Legendary Stylist Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele Tells It Like It Is

We caught up with legendary stylist Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele after a show in Paris. We asked her to weigh in about sticking it out in the fashion industry (she's been in it for a while) and for her thoughts on the never ending fashion circus debate. Trust us, you wanna hear what she had to say.
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We caught up with legendary stylist Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele after a show in Paris. We asked her to weigh in about sticking it out in the fashion industry (she's been in it for a while) and for her thoughts on the never ending fashion circus debate. Trust us, you wanna hear what she had to say.
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele is one of the fashion industry's legendary stylists. She's the one responsible for Anna Wintour's now iconic first Vogue cover, where she did the unthinkable by putting model Michaela Bercu in an embellished Christian LaCroix couture top and Guess jeans--the original high/low. And with her penchant for styling models with watches and bracelets stacked up their arms, you might say she's the inventor of the "arm party." Her flashy style helped create the look of the late '80s and early '90s, but when minimalism and grunge started to dominate the fashion scene, De Dudzeele's style fell out of favor.

But now, at 63, she's back.

Her style inspired Eddie Borgo's spring collection and she styled Jeremy Scott's latest show. You probably saw her or read about her in this year's most talked about fashion documentary, HBO's In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, where De Dudzeele emerged, unquestionably, as the star, on account of her boundless energy and emphatic way of speaking.

We caught up with De Dudzeele after a show in Paris. We asked her to weigh in about sticking it out in the fashion industry and for her thoughts on the never ending fashion circus debate.

Anna Wintour's first Vogue cover, styled by De Dudzeele

Anna Wintour's first Vogue cover, styled by De Dudzeele

Fashionista: I know you've been styling a bit more--I saw you did Jeremy Scott's show in New York. What else are you working on right now? Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele: I'm working on a lot of projects. I worked a lot for V Magazine, I do Italian Vogue with Steven [Meisel], with Mario [Testino] I have a lot of fun. And a lot with Inez and Vinoodh, I do advertising with them. Love.

I'm in love with your outfit today [she was wearing a leopard print Prada coat, a Chanel cross body bag, track pants and Uggs]. A lot of people are afraid of Uggs, so what do you think about them? About what?

Your footwear! Some people poo-poo it. I don't care! I love these things. Nothing for me is démodé in the world. I do my own thing, I don't care what people think. My Chanel bag that I got 20 years ago is never démodé. It's just how to put things together. People have to try to think that trendy is chic, mais c'est pas vrai. It's not true. It's because they don't have personal style. As soon as you know how to put yourself together, it's perfect.

So what do you think now about the people outside the shows who try to get photographed? Ridiculous. Because I remember, you know, Bill Cunningham, who was the first one, you never knew he was taking pictures of you. He was around you, but you never see him. But now it's ridiculous. It's all these people and they ask you to stop and pose. I mean, it should not be like this. The street--me, I love the real street, and this is not what I call the real street. They all dress to be photographed and I don't think this is real.

So it's gotten contrived, right? It's fake! Like a lot of things today.

What is real today? Real is to have taste, to LOVE fashion, to know what to do, and not because you have the bag of this one or this one, or this coat of the season. I say what is démodé is to wear the thing of the season, it doesn't work. It doesn't work, and then they LOVE to be all the same, and they love to be recognized that they have, you know, the name.

I'm wearing Prada from years ago, and it's still divine, still perfection. Nothing is démodé for me, nothing, nothing, NOTHING!

Linda Evangelista styled by De Dudzeele for Italian Vogue

Linda Evangelista styled by De Dudzeele for Italian Vogue

What do you make of the attention you got after the Vogue documentary? I think you emerged as the star! Yeah it's fun! Because you know, I am myself. I ADORE what I do, I'm passionate and I have this inside. Nothing is fake, I just do things like I do it. Because I LOVE! You ask me now to work, I put everything together, bop bop bop bop bop. I am not someone who is infringed by trends, I HATE trends, hate, hate.

So what is the key to success in fashion? Because I have this inside, I repeat! You need to be BORN with all this. It's nothing you can LEARN. I see them all doing efforts to have a look, it doesn't work! La simplicité, la chic, and money doesn't do chic. You know? Money doesn't do chic.

I always have mixed everything. I have never never never taken a real runway look number 5 and put it on the girl, you know, an assistant can do it. I always mix. And see, I love the street, I love the street, I love to see women in the street.