Since she left French Vogue, Carine Roitfeld doesn't have to wear a tight skirt every day, which was her uniform at the magazine. She recently conducted a very interesting interview with Spiegel wearing, she said, "a no-name T-shirt from Los Angeles, corduroy jeans by Current Elliot and satin shoes I had custom-made in violet. So the glamour's limited to my feet." Spiegel tries to get her to say that fashion is a vapid and absurd industry and asks her how she can possibly be normal having worked the majority of her life in it. "My only drug is a small glass of vodka in the evening, if that's what you're asking," she replies. But surely, Spiegel presses, people who spend massive amounts of money on clothing and taking pictures of clothing and trying to look a certain way must make them bad people (never mind the massive amounts of money people spend on tickets to sports games or concerts or New York real estate):
SPIEGEL: Does this world of vanity, in which fortunes are spent on trivial things, corrupt people?
Roitfeld: The fashion industry certainly has its obscene sides. The cost of a coat can be obscene. So can the cost of a photo shoot if you're working with a really good photographer. But when I see how good the photos have turned out or even how well the coat was made or how many people worked on it, it's not quite so obscene anymore. Of course, it's not like we're working in a hospital; we don't save lives every month. We just make decisions about skirt lengths, about an inch more or an inch less. That's all.
SPIEGEL: Did that ever seem pointless to you?
Roitfeld: For 10 years, it was a hell of a lot of fun. But, toward the end, it unfortunately got less and less fun. You used to be able to be more playful, but now it's all about money, results and big business. The prêt-à-porter shows have become terribly serious. The atmosphere isn't as electric as it once was, and they now have about as much charm as a medical conference. But it takes just one good fashion show to get things exciting again.
Maybe that's why the fashion world is so in love with John Galliano (though commercialism was easily detectable in his work for Dior) — and so willing to forgive his anti-Semitic outbursts. Carine offers:
I had no idea how unhappy John Galliano must have been. You have to be very unhappy and lonely to praise Hitler in public while completely drunk. The House of Dior has always addressed a range of topics, for example, by having haute couture shows on homelessness where all the models look like people living on the street. But drunkenly shouting "I love Hitler" and calling people in a bar a "dirty Jew-face" is unacceptable. I don't think he really believes what he said; they were simply the actions of a drunk.