Azzedine Alaïa Dies at Age 77

I am in Marrakesh at the moment and this morning I woke up to the safest news. One of my favorite designers Azzedine Alaïa passed away at the age of 77.

Known for his signature sculptural silhouettes and meticulous craftmanship, plus an exquisite line-up of shoes and bags, he rose to prominence in the ’80s. He was one of the few designers to completely ignore the traditional fashion seasons, creating his must-have pieces at his own pace.

Azzedine Alaïa with me

After moving to Paris in 1957, the Tunisian born Azzedine started his career at Dior, then went on to work at Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler, before opening his own atelier in the late 1970s.

One of my favorite pictures in fashion history: Naomi Campbell photographed by Herb Ritts in Alaïa

He worked closely with celebrity fans including Naomi Campbell, who opened his last couture show in July in Paris. RIP Azzedine, you will be missed!

TO SHOP A LAST PIECE OF ALAÏA, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Alaïa and © Sandra Bauknecht

Moncler Ends Its Gamme Collections

This took me by surprise. Moncler announced that the house will discontinue its GAMME BLEU and GAMME ROUGE runway collections after the S/S 2018 season, announcing a new strategy in the coming weeks. Because of this development, they also part ways with Thom Browne and Giambattista Valli, who designed the fashionable sub-labels of the outerwear brand that has more than a $1 billion revenue per year. Browne was in charge for GAMME BLEUicon, the line for men, since 2009. Valli partnered first with Moncler in 2008 for GAMME ROUGE, the womenswear collection.

TO SHOP MONCLER GAMME BLEU FOR MEN, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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TO SHOP MONCLER GAMME ROUGE FOR WOMEN, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

Moncler is highly successful at the moment with high growth rates. This, of course, brings competitors in the game, trying to get on the gravy train as well. So, Moncler might prepare itself for a new consumer behavior, faster and more volatile.

While I was in Milan a few weeks ago, the Italian outerwear brand opened its new 800-square-metre flagship on Via Montenapoleone with a fantastic party. They even transformed the famous shopping mile into a winter wonderland and fake snow was falling from above the windows. Inside, products from their different lines, still including the Gamme collections, are presented next to each other and not divided into different departments.

I am curious to hear more about the brand’s new strategy. The wheels in fashion are turning, and obviously faster and faster…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Moncler, © Sandra Bauknecht

Christopher Bailey To Exit Burberry

Yesterday, I got the news that after 17 years at Burberry, Christopher Bailey is set to leave the iconic British fashion house in the end of March 2018 making way for a new vision in the brand’s creative strategy.

A digitalized shopping experience at Burberry’s Regent Street store in London.

46- year-old Bailey joined Burberry in 2001 and became CEO and chief creative officer in May 2014. He led the company through successful years, especially when the brand focused a lot on social media. Like other fashion houses, Burberry has endured a difficult period in recent years and in July 2017, Bailey was succeeded as CEO by Marco Gobbetti in July this year who brings a new vision to the brand.

Marco Gobbetti

«Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the company’s success in that period,» said Gobbetti in the official statement. «We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders

Christopher Bailey

«It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years,» said Bailey. «I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition

An iconic piece and a must-have for every closet:
The Kensington Long cotton-gabardine trench coat

Rumors are that Phoebe Philowho worked alongside Gobbetti so successfully at Céline (Gobbetti was CEO at the French luxury brand before), could be a potential candidate to succeed Bailey. Burberry shares fell 1.46 percent on the news of the designer’s departure in London trading.

Burberry F/W 2017 show

TO SHOP BURBERRY ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Burberry

The It-Bag You Cannot Buy in a Store

Something really exciting to share with you… for one week only you will be able to purchase the Gabriela Hearst bags that you cannot buy in a store or online besides now. These bags are highly sought after and trying to get them is almost impossible with extremely high waiting lists – on average there is a waiting list of 1,500 client per bag at any given time. If you really want the bag, you have to email, hope and wait.

The friends of Gabriella Hearst who were carrying the famous Nina bag as one of the first ones have caused a big hype: Miroslava Duma to the left and Brie Larson to the right.

My favorite: the Nina leather tote in cognac.

After having produced 20 of those must-have pieces for friends and family, the designer got so many requests that she created an It-bag without even thinking about it. Now, New York-based designer Gabriela Hearst has partner with NET-A-PORTER LTD to raise funds for Save the Children for the unprecedented hunger crisis and impending famine in Turkana, Kenya. The designer is committed to make a donation of $600,000. From the money raised, save the Children will provide cash transfers to those affected families, giving them the ability to purchase urgently needed food and clean water to help them survive the drought.

