“I’m much more prude than her, maybe,” admits Julia. “I think I’m actually a bit more narrow-minded than her.” Take Trainspotting, the surreal heroin ode that came out when she was 15. “She’d be like, ‘Oh, there’s this new English movie, they have a playlist with all the bands you like, let’s see it.’”
In 2002, at 17, Vlad was sent to New York by himself to prep for American university. He ended up at the University of Southern California, which worked because he wanted to work in film. Growing up, “I was really into Westerns. I think I always had this admiration for the U.S. as a kid, and I think that this was the image of the cowboy. This very strong, powerful man, a horse, saloons, and beautiful ladies.”
At USC, Vlad found his fantasy of American college life, with its football games and skateboarding to class. There were other aristocrats there, too. In 2005, he and Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos were featured in W in a piece called “Big Men on Campus,” which recounted undergraduate activities like hitting Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg’s and dropping by the Vanity Fair Oscar party.
Vlad got an internship working for producer Lynda Obst. “He had the best shoes,” she remembers. “He did everything every other intern does. The great perk was getting to drive me on the golf cart.” She liked him as her driver, because he didn’t interrogate her about the industry. So she would ask him questions; Obst has a son around his age. One day she asked him if his mother worked. “He said, ‘Yes, she’s a magazine editor.’ I said, ‘Oh, what does she edit?’ ‘Oh, French Vogue.’ Holy mother of God.” Obst says he was very well liked: “He made no effort to be pushy or grand.”
During Julia’s senior year at Parsons, Tom Ford decided that she was going to be the face of his perfume Black Orchid. “It didn’t come out until after I graduated,” says Julia. “I didn’t want to get this kind of attention when I was still in school. As kids, it didn’t mean much that my parents were in the fashion industry, but when I was at school, everyone is like, ‘What is your last name?’”
Carine is aware of the bind, and the advantages, her kids have. She wants Julia to not be just “daughter of,” and worries Vlad is so polite he might get walked over. But she and her partner sent them to New York—for a reason. “There’s a lot more possibility than maybe you can have in Paris. And in a way we almost raised them with this idea.”