Anna Wintour Flexes Her Muscle While Carine Roitfeld Plays Second Fiddle in Her Own Turf

Written By bryanboy

Anna Wintour Flexes Her Muscle While Carine Roitfeld Plays Second Fiddle in Her Own Turf

On January 25, Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld and the French Industry Minister, Christian Estrosi, had a meeting to discuss the future of French fashion and what the French government can do to help the (struggling) fashion industry.

Oh how I laughed when I first saw these images. This is what happens if you put Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and Hilary Clinton together. Look at their body language… and look how Carine graciously distanced herself from Anna and Christian.

Anna Wintour, Christian Estrosi, Carine Roitfeld in Paris

A brilliant display of power (Anna) and sportsmanship (Carine) right there!

Dramalamama, aye caramba Anna Carinnenana. Doesn’t it look like a scene out of a movie? You know, a man, his wife and a mistress? I’ll let you decide who’s the apple and who’s the orange but lady number one looks immaculate in her well-fitted suit,
her luxurious chinchilla fur collar and of course, her impeccable
coiffure — not a hair out of sight. Meanwhile, lady number two is one sexy, hot cougarlicious mess: striking zebra
coat, ferocious trademark raccoon eyes and matching brothel hair. 

Upon further thought (yes, I know it doesn’t happen very often but unfortunately for me and you, I *do* like to exercise my brain from time to time to burn calories), I realized these photos represent a very bittersweet state of affairs. I could only imagine how intense, and to a certain extent, how embarrassing, it must have been to Carine that Mama Wintour is taking proactive measures — in her own turf.

Click click click!

According to Reuters, Anna personally called for a meeting with the French Minister in order for her to share her views about the fashion industry.

It’s amazing how this power trio meeting happened.

Where’s Mademoiselle Agnes in all this?

Some of you might remember what Anna said last October at the Loic Prigent documentary, Habillees.

I think it’s totally important for all of us in the American fashion
industry to support the young designers, and I think that’s why New
York’s become such a vibrant fashion center, because people go there
not only to see the Donna Karans of the world but a whole new
generation. I’m just so sorry that there isn’t something like that in
Paris that’s similar. I think that they should look for the younger
generation here [in Paris] as well. Not only New York but London really
supports their young talent; Franca Sozzani at Italian Vogue
supports the young Italian designers, and I think when France is so
known for its fashion industry — for them not to be reaching out to
help younger people today is really a shame. [Agnes: “And there’s space in your pages for them.”] There’s space in everybody’s pages.

don’t get me wrong. I love Carine Roitfeld. Not only she’s influential
and highly-respected in the industry, she’s also incredibly charming
and genuinely charismatic. Lord knows how many times we’ve crossed
paths. She’s my hero! (Ok, Aliona Doletskaya is my hero but still…
haha). Anyway, I’ve met Carine a handful of times and she’s always
smiling, plus, she’s always game for photos. And her work in her
magazine, no doubt, speaks for herself. She’s the queen of cool,

However, when all is said and done, how many (young) French
designers’ careers have flourished to stratospheric heights (other than Christophe Decarnin, or not necessarily French but, Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy)
during Carine’s tenure at Vogue Paris? Has she used her power and
influence to build, mentor and nurture young Parisian designers?

For the sake of French designers and the industry as a whole, it’s fabulous that Anna’s taking the initiative.

I think it’s time for Carine to step her game up.

Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld

Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld

Last, but not the least…

Anna Wintour

And Virginia Smith?
That’s all.

Mwah mwah.

