The legendary fashion editor speaks on Paris vs. New York, her mantra of the minute, and the secrets of traveling in high style
The relentlessly glossy woman who defined the essence of Parisian chic has lately found herself spending more time across the Atlantic, laying the foundations of her now two-year-old style bible CR Fashion Book, of which she is Founder and Editor-in-Chief. With new perspective on the city that never sleeps, Roitfeld recently spoke to us about her life and times on both coasts, and why she’s not about to give up Paris for New York—or vice versa—anytime soon.
My New New York
I recently completely changed my perspective on New York. I used to feel very stressed and overworked here. Now when I come to New York, I prefer to stay very quiet, not make a lot of plans, and take my time to enjoy the city. Even just to sit and relax in a park. I watch the traffic but I’m not down in it. I think if you don’t protect yourself you can lose your mind in New York. But I feel much more rooted now.
New York and Paris, I Love You Both
It's very exciting to be in New York. The people you meet in the street are so interesting. It's much easier in New York to mix people together. Paris, by contrast, feels like a provincial city—very private, the state of the bourgeoisie. Paris is all about being gray. All of the paintings of Paris are gray. New York is about extremes: very hot, very cold, very sun, very rain. New York is a bit more free-spirited. But I love both cities so much for their magic and possibilities.
The Editor’s Edit
My word of the moment is “edit.” I am constantly editing my world because I want less of everything and only the best. We should all edit more in life because it’s very healthy and freeing. Edit the clothes in your closet, edit your social schedule, edit the people you surround yourself with. Edit everything! It will lead to new energy and a much more fulfilled life.
Cinematic New York
I’ve spent a lot of time at [The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel]. It's iconic and cinematic. This is really New York for me. I love that when you take the elevator at The Carlyle you always bump into someone you like.
I’ve worked a lot with Terry Richardson, and he surprised me one day when he suggested we have lunch at The Carlyle for the roast chicken. It’s not the kind of place you’d imagine him, but we had a great lunch surrounded by uptown ladies and the food was amazing.
My granddaughter speaks French with an American accent, which is funny to me. I don’t see her very often so we don’t need to do anything in particular when we’re together. It’s enough to just visit her at home or go to the diner for macaroni and cheese. I really like that. I don’t have snob expectations.
I love the island of Ponza off the western Italian coast because it's very rough and there are no hotels. You see people walking barefoot. I love St. Petersburg because it's where my family is from and I feel at home there even if it’s very cold. I also recently rediscovered the south of France, which is so close by for us Parisians that we take it for granted. But I love it.
I take a lot of flights and long ones too. Here is my greatest in-flight tip: I always bring my own belongings with me: my own jogging, my own sleeping mask, my own slippers, my own blanket, my own perfume. These things don’t take up much space but they give you a sense of comfort and a feeling of home. It’s like having your own little cocoon.
I always pack the same things when I travel: a Rick Owens skirt, something from Comme des Garçons, always a pair of high heels, always some silk lingerie for a feminine touch. I love diamonds—which is a dangerous habit—and I think it's a shame to keep jewelry locked away in a safe. So now I wear diamonds even when I travel, and if I lose them, then life goes on.