"Mademoiselle C" takes the subject of fashion a little too much to heart. You won’t just see people parading around in improbably (and utterly impractical) getups here, you’ll also be treated to a documentary style that’s so jittery, disorganized, and lateral that it feels like a caffeine rush on film.
The film does have a story to tell: That of fashion magazine icon Carine Roitfeld, who left Vogue Paris after a decade-long reign and then needed to carve out a fresh course in her life and career. New York beckoned, and with it the dream of a whole new fashion title. Answering the call, Roitfeld gathers talent of all sorts before and behind the camera, as well as in a penumbra that buzzes around her person.
Director Fabien Constant enjoys creating a swerving narrative flow that darts and winds, sometimes to humorous effect; indeed, at times you might feel you’d stumbled onto a Christopher Guest film about haute couture.
The previews make this film out to be a spectacle stuffed with A-List celebs, and indeed a scattering of stars do drift through like so many soap bubbles. But Roitfeld is the focus of this docu-puff-piece, and though we see her at work and at home, and hear all about her from any number of associates and intimates (her children, the father of her children, stylists, and famous industry names like Karl Lagerfeld), there’s no real sense, by the end of the film, that we’ve actually gotten to know the woman herself.
The extras on this Cohen Media release are scant: The film’s theatrical trailer and a short featurette about the Paris premiere. If you’re the sort who wears a tux jacket over an old Ramones T-shirt and sets it off with a spike in your nose, this will be your fashion plate. Otherwise, all bets are off.