Gabriela Hearst

… next to her beautiful Ella two-tone leather tote.

A trio of its own: the Nina, the Demi and the Ellie. Hard to decide… and not a lot of time left as they are selling out like crazy!

TO SHOP THE GABRIELA HEARST BAGS FOR ONE WEEK, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Please be aware that the proceeds from the sale of the bags by NET-A-PORTER will not be donated to Save the Children. Instead, NET-A-PORTER is helping to raise awareness about the important work that this charity does and the donation will be made by Gabriela Hearst directly. The donation is made up of the money Gabriela Hearst makes from wholesaling the bags to NET-A-PORTER.
Photos: Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst and Net-à-Porter

Superstitious Alber Elbaz by Frédéric Malle

The illustrious fashion designer Alber Elbaz has met his match in the perfume world with this beautiful collaboration with Frédéric Malle. Created together with perfumer Dominique Ropion, the ever-mysterious Superstitious Eau de Parfum captures the elusive, unidentifiable scent of a woman’s dress.

Dream team: Frédéric Malle and Alber Elbaz

A classic floral aldehydic perfume structures Elbaz’s free-flowing vision of an elaborate fabric in which everyone can find their own beauty: Turkish rose oil and Egyptian jasmine, enhanced by a touch of peach, rest on a bed of amber and frankincense imbued with Haitian vetiver. A final touch of aldehydes sharpens the perfume’s opulence with an urban edge.

TO SHOP THE NEW SUPERSTITIOUS EAU DE PARFUM, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandraicon

Photos: Courtesy of Frederic Malle, Madame Le Figaro
Frederic Malle und Alber Elbaz – © But Sou Lai

Donatella’s Tribute to Gianni

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the brutal murder of Gianni Versace in broad daylight in Miami Beach. I will never forget this moment when I saw the news on TV. I was studying fashion design and was at home working on one of my first assignments. At this time, Versace was big. We all dreamt of butterfly prints, safety pins, tight dresses and many more…

Gorgeous as her mother in the nineties… Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford, on the Versace S/S 2018 catwalk.

This week, Donatella Versace chose to stage her S/S 2018 show at Milan’s Triennale museum as a tribute to her late brother’s Gianni’s inspirations and creations. And so, for the first time since being the creative director of the company, she seeked inspiration directly from the house’s archives with all the key prints and pieces from the years 1991–95.

Versace in the ’90s

As I said those years marked the highlights of Gianni Versace’s designs. His most iconic collections included Vogue, Warhol, My Friend Elton, Icons, Baroque, Animalia, Native Americans, Tresor de la Mer, Metal Mesh, and Butterflies.

Beautiful finale of the S/S 2018 Versace: Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen posing in classic Versace chainmail dresses.

To celebrate «a genius . . . an icon . . . my brother» as Donatella said, the show fulminated in a finale that brought tears to my eyes. Gianni’s favorite models, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and Helena Christensen, appeared in golden gowns on stage, to the chorus of George Michael’s «Freedom! ’90.» Front row? Alessandro Michele, Anthony Vaccarello and Pierpaolo Piccioli applauded to Donatella’s tribute to the late master of fashion.

Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Burlington lipsynching to George Michael’s «Freedom 90» for the finale of Gianni’s Versace’s F/W 1991 show. Back then fashion was truly fun!

The era of the top models: Gianni Versace surrounded by them in 1991.

A beautiful Versace ad campaign from the ’90s.

This moment reminded me why I chose many years ago the direction of fashion and how much the work of Gianni Versace in the ’90s had inspired me to do so.

Thank you, Donatella, for this little reminder, we all sometimes need in this busy life! And thank God that I have kept everything in my closet… time to dust the butterflies off…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Via Vogue.com and Rex Features

L’Oréal Paris x Balmain

No matter your origin, no matter your tribe. Come together, be seen, be heard. Because we are all worth it.
Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director, Balmain Paris

Two years ago, Balmain already made a foray into the world of affordable luxury with its H&M designer collaboration. This fall, the #BalmainArmy will find new members of the tribe as L‘Oréal Paris has joined forces with Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing for a collection of twelve limited COLOR RICHE couture lipsticks. One shade more beautiful than the other.

Olivier Rousteing with me

Needless to say that Olivier Balmain’s knows how to run a social media hype. For the launch of the French house’s first lipstick, he is accompanied by twelve model muses that each has inspired one of the dozen shades.