photo via afp, daily life


  1. Anna’s plan to destroy Paris Fashion!
    In the world where the internet exists, everyone knows every detail that it going on at the industry. The most talkative blogger, who has it all! Brian Boy, informed use that Anna had a meeting with the head of French ministry of industry.
    She has ideas to support young designers and also to protect big luxury brands like Dior and Hermes from recession.
    As WSJ says Anna is responsible for the NY fashion growth, and we should not forget that whatever Anna did was without any help or loan from the government. There are ideas about giving loans to the fashion brands. It is socialist fashion and no one can survive from this horrible concept. Only a talented gentleman like Karl Lagerfeld would understand what a tragedy it could bring to the fashion industry.
    Soon the French National Assembly would start sessions to decide what fabric we should use at the next Chanel couture show. The worse result is what happens when the anti fashion groups start protesting against us!? Anna! Your choice would destroy Paris fashion.
    In the world of luxury no one needs the help of government, a truly luxury brand is a brand that would survive at any economic circumstances. It’s so easy, think that you have 1000 members at a community and only 10 people could afford your product. No matter what income they have, those 10 people would always be your target costumer. If sending free goods to celebrities or using bloggers to support the products no longer works, we should blame the Hermes’s and Dior’s Marketers.
    Those marketers work for the people who can not afford the products. Its non-sense, the target costumer it not the one who earns less that 200k$ a year, and those who earn would not spend their time looking at the celebrities.
    The fashion industry growth is done without the help of the government and it’ll continue to do so. Let’s face it there is nothing incredible about a Hermes bag, other than marketing, and so the costumer would rather to buy a bag from a good Marketer not a good designer with the government support!
    I can see the collapse of the Paris fashion after such decisions. They just do not get it! Poor people already hate fashion world probably because Anna says they are left out, but after such decisions and spending their money to build luxury brands I’ll give them the support to protest against our world ( as Anna says at the beginning of September Issues).
    The only intelligent man who works in fashion industry is Karl Lagerfeld. He knows that fashion needs to be advertised; He has the incredible business power. He has done a great job at Chanel, and I know he would not believe on communism. As a truly capitalist he knows what a luxury customer wants, it’s better to just listen to him rather than Anna who has plans to destroy independent Paris Fashion industry.

  2. Gams Laughing

    nice blog entry! i remember back then how i realized the uncanny resemblance of the actress (that starred as the “French Vogue Editor”)to Carine.. was that just a coincidence?

  3. AdhiPuTaw

    Hell YEAH, Pouyan! I totally feel you. I don’t need to say anything more. But I’m curious, why did Anna opt for government-intervention in Paris while remaining somewhat Libertarian in USA? I’d rather see the entire fashion industry independent from the government (which is naturally corrupt, by the way), anytime.

  4. Boy, the tycoons of fashion meet !!!Good article.Hey I was just wondering how popular designers are?Do they get fan mail?Do they reply to them?Any idea?

  5. AdhiPuTaw

    Reply to Bryanboy: about your suggestion that Carine should make more use of her power and influence to support young designers, I think—and you should know this better—that Carine is laid back. I don’t think Carine would care for something as political as that. She seems to see fashion for fashion and as a source of profound excitement. As long as she, and us, still get those from Karl, John, Nicolas, and others at Paris, perhaps it would not matter whether there’s new designer or not.

    One more thing, BB: dude, you crack me up! I love your writing style and I smiled everytime you do that imitation of The Devil Wears Prada.

    And Bryanboy?
    That’s all.

  6. Georgina

    Wow that was a very bold and funny article.The best thing about you is that you give a new dimension to even mundance events like fashion editiors meeting the minister.No wonder you rock Bryan Boy! I’m actually liking the fresh and indepedant voices of fashion bloggers.Hey I found another fashion blog mocking Garzia’s fashion editor for taking a dig at Tavi for her hat( was so funny!!lol

  7. Great article Bryanboy! As a struggling designer in Paris, I have to say that I disagree with Pouyan Ghasemi’s comments. Karl is brilliant for sure but here in Paris, for us poor designers who have barely money to show/market our brands, it really hurts to see that the French fashion industry doesn’t support us, they only support a few French designers with money or connections. There isn’t any REAL funds to help us and all those so called design awards in Europe, their usual criteria is that you HAVE TO have already a sales channel for at least two years plus the press coverage – so if you don’t already have the budget to do shows every season, you don’t get the chance of getting any of that! I’ve tried so many ways of contacting the press and buyers to come to see my collection but nobody bothered coz I guess I don’t give out free goodie bags, shoes, etc, like big houses do. I sure hope that the French government will help us young designers more.

  8. Darling, Anna Wintour was just there for being shoot; you don’t actually think the most powerful fashion industry in the world needs her or Carine’s opinion, right?

  9. I tend to agree that Paris’s fashion is better off without too much government intervention. Paris has attracted talent from all over the world for more than a century (remember it is an Englishman, Worth, who created Haute Couture). As a result, the fashion magazines have been extremely outward looking. To a certain extent, this has been to the detriment of young French fashion. However, let’s not forget young French designers like Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciage, Christophe Lemaire at Lacoste… It’s not all doom and gloom but the French fashion designers could do with the chauvinistic (sorry: patriotic) support English, American, Italian etc. fashion designers receive in their own country!(Come to think of it: the whole French creative industries would benefit from a more open press.)

