Words by Mr Benjamin Seidler
When the designer Mr Tom Ford called upon the charms of Ms Julia Restoin Roitfeld to front his perfume campaign, he cited her looks as "exactly what beauty is to me". And having been treated to these shots of the sultry Parisian modelling her lingerie line for Kiki de Montparnasse, we are inclined to agree. Here, Ms Restoin Roitfeld, an art director, who lives in New York with her boyfriend, MR PORTER Style Council member Mr Robert Konjic, gives us her tips for Valentine's Day.
Don't forget it. Even if you think it's just a commercialised custom, lots of girls still see it as a chance to be romantic. Send a card, send a rose, or send anything that shows you've remembered it.
I don't like to go out for dinner on Valentine's Day. I feel that it's such a cliché and every couple is out crowding restaurants. I like doing something more personal, such as a home-cooked meal.
Wear something that makes you feel handsome. If you're at home, you don't need to dress up, but do make an effort to look good for your date.
If you do go out, do not split the bill. I like it when the man is in control.
Both partners should do something special for the other person. I think it's fine to send a boy some flowers. Valentine's Day should not be about a girl waiting for her boyfriend to send her gifts - we should get over that cliché.
I have a shoe fetish and definitely notice if a man's footwear is cleaned, polished and well made. Make sure you invest in a good pair for your date.
I don't like men who are too clean-shaven. My boyfriend looks better with a bit of a beard. I love a man in a blazer and with combed hair - but I think it's sexy when contrasted with a beard or stubble.
Try to personalise your gift. Whether that's embossing initials on a purse or a bag, engraving jewellery or having letters frosted onto cupcakes - it shows that there has been thought behind it and it wasn't done last minute. It makes girls feel special and it's definitely what I like most in a gift.
Valentine's Day is not as big a deal in France as it is in America. Know your location and scale your plans up or down accordingly. I don't like the prefabricated elements of Valentine's Day, and so feel that what happens should make sense for the couple involved, in the place that they live.
You should do something romantic every day. I like it when my boyfriend cooks for me, or gets me a surprise gift - whether it's my favourite sweets from the corner store or a candle. It just shows that you think about each other.
Ms Restoin Roitfeld's Guide to Lingerie
Don't buy the smallest, kinkiest piece of lingerie that you think will reveal the most. You might think it's sexy, but if you buy something that your girlfriend feels comfortable in, she'll look a lot better for it. I don't like boning [strips of rigid material to support an item's shape] as it's uncomfortable, and I designed my pieces with this in mind. Remember: it's not a gift for you, it's a gift for both of you.
Think about soft fabrics that will feel nice on her skin. Kiki de Montparnasse, for whom I designed my line, has created this stretch silk that feels incredible. The lace looks attractive to a man because of its sensuality and transparency, while the fabric puts everything where it should be for the girl. It's both beautiful and practical.
Avoid garter belts and all those accessories as they can get complicated. A body suit or bra and pants make for more straightforward gifts.
Don't give your girlfriend lingerie in a restaurant - it will make her feel uncomfortable. Keep it for the bedroom, as lingerie does not belong in public places.
My line includes a red range for Valentine's Day but I also designed in black and nude tones. Choose a colour (and size, for that matter) based on what your partner already wears, as that's what she clearly likes. The fabric is special in my line, so I kept the colours simple and classic.
Ms Restoin Roitfeld's collection for Kiki de Montparnasse is
available from 10 February on NET-A-PORTER.COM
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