Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele: A French Fashion Icon
In fashion history, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele is one name that stands out. The vibrant French stylist is celebrated for her pivotal role in creating one of the most iconic magazine covers ever–the November 1988 edition of American Vogue. This particular cover, lensed by Peter Lindbergh, marked Anna Wintour’s debut as the magazine’s editor-in-chief and showcased the radiant Michaela Bercu in a dazzling Christian Lacroix jacket paired surprisingly with stonewashed Guess jeans. It was a groundbreaking moment that set the stage for de Dudzeele’s distinctive style, often referred to as “salade,” characterized by a unique blend of high-end and casual fashion elements. The stylist’s signature? Leopard print. Her career has made her one of the fashion industry’s most legendary stylists and fashion editors.
Throughout her illustrious career, de Dudzeele has collaborated with some of the most esteemed photographers in the industry, including Richard Avedon, Inez & Vinoodh, Steven Meisel, and Irving Penn, producing exuberant and innovative fashion spreads for publications like Vogue, Elle, Depeche Mode, and V.
But de Dudzeele is not one to follow trends. She stands by the enduring appeal of a Chanel jacket, a Hermès Birkin bag, and a pair of jeans. Much like classic Manolo Blahnik pumps, navy turtlenecks, or little black dresses by Azzedine Alaïa, she believes these items are perpetually stylish.
Eva Chen, the former editor of Lucky magazine, aptly characterized de Dudzeele as the original street-style icon. Indeed, de Dudzeele unique fashion sensibility and her ability to seamlessly combine high-end and everyday fashion have earned her the position of fashion editor-at-large at Lucky. In this role, she infused her signature style into cover shoots multiple times a year.
This appointment reflected Lucky’s endeavor to resonate with a readership that embraced both luxury and affordable fashion. de Dudzeele’s capacity to harmoniously merge these realms was more pertinent than ever, offering a fresh and vibrant perspective in the fashion world.
De Dudzeele’s career is nothing short of legendary. Her influential decade at Vogue during the ’80s and early ’90s saw her collaborating with illustrious fashion figures like Karl Lagerfeld, Azzedine Alaïa, and Jeremy Scott.
Despite her larger-than-life personality and occasional bouts of irascibility, Carlyne remains candid and down-to-earth. Her work is driven by instinct, which leads her to personally select items for her shoots and visit showrooms to curate the perfect pieces. Her approach is grounded in gut feeling rather than overthinking.
In Carlyne’s world, makeup is all about achieving beautiful skin, and she has a penchant for products like Laura Mercier’s skin-enhancing formulas. She cherishes the beauty of a tan and even recalls her childhood memories of sunbathing with homemade concoctions like “tan vinaigrette.” De Dudzeele, a sun enthusiast, gravitates towards energy and happiness, believing these qualities should radiate from every photograph.
As for aging and beauty, de Dudzeele embraces the natural process and expresses her reluctance toward plastic surgery. She believes in maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition, staying active, and enjoying life to the fullest.
De Dudzeele’s style and approach to fashion have left an indelible mark on the industry. Her ability to seamlessly blend high fashion with everyday pieces and her unwavering commitment to authenticity have earned her the status of a true fashion legend. Whether in the pages of a magazine or on the streets of the fashion world, Carlyne’s influence remains as potent and relevant as ever. In the ever-evolving world of fashion, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele is a timeless icon who reminds us that true style comes from the heart, not from following fleeting trends.
Featured Photo by Steven Meisel for Interview magazine.