfeld was clearly an influence this season at Gucci, where models' hair flopped in front of raccoon eyes. Model Zuzana Macasova has been dubbed the "mini-Carine," and scores of women in the audience, from junior members of the French Vogue staff to buyers, are sporting copycat hairstyles.

Meanwhile, Roitfeld insists there's no great mystery to her look and says that she spends only about 10 minutes getting dressed in the morning. "I'm always wearing the same sort of things, a black coat, a skirt," she said. "But I always put the accent on one exciting piece." She prefers to buy items from a pre-collection rather than runway pieces and mix old items with new ones. This week, she got lots of comments on her black Max Mara cape from a few seasons ago.

But more often than not, all eyes are on her feet. "She has the best shoes and the best legs," said Ruttenstein. Frequently, the focus is her shoes: green lizard stilettos from Balenciaga or platform sandals from YSL. She has 30-odd pairs in her shoe wardrobe. "In a fashion shoot, shoes are very important. Shoes give the look," she said. "That and the hair. A lot of people can't stand having their hair in the eyes. But for me, it's like a protection. Some people wear sunglasses; I use my hair."

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