Vogue's Anna Wintour has been on a charm offensive — her contract is up, her movie is out, and she's been making the Letterman rounds. So why'd Carine Roitfeld choose today to plant/participate in a news-less fluff piece about herself?
Roitfeld, the editor of Paris Vogue, is the subject of a fawning profile by Lisa Arnold in today's Times of London. "The Ultimate Style-Setter" traces Roitfeld's immense influence over the look of the coming season, from the high street to fashion's top lights. Not only are designers Roitfeld champions personally — like Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy — experiencing success, writes Arnold, but chain stores like Marks & Spencer are imitating Roitfeld's signature style.
It almost goes without saying that they are all pushing big shoulders and a whole lot of black.
Then there is the British high street. From Oasis's fitted dresses and Mango's outlandish furry coats to Topshop's leather jackets and Miss Selfridge's strong-shouldered blazer, white shirts and leather leggings, they are all referencing her. Even M&S is at it, juxtaposing sequins, leather and Roitfeld's trademark smoky eyes.
Roitfeld, who was rumored briefly late last year to be in the running to take Wintour's job, once compared Wintour to "a puppet" in the pages of New York magazine.
Anna Wintour is known not to love the press, and will likely retreat happily into her fortress of solitude on the 12th floor of the Condé Nast building as soon as the ink is dry on her contract. (Should, of course, the negotiations be successful.) What we've seen in recent months, with the public events and the film promotions and the television appearances, is the charm offensive of someone who is neither naturally very charming, nor easily charmed. Roitfeld could have merely looked on while her rumored rival twisted in discomfort; but instead, she made sure the Times of London just happened to have all these lovely things to say about her.
Because the thing is, this whole people-imitate-Carine thing is not news. We've read this very story before. So why did Roitfeld make sure this piece ran right now, the week of The September Issue's release?