Carine Roitfeld sure knows how to throw a party. To celebrate her "Icons" portfolio — which appears in the September issue of every international edition of Harper's Bazaar — the magazine's global fashion director hosted a black tie fête in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel on Friday night, and a good percentage of the industry's most powerful people showed up to support her.
Champagne and Belvedere vodka were free-flowing (literally. I poured myself a glass from a promo bottle when I couldn't get a bartender's attention) and Bazaar's September cover star, Lady Gaga, treated the crowd to a jazz performance — but not before throwing out a few sharp-tongued instructions. ("Shut up, motherfuckers! We're playing some jazz.") I'll admit, it was the most fashion-y affair I have ever attended.
Many of the models featured in the "Icons" editorial came to take part in the revelry, including Brooke Shields, Lauren Hutton, Linda Evangelista, Gigi Hadid and more. As they walked in, I asked a few models what they've enjoyed most from working with Roitfeld throughout their careers, and almost all of them had similar experiences. "[Carine] is the epitome of taste and she's a woman's woman," Linda Evangelista told me. "On set she’s easy and she makes you feel comfortable — she always makes it feel like it's a collaboration. She’ll push you to places you’ve never been."
Karolina Kurkova echoed that sentiment. "She loves women who are strong and who are individuals. She really celebrates that, and doesn’t try to make you something you’re not," she said. "Yes, as models you need to be able to transform into different things, but she understands who you are and she works with it. She goes deep down." Candice Swanepoel — whose favorite shoot with Roitfeld was a VMan calendar which required all of the models to wear stockings over their faces — said that working with her is truly a joy. "A lot of people try to copy her style, but she does it the best. And she lets you do your own thing [during the shoots], which I like."
In a few cases, the models I chatted with said that they credit Roitfeld with helping to kickstart their careers. Andreja Pejic says it was her editorial in Vogue Paris — the one from the September 2010 issue where she's holding a rose in her mouth — that really put her on the map. The same goes for Kurkova, who first shot with Roitfeld and Mario Testino when she was 15 years old, where she posed in a bathtub with a veil over her face.
Roitfeld's most recent discovery is Gigi Hadid, who exploded onto the scene after appearing on the cover of CR Fashion Book in the winter. Hadid says that the editor has already had a huge influence on her career, and is constantly reminded by Roitfeld's advice to stay positive and chipper while she's on set. "I’m no where near anything that the other women in the issue are, but I am so happy that Carine is able to understand and appreciate the future, and I think that’s why she included me," Hadid said. "Maybe she thinks I might be an icon one day!"
Click through to see the best dressed models of the evening.