  10. David, it’s true that we got Nicolas at Balenciaga, Christophe at Lacoste but they are all designers ALREADY ESTABLISHED with supports of big financial groups here. In New York, there are so many younger designers who are now running their own brands and doing very well just like in London and Milan but Paris remains the showcase warehouse of big fashion houses. Small designers just aren’t given any room nor help at all, French or not. Government intervention is not really what we need but at least more support both financially and artiscially from Carine and the French Chamber Syndical (who often can’t be bothered with us small unknown designers who can’t afford to publish campaign in magazines or do shows).

  11. AdhiPuTaw

    Well, not that I’m being antipathic to you, but I’d rather see you and other young designers reach the top by your own, unintervened-by-the-government-in-any-way effort. We have to remember that none of the big fashion houses in France—not Chanel, not Dior, not Vuitton, not anybody—started big and helped by the government in their early years. Those houses went through a lot of work too and I think that you should undergo the same independent effort.

    Press and buyers haven’t been interested to see your collection? Then maybe you should try smaller audience, and build their loyalty. Perhaps you could engage with alternative media as well, like Bryanboy and other bloggers. Send them photos of your collection.

    I am not a senior designer who has been through all that so I’m not trying to lecture you here, but believe me, I will respect you so much more, whoever you are, if you flourish using your own resources instead of sucking in taxpayers’ money as Anna suggested fashion houses should be doing.

  12. AdhiPuTaw

    Dude, it’s me again. I don’t know how long you’ve been designing but if you haven’t got any attention from any media for so long then you gotta investigate why. Perhaps you need some introspection.

    You want Carine’s support? Answer these first: why would she? What value could there be for her and French Vogue in helping you out? Why have you remained unknown to Carine and fashion industry leaders?

    I am not surprised that “Paris remains the showcase warehouse of big fashion houses”. The analogy for it is like this: why would I watch a teenage girl next door perform her version of ‘Single Ladies’ when Beyonce herself is performing live on full throttle a few blocks away? I think new American designers can flourish in New York partially because New York fashion does not have a “Beyonce” to compete with, if you understand what I mean.

    Again, I mean no hostility.

  13. bb, i thought the exact same thing when i read about this. i think anna could’ve done it with a bit more sensitivity.

  14. i think.., its all about preservation of art.., for example.., Dior is a very iconic french brand or house it’s like protecting Monalisa.., and that’s what the french government is up to.., :)

  15. Cliff: Ghesquière and Lemaire are not even 40. This is still young. Why did they manage to get support when other ones have not?
    The quality of the people who have been to the Ecole of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne is undoubted. They are second to none. But why do so few manage to become famous/established? I think the answer is that people at Central Saint-Martin’s, Parsons etc. know how to market themselves. What a young designer in France needs to do is to show work that will convince journalists and venture capitalists; and to show it IN A WAY that will convince them.
    What with living in the UK, I think that the problem might be quite the opposite of what the American Mireille Matthieu at Vogue is actually saying. The UK Press is actually littered with crap ‘young’ designers, whose only claim to fame is that they are British and the British Press is incredibly chauvinistic. I don’t want to hear of another graduate from CSM whose work shows s/he does not understand a single thing about cutting in the droit fil or in the bias… They’ll be up and coming for a season, then gone forever. I have seen two who made it in Vogue at 21 and are now shopping assistants at Selfridge’s and BHS on Oxford St.

  16. Eh, quite personally I don’t care for Anna Wintour. I always found that American fashion feels much more commercial than French, almost too appealing to the American way of life, which is often subject to mockery and a sort of ‘simpleton’ label the world over. I do feel though that the French in particular treated their designers as artists rather than people trying to run a business, and while this is a spectacular notion of which I am very much supportive of, I think in times of economic difficulty you need to change your strategy to be able to sell. I don’t know, I guess it’s hard to establish yourself in France as a young designer simply because you’re right in there with the Goliaths of the industry. There are a number though that do survive, and while they don’t reach international notoriety they are locally popular. But as far as that goes, I think that editorials, for instance, try to keep an even saturation of international brands. In the US there is space to grow, but France? If the same were to occur there as in the states, wouldn’t there be almost too strong a Franco-domination? I think that fashion-wise France is already too well established as it is, and that the harsh reality is that there is no space for any new designers because of the glass ceiling they must reside under. After all, how can you compete with a fashion house that has been around for nearly a century?

