My personal style signifier is my uniform: a knee-length Rick Owens skirt, a black jacket with a waist – I have one and like to accentuate it – high heels, bare legs and the hair, which is usually a bit in the face. When I started at French Vogue more than 20 years ago, all the other girls were wearing jeans, so I thought I had to be different. I wear high heels because they make you stand straight.   

The last thing I bought and loved was a black velvet Saint Laurent jacket and a pair of yellow-green shoes from Loewe. I’m usually all in black so I like to wear colourful shoes, and I like velvet for the evening – it gives you a touch of chicness. 

Loewe pumps, a recent purchase
Loewe pumps, a recent purchase © Julien Lienard
Family photographs, books and objets in her sitting room
Family photographs, books and objets in her sitting room © Julien Lienard

The place that means a lot to me is my apartment in Paris. I recently crossed the river from the Left Bank to the Right, which for a Parisian means the world. I much prefer it. It’s cooler, less snobbish, and I now have an apartment with a long balcony and chaise longue. It’s on Avenue Montaigne, near the flagship store of Alaïa, which used to be a clinic. I was born in that clinic so I’ve come full circle. It’s like a rebirth.

I’ve wanted to work in fashion since I was 10 years old. My mother got French Elle delivered each week, and I loved it, but I never told anyone because at the time you looked superficial and stupid if you wanted to work in fashion. What I love about fashion is the teamwork – and the fantasies I can put into my work.

Roitfeld in her Paris apartment
Roitfeld in her Paris apartment © Julien Lienard

The best book I’ve read in the past year is The Gambler by Dostoevsky. I’m very into Russian novels and can read and reread them. Otherwise I’m about to start Britney Spears’s memoir. She’s had so many problems in her life but seems like a lovely person. I want to know more about her.

My style icon is Marchesa Luisa Casati, a beautiful Italian woman who went to lots of parties and was very eccentric. She had cheetahs as pets and wore a lot of black eye make-up. Her look was crazy but there was style in the craziness. I also like Hitchcock’s girls, who are totally not me because they’re blonde and wear beige cashmere and skirts, but they’re very chic.

The best gift I’ve given recently was an ST Dupont lighter, which I bought for my son, Vladimir. He’s moving into a new apartment, so I bought him a vintage silver one for his coffee table. The noise it makes when you open it is fantastic: “tup tup”.  

A Dupont cigarette lighter
A Dupont cigarette lighter © Julien Lienard
The pendant necklace by César that she wears almost daily
The pendant necklace by César that she wears almost daily © Julien Lienard

And the best gift that I’ve received was a necklace by the French sculptor César, from my friend Olivier Bialobos at Dior about 15 years ago. The pendant is a compression of old bits of jewellery. I wear it almost every day – it’s maybe my most precious object. 

The item of clothing I’d save from a fire would be the black-and-white Galliano dress that Mario Testino gave me 18 years ago. I still fit into it. I’d also save my leopard-print coat from Riccardo Tisci and my fake crocodile jacket from Tom Ford. They’re very sentimental, but otherwise I don’t have a lot. People are always surprised by the size of my wardrobe. Even when I travel for two weeks, I just take a carry-on.

Photographs from films and fashion shoots
Photographs from films and fashion shoots © Julien Lienard
A family portrait and a collection of awards
A family portrait and a collection of awards © Julien Lienard

The last song I downloaded was Blur’s “End of a Century” because I’ve been in England. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Damon [Albarn]. 

In my fridge you won’t find a lot, but I have vodka in the freezer. We Russians drink vodka at room temperature, so I keep it in the freezer for my guests. Sometimes I buy one with Bison grass, which gives it a herb flavour, but everything works for me – I’m very accepting of all vodkas.

I’ve recently discovered gardening. Since having my balcony, I’ve spent a lot of time planting jasmine. Before, I would just put flowers in a vase. Now I cut them myself. It’s good to take the time to do things.

