Carine Roitfeld was a freelance fashion editor at French Vogue and I was the newly appointed menswear designer at Yves Saint Laurent when we met in 1998. She was the first person to see my debut collection. As she did with many other designers of my generation, she was the first to support it in the press. Together with Saint Laurent and his business partner, Pierre Bergé, she helped launch my career. And as always, she did it genuinely, without any kind of speculation or personal agenda.
Carine, 53, has always been a charismatic Parisian, one of the most Parisian women I know, in every detail of her life. She has immaculate taste, and she is beyond unconventional in her thinking. With time I discovered that we shared a few principles: a preference for the "now" rather than the "new," a preference for imperfection rather than so-called good taste and an attitude driven by intuition rather than reason. Most of all, she has an innate ability to mix street culture and society, always avoiding the caricatures that can define both worlds and always recognizing the mix of both worlds as the only catalyst of energy and creativity.
Now the editor in chief of French Vogue, she is influential almost without knowing it. By choosing influence over power, she has an effortless credibility. Her definition of fashion is clearly hedonistic, embracing fashion's immediacy but with a broad cultural vision that puts everything in perspective. She has always been fully committed to fashion and also gracious to all. She plays by her own refreshing rules, not by the kindergarten politics that often governs the business.
No one would assume she does not know or talks without knowing. Every day, from 9 a.m., she simply acts and looks as if there is no misunderstanding about her job. She is progressive and perfectly behaved and an inspiration for fashion designers.
Slimane is the former designer for Christian Dior Homme
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