Few art impresarios have as much fashion world pull as the dashing Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld. His mother, Carine Roitfeld, is the editor of Vogue
Paris; his father, Christian Restoin, brought men’s shirts into women’s wardrobes in the 70s with his fashion label Equipment (which was relaunched by Serge Azria this year); while his godfather is feted image-maker Mario Testino. Pedigree aside, Roitfeld is dedicated to championing new artists through his private dealership Feedback Ltd (named after a French radio program); unconventionally, the company is not based in a gallery or permanent space but adapts non-traditional spaces for the needs of particular shows. NOWNESS sent photographer Daniel Riera to capture Roitfeld in London’s Bloomsbury, ahead of his latest exhibition during the Frieze Art Fair, a showcase of new works by painter Nicolas Pol (read about the exhibition here
). Below the curator shares his thoughts on growing up in the fab lane and setting out on his own.
Were you in contact with a lot of art as a child?
I grew up in a very artistic environment. My mum had been working in fashion since I was a little boy and my father ran a fashion label. My grandfather had run a movie production company in the 40s and 50s. So I grew up in a world of images.
How would you describe your taste in art, and how do you scout for new artists?
You can ask anyone who their favorite artists are, and they would have an ideal of who they’d like to work with, but when you start in this business you have to be realistic. Tom Sachs or [Jeff] Koons is not going to come and ask you to put on a show. You have to come up with ideas, look around your environment. I don’t think, especially when you start in the business, you need 20 artists, but two to three people you really believe in [where you can] have a relationship that will last for a little bit.
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
I wouldn’t want to be in one place, as the art market is becoming so global and nobody lives this way. I was in Buenos Aires last week and I am going to Miami for two weeks, then I’ll be in London. People want to be mobile all the time.
Do you think you represent an increasing convergence between the worlds of art and luxury fashion?
I think people say it’s new that I’m doing it, because they see me as someone who grew up in the fashion industry. But my girlfriend was reading a book about Schiaparelli this summer, and it pointed out that throughout the last 50 years there’s always been a communion between art and fashion.
Can the relationship ever be detrimental?
I don’t see why it is so bad for an artist to do something with such a credible person as Mr. Armani or a brand like Vuitton or Prada, or Miuccia herself. I don’t think it’s good to only do exhibitions and collaborations with fashion names, but I don’t see how it hurts the artist to do suddenly a huge show in Milan and New York with Armani, which had thousands of people coming and was all over the press. If the art is good and this element doesn’t take too much away from the creative side, then it doesn’t hurt.