We’re attempting to reclaim normalcy this week. Hopefully nothing technical will blow up, right?
This week’s magazine is CR Book. This magazine is published 2x a year in New York. It began as a personal project of fashion-industry insider, Carine Roitfeld, in late 2011.
Roitfeld grew up in Paris, and began working as a model. She was comfortable in the fashion industry, and worked her way up as a stylist and writer at Elle France for 15 years. While working there, she met Mario Testino on a photo shoot. Their creative collaborations became some of the most influential fashion art of the 1990s. The two collaborated on Tom Ford’s well known ad campaigns of the period, which instantly gave Gucci a new sexy edge.
From there, she was appointed to Editor in Chief of Vogue Paris in 2000. She continued to work closely with Testino while she was there, and their elegant, sexy work helped update the title. In 2001 Roitfeld left Conde Nast, (publisher of Vogue) in order to pursue her own projects. One of the first was to style the September 2011 issue of V magazine. Shortly thereafter she began working on CR Book, her own fashion press vision.
Roitfeld has also been global fashion director of Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar since 2012. In 2016 she and Hearst negotiated further support of CR Book from the Hearst Organization, which took over the online content (read “monetization”) of the project from its original publisher, Gan Fashion Media Group.
The world which Roitfeld creates in CR Book carries Diana Vreeland’s famous ideal of vulgarity a few steps further. Vreeland wrote in her autobiography that “I’m a great believer in vulgarity – if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika.” CR Book brings us a lushly photographed world where the people wear fabulous designer clothes juxtaposed with weird accessories and circus sideshow poses. It’s a colorful world, lush with details and accessories, but completely lacking the understated aesthetic of earlier decades in fashion styling.
This world is playful, expensive, thought provoking, and hints at a tiny bit of stylized danger, if the viewer plays along. It’s more like a visit to P.S. I, MoMA’s visionary contemporary gallery, than a romp through a glossy fashion mag. Issue 12 even quotes famous people (Salvador Dali, Lewis Caroll, and eminem, to name a few) celebrating their weirdness. Another aspect is that the editorial in CR Book has consistently been some of the most inclusive in our collection. While predominantly visual, the articles attack conceptual topics like human speed, accessibility, and commoditization of information. It’s a smart ride, but not a relaxing one. Which is the point. Time and fashion wait for no one, not even us.