Carine Roitfeld is letting a new generation take the reins of the magazine she founded. Mostly.
Like the new logo for the biannual CR Fashion Book print magazine Roitfeld founded in 2012 after leaving French Vogue and has been the lead editor and stylist of since — now a much smaller, more refined “CR” that hovers in the top left corner after being a nearly cover-size signature — Roitfeld is reducing her role, and will now oversee editorial after years of leading it.
Vague as that description may be, the fact is Roitfeld doesn’t actually have a new title and there is no one replacing her as editor. But she will be doing far less styling of shoots (she only did one for the upcoming spring/summer issue; before she did all of them) and curation of magazine editorial going forward. Instead, Roitfeld will focus more on other projects, like collaborations and work for a growing roster of clients for her creative studio and brand consultancy CR Studio. There’s Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld and Tom Ford, of course, but also a recent campaign for Jordache, which Roitfeld handled from beginning to end.
“I don’t know what I now want to be called,” she said recently, having just arrived in New York for fashion week from Paris. “I don’t have a desk [at the office] either. I had one a while ago but I didn’t like it. I just sit at any table with a free chair. I don’t want a door, ‘Oh, knock before entering.’ That’s not me.”
She said professional titles are more important in America — “I never look at titles, to be honest.” Nevertheless, her son Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, whom she admitted has a more American viewpoint, is CR’s president, and Patrik Sandberg has been promoted to the role of creative director.
“I’ve become another stylist in the magazine,” Roitfeld said in a blithe tone. “I think it’s definitely time to open the door to a new generation. People of fashion, you know, they get bored, so we need to feed them something exciting, energetic and new.”
Of the new logo, Roitfeld was direct, saying it’s an attempt to move a growing brand away from such a deep association with her.
“The magazine was mine, my dream, then it was almost like a shadow,” Roitfeld said, alluding to other stylists being warded off by her large presence, literally and figuratively, at the title. “I’ve worked a lot, but I think finally I’ve grown up — I’m not just an editor, I’m the head of this brand that includes the magazine and the studio and more to come.”
While Roitfeld is maintaining her relationship with Hearst Magazines, where she works as global fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar and which also operates CR and the newer CR Men through a partnership with its digital media segment, it seems that “more to come” means a further expansion of the brand she’s now overseeing.
Restoin-Roitfeld said the biannual publishing frequency for the titles will remain, but after the recent launch of a CR in Japan, its first international edition, “We are exploring options for additional editions in the near future.”
“Expansion in this way is important to us as they give our brand a more specific reach and thus a stronger presence in the global fashion marketplace,” he said. There is also more of a digital push happening and the web site for CR Studio just got an overhaul.
As for Sandberg, who in his expanded role is taking on a lot of the day-to-day editorial work, he wants to move CR beyond being a “personal outlet” for Roitfeld.
“Although CR is Carine’s magazine and she’s still very much present…now that the magazine is established, where is it heading?” Sandberg said. “That’s what we want to explore.”
But Roitfeld is still a star editor and stylist, meaning she’s part of the allure for creatives, models and celebrities to work with the magazine. Roe Ethridge, a photographer who shot three of the six covers for the spring/summer issue, said being asked to do so by Roitfeld “is like the cool movie version of being a photographer.”
Roitfeld for one is happy with the redesign and the fresh talent coming in, with the spreads maintaining her sense of louche irreverence and the new logo inspired by magazines of the Seventies and Eighties.
“I don’t want to be a dusty brand, I want to be a young brand,” Roitfeld said. “The worst is to become comfortable, then you become old…it’s a question of spirit.”
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