My girl of the moment: Julia Restoin-Roitfeld

My mother is a more daring dresser but I’ve started to catch up. That said, it’s relative and I’ve always been a bit rebellious. As an eight-year-old, I’d wear black PVC trousers to school, something that was unheard of for students my age who dressed in that bon chic, bon genre grey way, all navy, white or black . . . and there was me with the shiny trousers.

I was 10 or 11, when some of girls at school told me they knew who my mother was. I then began to realise the sort of fashion/design background I came from. She must have been working at French Glamour at the time and sometimes took me on her shoots; great for meeting creative people from all over the world at such a young age. Mario Testino, for example, has worked with my mother from the beginning.

I knew she had a great eye but I didn’t always follow her advice: at one point I went through a stage of wearing purple stripes in my hair and red Doc Martens, the opposite of her style. She understood — she was very tolerant. She would tell me when something looked really ugly, however, and it would really p*** me off because I knew it was true, but I wanted to do things my own way. I’ve never resented what she does or been embarrassed. She was always successful with my guy friends and teachers; I was known for having the cool mum and she’d turn up to all my parent evenings and even a field trip once, so although she was this sort of icon, to me she was still a protective mother.

I’m really impressed by the power of the fashion industry. Some people think that clothes are just things that you wear to cover yourself but I’m blown away because clothes to me are a sort of new pop art. Clothes can be either art or design but need a real purpose. That said, I don’t shop that much. I might buy a bit of Marc by Marc Jacobs because he makes great day to evening dresses, or I go for some vintage at Resurrection in NoLita. When I’m in Paris, though, aside from the odd trip to Miu Miu or Prada, I’d prefer to go to a sex shop in Pigalle for a miniskirt. And of course I also get to raid my mother’s wardrobe because she is incredibly generous.

Celebrity culture is much bigger in New York — and in the States generally — than it is in France. I’m not inspired by many actresses or celebs in France at the moment. I’m a big fan of Brigitte Bardot, who represents my perfect woman, not so much for her clothes but for her attitude. Great style is all about dressing for your body shape or personality. For example, I’ve got an ass and boobs so I dress to celebrate that with a cinched waist or short skirt and some cleavage. It was hugely flattering to be asked to represent Tom Ford’s first perfume. I was so surprised because it came out of the blue. To do this for a perfume is a big deal but more so because it is Tom Ford, and it’s even bigger because it’s his first.

It’s liberating living in New York. I can dress pretty much how I want to and people are less judgmental than they are in France. In Paris, women have this very classic touch that perhaps some New Yorkers envy, but it is very, very conservative. People have such fun with their clothes here and they are open to new ideas.

The talk of rivalry between myself and Anna Wintour’s daughter, Bee Schaffer, is just silly. I’m about ten years older than her for a start, and we have a completely different circle of friends. Why would you expect us to hang out together? Then there’s this whole fashion dynasty thing that gets reported on a lot in gossip columns about so-and-so snubbing each other. I’ve known Margherita Missoni for a long time and we have the same international group of friends and go to the same places. Is that so strange?

Interview from Times Online
Candy WashingtonComment