Exclusive First Look: Carine Roitfeld’s Ballet-Themed CR Issue

Photo: Courtesy of Carine Roitfeld

Carine Roitfeld is releasing bits of her second CR Fashion Book today, and the Cut has an exclusive first look at her editor’s letter. In keeping with Roitfeld’s mission to give each issue its own tightly focused theme, she has devoted this issue to ballet — an art form she has explored personally during the past few years, although perhaps more for her butt’s benefit than anyone else’s. Anyway, here’s her editor’s letter in full; check back for more exclusives on the issue later today

The themes in CR are always very close to my heart. Last year, with my daughter pregnant and me becoming a new grandmother, I devoted my premiere issue to rebirth and filled the magazine with babies and mothers and concepts of renewal. This season, I’m exploring another personal obsession: dance. And specifically ballet.

I became attracted to ballet firstly because it is an art that requires elegance, faith, rigor, and refusal. Having taken up ballet in the last two years, I’ve experienced firsthand the pain and pleasure (but mostly pain) in every chassé and plié. Ballet is hard work, and it is one of the last art forms that is done with pure motives — ballet stars rarely sign huge endorsement deals or become world famous. More likely they are real people giving themselves fully to one passion. Quite simply, there is no other way. Because ballet is an art form that breaks the body and the soul. There is a fragility that I find inspiring. (I also think it’s interesting that death is such a common theme in ballet… all of those exquisite dancers facing mortality each night, only to be reborn once the curtain falls.)

Ballet developed largely in France, so in a way this issue is also a subtle tribute to my home country. My current inspiration is Marie-Agnès Gillot, a 37-year-old french dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet who is brilliant, beautiful, and completely devoted to her craft. Yet what I find most intriguing about her is that she is not a dainty ballerina. You get the feeling she is a real person who is fully devoted to the sensual world. For her feature, Marie-Agnès conducts an interview with the legendary (and long-dead) dancer Vaslav Nijinksy, who speaks from beyond the grave about sex and seduction, life and death. A star of today paired with a mythic talent of the past… this is everything I love.

Elsewhere in the magazine we uncover a new generation of dancers who interpret tradition in wild and wonderful ways. like the young Ukrainian-born Sergei Polunin, who, with his ability to leap meters into the air, has been called the Nijinksy of today and is photographed for us by the director Gus Van Sant. Throughout the issue you’ll find new works by Karen Kilimnik, one of my favorite artists and also a fan of ballet. It feels like a dream to find myself in her world, which is filled with fantasy and a certain sincere magic. 

Of course you’ll also find Spring fashion, dancing, jumping, gliding, and jetéing across every page. By the end, you yourself may be inspired to go en pointe. But even if you are not, I hope you close this issue with an admiration for those who do. Simply for the love of it.


Exclusive: Carine Roitfeld’s Ballet-Themed CR