  17. Love Anna, Carine, BB, and The Devil Wears Prada references! That’s all.

  18. You have to give what is from Anna to Anna, she’s done a tremendous job in New York. All the new designer ITS HER. TAKOON, ALTAZURRA, ALEXANDER WANG, you name them. For has much has I love Carine for her work she should really be proactive in her field.

  19. Hi AdhipuTaw, thanks for the comments and hostility not taken. I don’t know how much you are involved in the fashion industry but it’s very hard to reach the top on your own especially with an extremely tight budget. I used to be senior designers for a few famous houses for 7 years and I saved up some money to launch on my own two years ago. I would love to reach the top on my own on a smaller scale but it’s extremely expensive to do a small budget show coz you need to pay the models, hair and make up people plus renting the place, lighting, seating, press, etc. I know some people from my old jobs but they aren’t gonna help you out for free especially with today’s economy. Most of my savings are used to purchase quality fabrics and sewing and I do my own patterns/draping and tons of sewing as well plus invitations, calls, emails. And you were right, why should Carine help me? I don’t have the money to pay a 50000 euro page ad in her magazine so what’s the point right?! And I haven’t got any attention coz I don’t have enough money to do shows. I did submit my look books to Carine but of course, I guess the girl next door just ain’t good enough compares to Beyonce and that explains why.

  20. David: Ghesquière was named AD since 97 and he finally got the attention 7 years ago and that’s because the house of Balenciaga believes in him and he was lucky too to have that support. Lemaire started his own brand/show 15 years ago and he got support from his ex Japanese wife who has connections and that’s how he got his backings. And after a few years of his own line, he also got appointed and he found his house at Lacoste. Others like us probably just aren’t as lucky. I’ve worked for famous houses too but never got promoted to the AD coz the houses I worked for, the brand name designers are still alive and kicking! It’s like in life, some people got lucky while others don’t even if those same people work as hard, if not harder and as talented.
    So few from the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne made it because it’s not as famous as Central Saint-Martin. I don’t think it’s that they know how to market themselves, it’s because brands and press go to see their end of the year show to pick or support them (I learnt it from a few interviews I did back in New York and in Milan) while nobody comes to the Chambre Syndicale’s show, not even the press, well, maybe just the Journal du Textile here. It’s easier to say to show journalists and venture capitalists in a way to convince them, well, they don’t even respond to invitations or calls so how do you show them? Go and hijack them at their offices? Hmm…maybe that’s what I should do…
    I totally agree with you on the crappy ‘young’ ‘British’ designers whose works are just blah but at least they got their chance to show through the British press but they blew their chances! Btw, LOVED your American Mireille Matthieu comment ! That was brilliant! lol

  21. Acdtrsh: that’s exactly what I was saying… but I guess Carine probably has the pressure of selling her magazine as well coz it’s not selling as much as the American Mireille Matthieu’s… so she has to keep her ads customers happy using only their clothes. I wish she could do something more radical than yet another Lara Stone on the cover or another story on Karl Lagerfeld and his ranch somewhere else on the planet.

  22. well, let’s just say that the brit anna has become americanized, this time its her invading paris! while carine is just being herself, typically laid back come what may attitude, typically european, typically french. just the facts of life.

  23. Of all the reviews I’ve read this week nothing is more true and at the same time f…ng genius!!! I was cracking up at all the description, because even though Carine IS the queen of cool, unfortunately Anna Wintour is the Empess. And that’s all!

  24. BB, you should write for BBC with that kind of eye for politics – which is probably more at play in fashion than in government. Those brain calories were well spent.

  25. i don;t think carine has to step up her game! i think the guy Christian Estrosi has to learn some manners! how could he leave behind him such an amazing lady? It was because of Carine that he met with Anna Wintour. Carine facilitated that meeting. Do you mean a woman should run after a man? no way….here we have two different styles but they should be respected on their own terms. and how pathetic he looks? I mean ok Anna wintour is a powerhouse but nevertheless he shouldn;t run behind her like a puppy. yes be hospitable and nice but not like that.

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