Wearing the John Galliano dress given to her by Mario Testino 18 years ago
Wearing the John Galliano dress given to her by Mario Testino 18 years ago © Julien Lienard
Her own perfumes in the bathroom
Her own perfumes in the bathroom © Julien Lienard
Her collection of Dupont cigarette lighters
Her collection of Dupont cigarette lighters © Julien Lienard

The thing I couldn’t do without is my perfume. It’s like a second skin. When I was at Vogue, I would mix Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium with Serge Lutens’s Fleurs d’Oranger, so that was my first creation. It left a trail wherever I went; people would say, “Carine was here.” I launched my brand in 2019, and just made my ninth scent. If I want to be feminine or sexy, I’ll put on Forgive Me. If I feel a bit boyish, I might wear Vladimir or Sebastian. They all contain patchouli, which is one of my favourite smells. When I was young, I would go to Indian stores and buy patchouli extract because it was cheap. It’s become my DNA. £210 for 90ml,

An indulgence I would never forgo is my blow-dry. I hate washing my hair. I don’t like water in general and the shower is something horrible for me, so I go to the salon at the corner of my street, Jean-Claude Biguine. I don’t need a lot, but this is my treat. 

Jasmine growing on the apartment balcony
Jasmine growing on the apartment balcony © Julien Lienard

I recently got my first tattoos, which I had done last year. On one finger I have Odessa, where my family is from, in Russian letters. I also have the Orthodox cross, a red bracelet of thorns and the initials of people I love in Russian. I started late but it means I’ve had a long time to decide what to get. 

The objects I would never part with are my grandmother’s icons from Odessa. “Babushka” lived opposite my school and would stand outside each day at 11.30am waiting for my brother and me with orange juice and a little bread with caviar. Can you imagine? We were very well-raised.

In her Tom Ford faux crocodile jacket
In her Tom Ford faux crocodile jacket © Julien Lienard

The fashion moment that changed everything for me was the Gucci “Public Enemy” campaign where we shaved a G [on the model’s pubic hair]. Tom Ford didn’t want to do it so I had to push them to do it. And it was a huge success. Now everyone references it for inspiration. I never think about what I want to do in advance. It’s always very spontaneous.

The beauty staples I’m never without are my Chanel black kohl liner and a bit of sparkle to give that wet look. It’s become my signature. I’ve also been seeing my facialist Hervé Herau for 10 years and only use his products: my favourites are La Pommade and La Potion. Hervé Hérau La Pommade, €115, and La Potion, €105; Chanel Stylo Yeux Longwear eyeliner, £26, and Le Crayon Khôl, £26;

My favourite room in my house is my guest toilet. It’s a crazy gallery of photos and presents, including things Karl [Lagerfeld] gave me and drawings from my granddaughter. People tend to stay there for a long time.

Fashion portraits in her bathroom
Fashion portraits in her bathroom © Julien Lienard

My beauty and wellbeing gurus are my boxing teacher, Bruno Guillon – I’ve been seeing him for five or six years and he always brings positive vibes – and my dance teacher, Marie Perruchet. I have a lot of back problems, so I need to do sports, which is very boring.

My favourite app is Deliveroo. I don’t cook, so I’m a very Deliveroo person. It’s my speciality. 

Issues of the CR Fashion Book
Issues of the CR Fashion Book © Julien Lienard
A display of vintage Salvador Daií scent
A display of vintage Salvador Daií scent © Julien Lienard

In another life, I would have loved a job where I could have my own schedule. Do you know what is boring? Every time I’m doing a job, I have to follow someone else’s schedule. And my birthday is always in Milan. Why? Because it’s during Milan Fashion Week. I would love to have more freedom. Maybe I would have been an author.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Basquiat. I saw the exhibition of Basquiat and Egon Schiele at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2018, and it touched me. I’m not the only one. It’s the reason his work is so expensive.

My favourite building is the National Museum of Qatar. I was lucky to go to Doha during the 2022 World Cup for the Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway show and saw this amazing building by Jean Nouvel. It’s in the shape of a desert rose and very stunning.

The leather-bound “ideas” notebook that she takes everywhere
The leather-bound “ideas” notebook that she takes everywhere © Julien Lienard
Packets of Gitanes and a family portrait
Packets of Gitanes and a family portrait © Julien Lienard

I don’t listen to podcasts. Sometimes someone will suggest one and I’ll listen, but honestly, I think they’re boring. 

Some of my best ideas have come from waiting in lounges when I’m travelling. I don’t need to go to an exhibition; I’m always inspired.

The best bit of advice I ever received was from Karl Lagerfeld. He always told me to surprise people. After I left Vogue and started CR Fashion Book, people expected me to do something with clothes, so I went into perfume instead. It was also a way to have a legacy. Fashion is very seasonal, but when you create a good perfume, it becomes a classic. 

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