This collaboration with L’Oréal is the perfect fit to provide customers with access to the bejeweled splendor of the long-established fashion house that was founded by Pierre Balmain in 1945 who defined France’s fashion renaissance after World War II. Continuing in the trailblazing spirit of the brand’s founder, Olivier Rousteing is inspired by the confident style of modern women and incorporates the maison’s mastery of embroidery and embellishment into his collections. His love for detail can also be seen in the amazing packaging of the lipsticks: a decadent ode to precious materials, such as emerald-green malachite, blue lapis lazuli, and onyx.

Three colour collections embody three femininities:

SAFARI TRIBE (Green Case)
905 BALMAIN INSTINCT: Ysaunny Brito (Star Shade)
647 URBAN SAFARI: Alexina Graham
648 GLAMAZONE: Luma Grothe
469 FEVER: Maria Borges

ROCK TRIBE (Blue Case)
467 FREEDOM: Soo Joo Park ( Star Shade)
650 POWER: Valentina Sampaio
902 LEGEND: Neelam Gill
901 REBELLION: Grace Bol

COUTURE TRIBE (Black Case)
356 CONFIDENCE: Doutzen Kroes (Star Shade)
355 DOMINATION: Lara Stone
468 LIBERATION: Cindy Bruna
256 CONFESSION: Ming Xi

I was over the moon when this exclusive box arrived at my door step a few weeks ago so that I could test each one of the shades. Being a huge Balmain fan as you know, this is a collector’s piece that I will keep forever.
(The golden clutch is a vintage Balmain piece.)

My favorite shade of all? 256 CONFESSION. It is the perfect nude shade.
(Metallic jacquard jacketicon by Balmain.)

Time to have a piece of Balmain on your lips. The L’Oréal Paris x Balmain Paris capsule lipstick collection launches today September 20, 2017 for CHF 21.90 each, in Switzerland at Coop and Manor.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Balmain and © Sandra Bauknecht

Smooth Lips in Style

In February, I introduced you for the first time to EOS lip balms (EOS Smooth Spheres Organic Lip Balms ) that are 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petrolatum free (for the previous post click here please). I love those little «eggs» that I am always carrying in my bag, even when I am travelling as you see.

This month marks the launch of a special collaboration between EOS and Austrian-born and Berlin-based fashion designer Marina Hoermanseder. This limited edition duo set with an extremely cute packaging, that combines beauty and fashion, includes two lip balms, Organic Passion Fruit & Visibly Soft Honey Apple, both dressed in a special design created by Hoermanseder.

«EOS lip balms are my favorite lip care products. Natural ingredients are essential for me. The colorful lip balms are among my personal beauty must-haves, as smooth lips complement every outfit.» – Marina Hoermanseder

Being EOS first lip balm with a print design and also 100% natural, the Organic Passion Fruit shows Marina Hoermanseder’s initials with a cute little butterfly, that plays a central role in her current collection.

The Visibly Soft Honey Apple comes with sweeping lines in the iconic swirl design, reminiscent of the designer’s famous strap skirt.

Smooth lips are never out of style. Don’t miss this collector’s item.
The set is available now for CHF 13.80 in Switzerland at Manor and Coop.

LoL, Sandra

#eosproducts #eosxmarina
Photos: Courtesy of EOS x Marina Hoermanseder and © Sandra Bauknecht

UBS Unique – Economy of Fashion

During the vibrant atmosphere of London Fashion Week, I had the pleasure to participate in a very interesting new project combining the world of finance and fashion: UBS Unique – Economy of Fashion.

Just as the world around us is changing, the face of wealth is evolving. The global income of women will grow from USD 13 trillion to USD 18 trillion by 2021* – more than China and India’s combined GDP growth and since 2015, women have held 30%** of global private wealth.

As women are looking for a response to their needs, UBS Unique has been created. The aim? To catalyze a long-term change in the financial industry to better serve women and to enable them to make the most of their wealth.

My lovely host, Kathrin Genovese Head Vice Chairmen Office, Global Ultra High Net Worth

Therefore a lovely group of female ultra high net worth individuals from all over the world was invited by UBS to London for two inspiring days. The event had it all: shows, talks and insights on how fashion can change the world for the better.

As I thought you might be interested in what I have taken home from UBS Unique, here’s a quick roundup of insights from the event’s speakers.

«The future of fashion will see creativity re-emerge as a key driver to take us from our current crisis state and into a new model for fashion. If we don’t push creativity at every step of the fashion supply chain to find new ways to design, produce, sell, wear and dispose of clothes, then we face a bleak future for fashion.”»Christina Dean

From left to right: Christina Dean, my humble self, Giorgia Caovilla and Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis.

