Wednesday, October 16, 2013

MADEMOISELLE C (2013)

Directed by Fabien Constant


Where & When: Laemmle's Muisc Hall, Beverly Hills, CA. September 21, 2013 3:00PM


In the documentary, "Mademoiselle C", the camera is focused on Carine Roitfeld, the raccoon-eyed French fashion stylist, former editor of Vogue Paris and muse to countless people in the industry who has decided the time is right to launch her own magazine, "CR". As a stylist, Roitfeld is not flashy or over-the-top as some of her contemporaries but she still offers a distinct vision that appears modern and forward-thinking. The film gives us a tiny peek in to her glamorous life that is a whirlwind of runways, photo shoots, parties and beautiful clothes.

Roitfeld has assembled a small staff of creatives to help her put together her publication, sets up shop in New York and then the work must begin.  We follow Roitfeld as she attends many fashion shows to select clothing as she praises the designers and rubs shoulders with the celebrities in attendance including a surprisingly subdued Kanye West who we see chat quietly with Roitfeld. She calls in favors from the top photographers and models of the world to contribute their talents which they all seem very happy to do for the opportunity to work with this legendary figure.

While the initial motivation behind this documentary was to go behind-the-scenes and witness the challenges and difficulties of starting yet another magazine devoted to fashion but what made this doc particularly intriguing was to learn more about who this stylish woman really is as Ms Roitfeld isn't well known outside of a select group of drooling groupies obsessed with every aspect of the fashion industry."Mademoiselle C" disappoints in this regard as we learn very little about her background or, more importantly, what inspires and motivates her work. The director, Fabien Constant mostly just observes his subject with his questions not particularly probing, seemingly to keep the somewhat reserved Roitfeld comfortable and compliant.

Ms Roitfeld is soft-spoken and simply very French with her bird-like frame and an effortlessly chic way of putting herself together. Also with her being French, the stylist speaks her mind but displays no strong desire to reveal too much or over share. Everyone from her staff to the designers to film and music personalities offer nothing but glowing praise for Roitfeld which is very nice but isn't nearly enough to make this documentary feel revealing or relevant. Nothing unseemly or unfashionable is ever mentioned like addressing such rumors as Roitfeld not exactly leaving Vogue on her own accord which is implied here.

She has been happily unmarried to Christian Restoin for some thirty years and they have spawned two beautiful and creative offspring; Vladimir, an art curator and his sister, Julia who has followed in her mother's footsteps as a model and fashion consultant (and was expecting the first grandchild of a very thrilled Roitfeld during filming). They all appear on behalf of the ordinary woman they love and not the style icon the world idolizes yet we still learn nothing more that can't be found on a Wikipedia page.

For those lovers of haute couture, "Mademoiselle C" will be a mesmerizing and inspirational experience. The film allows you to strut in the very high stilettos of a woman whose sharp eye and confident vision creates the perfect magical fantasy to present these clothes. While we may be seduced by Carine Roitfeld's Gallic charm and secretiveness but for those who expect a little more depth and substance from their documentaries, it would be best served to look elsewhere.