Charlie Chaplin once said, “All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.” The directors Loic Prigent and Fabien Constant had many more elements at their disposal in crafting their documentary, The Client, commissioned by W Magazine and celebrated with a very Français fete Thursday evening, hosted by Stefano Tonchi and sponsored by Lancôme. For starters, they had the chicest of fashion icons, Carine Roitfeld, as their centerpiece; the film follows the former editor as she navigates the couture collections as a regular client, going to fittings for looks, which were later shot by Paolo Roversi for W’s October editorial “The One and Only.”
It was only appropriate, then, that the party toasting The Client’s premiere was held in the gilded rooms of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, about as close as one can get to a couturier’s salon this side of Paris. Flickering candles led guests up carpeted marble stairs to rooms decorated with gold-framed screens showing images from “The One and Only.” White-shirted waiters passed out canapés and beverages (champagne, naturally, courtesy of Nicolas Feuillatte) on silver trays, leaving nary an empty glass thanks to dexterous refills for guests like Silvia Venturini Fendi, Patrick Demarchelier, Eugenie Niarchos, Caroline Sieber and enough models—Anouck Lepere, Jacquelyn Jablonski, Doutzen Kroes and Natasha Poly among them—to cast an actual couture show.
From left: Caroline Sieber, Robert Konjic and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld; Ginta Lapina and Natasha Poly
And though she certainly didn’t show it, Roitfeld confessed to some nerves about seeing the documentary’s final cut.
“I’m sure I’m going to hate myself, hate my voice, hate my English,” she said. “I think the most funny moment is when I’m speaking English with Jean Paul Gaultier, because we both have terrible accents.” Roitfeld did relish seeing the shows from the perspective of a non-editorial client. “I would like to have just been the muse of one designer, because I think it would be easier just to go to one show, pick one designer you want to wear everywhere—but which one? I don’t know!”
Fortunately, she didn’t have to choose, something guests got to witness for themselves after they were ushered into a main room strewn with lush chaises, standing candelabras and embroidered sofas for the film’s screening.
Stefano Tonchi and Carine Roitfeld
“Do we sit on the floor like children?” joked Olivier Theyskens to a friend as he looked for a seat.
As “the client,” Roitfeld discovers many facts about herself: from Roger Vivier, she learns that she is a couture size shoe (size 37); from Donatella Versace and Riccardo Tisci, she learns she is a couture size body (huge surprise there, right?). After donning a Chanel look that’s a bit roomy, she admonishes Karl Lagerfeld over the phone, saying, “Your models are too fat!” The end credits brought applause and perhaps some trepidation from designers in the room. Richard Chai, for one, seemed to quake at the mere thought of doing a custom fitting for her.
Richard Chai and Olivier Theyskens; Anouck Lepere
“It would be so nerve-wracking!” he said. “I would let her choose.” Roitfeld’s daughter, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, was just happy that the crowd had glimpsed her mother’s humorous side.
“It was very funny. But she’s like that in real life, and now you get to see it,” she said. Then, of course, there were Roitfeld’s many admirers, who crowded to congratulate her before heading out into the night.
From left: Eugenie Niarchos; Genevieve Jones
“I’m such a fan and I’ve never met her before!” said Rachel Roy as she waited her turn. Deep breath. “Okay, I’m going to meet my style muse.”
Watch the film, The Client here.
Photos: Billy Farrell Agency/ BFAnyc.com