The look of love – how will the fashion industry change?

Women should “fall in love with the fact that fashion is a force for good,” says Christina Dean, founder of Redressan organisation working to reduce waste in the fashion industry. Christina believes fashion’s ethical future is in the hands of young designers and consumers. Or as Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis describes it vividly, “it’s down to designers to rebel. There’s a lot of pressure on designers to become commercial so it stops creativity. I am anyway bored of all the fashion shows. There are too many.”

Online shopping is definitely an opportunity as emerging designers cannot always afford a retail space. They have a different pricing model. But in terms of sustainability it can cause also problems as people end up buying multiple sizes knowing they’re going to return it.

Dress with Sense – the practical guide to a conscious closet by Redress

How can you play your part in making fashion more ethical?

As I am always promoting, you can easily play your part in making fashion more ethical by buying the things you love and wear them for longer. When shopping, think about the value, not the price. And consider ways you can make sure your investments match your ethics.

You can also donate your quality, branded items with high value to charity Redress for resale.

Designer Mary Katrantzou and me framed by UBS key speakers, James Gifford, Senior Impact Investing Strategist, Chief Investment Office, UBS Wealth Management, to the left and Helen Brand, Head of Equity Research, European Luxury Goods, UBS Investment Bank

A short industry outlook

The top 3 words executives used to describe the fashion industry in 2016*** were: «Uncertain, Changing, Challenging.» But despite the wider economic slowdown last year, fashion has been a key value-creating industry for the world economy. In 2017, a slight recovery is expected to a point where the industry may see some growth next year.

Let’s take China for example. Chinese growth hit a soft patch: a stock market dip and real estate concerns have decelerated chinese growth, and shifted attention to India, Turkey, and other high-growth markets. China’s fundamentals, including growth of the middle and upper classes, remain strong and the government’s new fiscal policies are expected to improve conditions in 2017, but uncertainty remains.

A woman shops in a Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai. © SCMP Photos

London-based Helen BrandHead of Equity Research, European Luxury Goods, UBS Investment Bank, trusts in the mid market and expects “growth going forward to come from the Chines middle class consumer and therefore more at the entry level price points, with more chances for the handbag category compared to watches as many brands still have to strengthen the CHF 2000-5000 offer.

 When you think about China, factors such as pollution, a deteriorating environment, inhumane work conditions in factories, mass production come immediately to your mind. China and sustainability, connecting the dots between economy and ecology seems to be a complex problem. Therefore a valid question was raised during one of the panel discussions: how can we as consumers/potential investors contribute to overcome these issues?

Tailor-made investments – how can you invest ethically in fashion?

What’s impact investing? Put simply, it’s investing in ways that help make the world a better place. And it can make a big difference to the fashion industry, “especially when dealing with problems in supply chains,” says James Gifford, Senior Impact Investing Strategist at UBS. It’s good news for investors, too.

Impact investing is one of the tools that we can use to improve terrible situations such as exposure to slavery and trafficking – lots of brands don’t have full transparency throughout their entire supply chain.  Shareholders can take part in helping brands address that. Most critical is the intent – the willingness to change for the good. This impact must be measured with defined performance indexes to make it tangible to all stakeholders of the corporation.

Many investors assume that impact investment is a form of charity. In reality, quiet the opposite is the case. Gifford delivers the facts: two thirds of impact investment funds deliver comparable results to more traditional funds. Generating a financial return is indispensable and sustainable in itself; generated profits are more likely to be re-invested in impact projects and new investors may follow.

How to invest

  • Invest in best in class – some great companies that are trying really hard to improve.
  • Underweight / overweight the good guys and the bad guys.
  • You can engage your fund managers and advisors on this topic as most of them might not have thought about these issues. So having that dialogue can have an impact already.
  • Shareholder engagement is where shareholders use their voice to encourage companies to improve their behaviour. This can be done through fund managers or family offices.
  • Shareholder engagement can be very effective and you don’t even have to own that many shares to have a voice.

Great show: Mary Katrantzou’s F/W 2017 presentation took place at Tate Modern.

During those two amazing days, we had also the chance to talk to two outstanding designers who both have build up their brand in a breakneck pace. Cherry on the cake was the possibility to experience the excitement of fashion week as guests of Mary Katrantzou and Erdem at their shows.

With Erdem in his Mayfair store for a private shopping event during the «Economy of Fashion».

I don’t believe in fast fashion – I get a kick out of seeing real women wear my clothes on the street,” says Erdem Moralioglu, founder of the designer label ERDEM.

