Movie Review: "Mademoiselle C"
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: Sept. 11, 2013
Directed by: Fabien Constant
Stars: 2.5 out of 5
"Mademoiselle C" is a 2013 documentary by director Fabien Constant, known for his work on "The Client" and "The Vogue Paris Fashion Night Out." As an experienced creator of documentaries on the fashion industry, Constant chose to focus on Carine Roitfeld, one of fashion's best kept secrets. Carine Roitfeld served French "Vogue" as editor in chief for an impressive ten-year span during the magazine's most illustrious era. Roitfeld has dressed and photographed every major name in the industry, and while her name is legend among the fashion elite, most casual magazine readers have never heard of her. Director Constant seeks to fix her anonymity with this fascinating documentary, chronicling her rise to fame, her tenure at Vogue, and the eventual launch of her own fashion magazine in New York City.
Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, and Donatella Versace are some of the most renowned names in the world of high fashion, and Carine Roitfeld is closely acquainted with each of them. She has worked with major celebrities and designers from around the world, including Kate Upton, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Scarlett Johansson, to name a few. The numerous industry professionals who have worked with and admire Roitfeld for what she does come out to sing her praises in this telling documentary. In spite of her established reputation, Roitfeld humorously finds herself at a loss for what to title herself. She has worked as a photographer, an editor in-chief, a consultant, and a jack of all trades when it comes to fashion. As the documentary shows, it may be easier to count the short list of things that Roitfeld hasn't done in her career rather than to attempt to name everything she has done.
Fashion maven is perhaps the term that best describes Roitfeld's role in this ever-changing industry in which success is so hard to come by. In spite of working in one of the most cutthroat fields of business, Roitfeld manages to maintain a cheerful personality and effortless charm. From the beginning, the star of the documentary is a breath of fresh air when contrasted to the big personalities and sky-high egos that surround her. Amazingly, Roitfeld has managed to stay down-to-earth in spite of her phenomenal success. Roitfeld herself speculates that her ability to go unnoticed outside of industry events helps her maintain a more balanced life than many of her peers. She may not be able to shirk away from the spotlight for much longer as a new generation of fashion enthusiasts becomes acquainted with her life and work through this film.
Sarah Jessica Parker plays a major role in "Mademoiselle C," discussing the work of the woman who has become her style icon. In fact, Parker acknowledges that Roitfeld was a major source of inspiration for Carrie, her character in the wildly successful "Sex and the City" television franchise that launched its own film series. In "Sex and the City," Carrie Bradshaw is a talented fashion writer who boasts an impressive collection of designer shoes and dreams of socializing with the fashion industry elites. Carrie's wardrobe is the envy of numerous women around the world, filled with the latest eye-catching designs and statement pieces. Like Roitfeld, Carrie climbed her way to the top of the fashion magazine industry and made her name by commenting on the style of the stars.
While fashion fanatics will undoubtedly gush over this documentary, filled with elite designers, models, and gorgeous fashion, "Mademoiselle C" holds plenty of appeal for the casual viewer as well. Anyone who appreciates an inside look at a major industry will enjoy this candid glimpse behind the runway curtains. Roitfeld and her famous peers discuss the ins and outs of the world of fashion without shying away from its controversies. Roitfeld herself is known for some of the most edgy and controversial photography shoots in the business, inspiring headlines and even some outrage among social activists. Roitfeld defends her creative choices, and her fans and peers alike attest to how her creativity and willingness to push the boundaries of convention helped open the doors to the wild world of fashion that we know today.
"Mademoiselle C" features a significant amount of commentary and interview segments in Roitfeld's native French tongue, but easy-to-read subtitles make this film accessible for everyone. This documentary has something to offer everyone, whether the viewer is someone who likes to stay on top of all the latest trends or simply enjoys an intimate look into the life of one of the world's most successful creative geniuses. Roitfeld may be through with her term as editor in chief of French "Vogue," but it's clear that the world has even more to look forward to from this fashion game changer in the future.