Julia Restoin Roitfeld on growing up in France’s most stylish family...
Words Helen Baron
Photography Pamela Hanson
From a family of fashion royalty – her mother, Carine Roitfeld, was editor of French Vogue for many years and founded online style hub CR Fashion Book – Julia Restoin Roitfeld was a modelling superstar by her mid-20s, when she was cast in a fragrance campaign by family friend Tom Ford. She’s since modelled for Cavalli and Lancôme, among others, while pursuing a successful career in art direction and graphic design. More recently, she became a mother to Romy, now six, and launched Romy and The Bunnies, an online magazine and lifestyle boutique devoted to modern motherhood. The site recently received an overhaul and we’re big fans of its curated collection of clothing, accessories and beauty products for both littles and their mamas. So it seemed a good time to catch up with Restoin Roitfeld herself and talk about the new direction.
Q. Why did you decide to set up Romy and The Bunnies? And why the relaunch?
A. I started to work on Romy and The Bunnies a few months after giving birth and launched it right before Romy turned one. I felt back then there were no websites speaking to myself as a mum or to all the mothers I knew. Nothing felt actual and related to the new kind of motherhood. Hardworking, independent and always keeping a touch of glamour. I am not exactly relaunching the website, but the internet and the use of social media changed so much since I first launched that it just feels that we constantly have to evolve and adapt with it.
Q. To what extent has your family influenced your creative direction in life?
A. I was brought up in a family with a great sense of design, aesthetic and work ethic. I guess it helped forge what I am and a bit of my taste.
Q. What is your relationship with your mum like? Is she your biggest style influence?
A. She is more an influence with her hard work than her style per se. We actually have very different styles but I do value her advice of course. I think what we have in common is that, despite appearances, we both really don’t care about trends and following them – what’s the new bag to wear – and just dress for ourselves, not to impress others. [We aim to] feel good in what we see…
Q. What special insight into the fashion industry has your upbringing given you?
A. It used to be more about teamwork. People had less ego about working as a team and not taking all the credit for something.
Q. Do you ever feel pressured to live up to an ideal?
A. I think we all do. And social media doesn’t help. It always makes you feel like you don’t do enough… it’s very important to disconnect and know it’s not reality. It’s just a vitrine… people post their good days, their good angles; not many will post about their bad days. People need to be aware of it, otherwise we all feel like we are not enough. No one is perfect; I am definitely not perfect, but I like to look at the glass [as] half-full rather than half-empty. An ideal would be to be in a relationship and have more kids… my reality is that I am blessed to already have the most amazing daughter and extremely lucky to be able to raise her in one of the most exciting cities [Restoin Roitfeld is based in New York City].
Q. How old is Romy now? How would you describe your experience of motherhood?
A. She is just over six. Being a mum is the most rewarding experience. I have always wanted to be a mother and have always dreamed of having a little girl – [my] dream came true. It’s not easy to be a single mum every day, but that’s all I know really as her dad and I separated early on. The upside is that our relationship is extremely close and special. On top of that, her dad [and I] get along and we still get to share all the special moments as a family… first day of school, etc.
Q. Has there been a phase or age that you particularly enjoyed – or found difficult?
A. They are all different and amazing.
Q. How do you think Romy and The Bunnies has helped expectant mothers?
A. I have received messages from expectant mothers thanking me for showing that it was possible to have a career while enjoying motherhood… [that’s the] biggest compliment.
Q. What are the criteria for choosing who you interview on the blog?
A. I actually believe every mother has a story to tell… I like to believe it’s a nice support system to read about how different mothers in different situations and different countries manage it all!
Q. Do you think the concept of “having it all” is a myth?
A. Not really. We have to start to enjoy what we have… and stop stressing about what we don’t have!
Q. What’s your favourite thing about being a mum? And how do you and Romy like to spend time together?
A. She is six now and things are so easy. I can really take her everywhere. I love our mother-daughter trips where it’s just her and I creating memories. Weekend morning cuddles are also a must! As well as a Sunday evening Disney movie in bed!