Shaping up – how Erdem Moralioglu built his brand

Since launching in 2005, the brand has become synonymous with versatile and powerful femininity. After studying at London’s Royal College of Art, Erdem started his own company and fashion line at the age of 27. The business took off when Barneys bought his first collection. In 2014, he put his collection online and opened his flagship store in Mayfair in 2015.

Today, ERDEM is sold in over 170 of the world’s most exclusive retailers, including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Joyce, Colette, Dover Street Market, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
In the beginning of November 2017 his collection for H&M will hit the stores as he is the next designer to collaborate with the Swedish clothing giant (for more info, click here please).

With Mary Katrantzou in the private shopping suite at the at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, wearing an amazing coat from her F/W 2017 collection.

Print can be as definitive as a cut or a drape and allows a woman to filter beauty found in design, in a subversive way. All my prints are constructed through digital technology. Digital print allows me to experiment with print in a way that fine art and other methods could not. It opens up a huge spectrum for possibility; I can create possibility out of impossibility, surrealism out of realism and both vice versa,” says Mary Katrantzou.

Pioneering digital prints – how Mary Katrantzou became the fashion world’s darling

Greek-born Mary Katrantzou had an appreciation of applied design from an early age. Having begun training as an architect at Rhode Island’s School of Design, she transferred to Central Saint Martin’s in London to study textiles and finished also with a fashion MA in 2005. Katrantzou shifted her direction from textile design to womenswear with a focus on print as she loved the way printed textiles can change the shape of a woman’s body.

Success from the first moment: Mary Katrantzou’s graduate collection in 2008.

Her graduate collection in 2008 of digital trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery on simple shift dresses served as a counterpoint to the minimalist movement that was dominating the runways at the time. From there, Katrantzou picked up 15 prestigious stockists including Browns, Joyce and Colette. Today she boasts over 250 stockists worldwide. Among the many prestigious awards, she received in her career, she also won the Swiss Textiles Award in 201, which helped her grow her business further. And would she rule out ever taking on an investor? “In the future, who knows,” says Katrantzou. “But true global scale is our ambition.”

Best of both worlds… fashion and finance.

I hope that you enjoyed this little insight into the new interactive event Economy of Fashion under the roof of the UBS Unique platform that was a great success. For two days, we received an exclusive insight into the business of fashion of emerging and established designers, disruptive technologies and brands that are making their mark on the industry.

I met amazing ladies from all over the world and it was a pleasure exchanging knowledge while enjoying some fun shopping and great food.

I would love to conclude with a quote from shoe designer Giorgia Caovilla: “The future of fashion will shorten the distance to be able to convey more clearly its message: LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!’”

LoL, Sandra

*Harnessing the power of women investors in wealth management, Ernst & Young LLP, 2016
** Global Wealth 2016: Navigating the client landscape, Boston Consulting Group, 2016
*** Source BoF-McKinsey Global Fashion Survey, September 2016

Photos: © Sam Bowen for UBS, © Sandra Bauknecht, © Redress, © Mary Katrantzou

Erdem x H&M

Today H&M announced its big secret: the next exclusive designer collaboration will be with ERDEM, the London based must-have designer loved by celebrities and fashion insiders alike.

H&M is also pleased to reveal that the visionary film maker Baz Luhrmann will bring the collection to life through his unique storytelling. ERDEM x H&M will be available in selected stores as well as on hm.com, November 2.

For H&M, Erdem has designed a brand-new collection for women and, for the first time ever, a collection for men. Erdem believes in the power of beauty, exploring historical references and personal narratives in every piece he makes. For ERDEM x H&M he’ll reflect and reinterpret the design themes from some of his most celebrated collections, playing with the prints, textiles and delicate craftsmanship that have made his name.

Erdem with me

I am so happy to collaborate with H&M, and to explore my work on a whole new scale including a menswear collection which I have never done before. It’s also such a thrill to work with Baz Luhrmann, one of the most important storytellers of our time,” says Erdem.

Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s Creative Advisor, to the left, Erdem in the center, and Baz Luhrmann.

For me fashion is always about more than just clothing, it is a form of expression – a stand alone art form. I am excited to be collaborating with ERDEM and H&M to reveal the story of this unique collection,” says Baz Luhrmann.

From the moment we started talking with Erdem about the collaboration, I was captured by his vision. For ERDEM x H&M he has created an enchanting world full of beauty, delicacy and rich details. These are special pieces you will want to wear forever,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s Creative Advisor.

Have fun watching the video below and start dreaming!
LoL, Sandra

Photos/Video: © H&M and © Sandra Bauknecht