Tribute to Christian Lacroix from Arles

While visiting Arles yesterday, I passed by a Christian Lacroix store (photo at the end of this post) which immediately caught my eye as I had completely forgotten about the fashion house after it had been sold by LVMH to duty-free retailer Falic Fashion Group in 2005.

Visiting Arles yesterday – an inspiration for today’s post.

I had been a big fan of flamboyant Lacroix’s designs and even got married in one of his couture dresses. Personally speaking, when Christian opened his Maison, I started actively being interested in fashion and his creations inspired me a lot of what I do today.

The story of Christian Lacroix

Christian Lacroix was born in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône in Southern France. At a young age he began already sketching historical costumes and fashions. In April 1987, his dream came true and he founded his own fashion house in a private mansion at 73 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in the heart of Paris. The House of Christian Lacroix was created by the Arlesian couturier and press agent Jean-Jacques Picart, with support from Bernard Arnault. Word quickly spread throughout Paris and Christian Lacroix’s name was on everyone’s lips.

A look from Lacroix’s F/W 1987 haute couture collection.

The following 26 July, Christian Lacroix unveiled his first Haute Couture collection for F/W 1987. This first collection was a radiant, opulent, virtuosic homage to the couturier’s roots; each look was infused with Mediterranean influences. The designer revisited traditional Arlesian outfits, drawing inspiration from the toreador’s cape. He highlighted southern France’s beauty, from the Camargue to Provence, in this 60-piece collection.

This first flamboyant fashion show was wildly successful, blowing the dust off the subdued world of 1980s high fashion and turning Parisian fashion of the day on its head. It was a departure from the minimalistic look of the influential Japanese designers en vogue at that time.

Christian Lacroix F/W 2004 Haute Couture collection

At a time when fashion was focused on simplicity, Christian Lacroix chose exuberance. When black became the standard, he opted for blood red, fuchsia pink and bright yellow.

With each new collection, Christian Lacroix designed pieces that combined unusual materials and colours, adorning looks with luxurious baroque touches. He brought back touches of folklore, history and theatre, infusing them with elegance and sophistication.

Very «Like a Prayer»: Anna Wintour chose for her first Vogue cover a Christian Lacroix couture jacket combined with a pair of jeans. It was photographed by Peter Lindbergh and  featured Israeli Model Michaela Bercu – US Vogue Nov 1988

Anna Wintour chose a Christian Lacroix Haute Couture jacket with a simple pair of jeans for her first American Vogue cover, photographed by Peter Lindberg in 1988. This look broke all the high fashion rules, pushing it into a younger and more liberated future.

After a spectacular debut, the Lacroix phenomenon spread as if propelled by the Mistral wind, and was soon featured prominently in all the most prestigious fashion magazines around the world.

Shalom Harlow in Christian Lacroix Haute Couture photographed by Bruce Weber for Vogue US, March 1995.

Throughout the 1990s, the brand continued to grow, diversifying its portfolio with household linen, tableware and more. This diversification continued to pick up speed in the following decade.

Between 2002-2005, Lacroix served also as the Creative Director for the Italian fashion house Emilio Pucci. He left on agreeable terms as he and the house believed that since he had other pursuits, it would be unfair to the house to not put in the energy required for future collections along with his other work.

Ad Campaign F/W 1997 featuring Karen Elson photographed by Paolo Roversi

In 2005, LVMH sold the House to its current owners, the Falic family, giving it new momentum as it explored other niches while continuing the House’s previous activities. In 2009, the fashion house put the business into administration and laid off all but 12 workers. Lacroix’s F/W 2009 Haute Couture was privately financed by Lacroix and each model was paid €50.

Final finale: Christian Lacroix and Vlada Roslyakova – Haute Couture F/W 2009

As Vogue editor Sarah Mower wrote: «It was one of the most poignant and emotionally fraught haute couture shows ever: a collection produced on a shoestring at the last minute, and only made possible by the collective will and donated time and skills of the seamstresses, embroiderers, jewelers, milliners, and shoemakers loyal to Christian Lacroix

«I didn’t want to cry,» said Lacroix «I want to continue, maybe in a different way, with a small atelier. What I really care about is the women who do this.» Lacroix said about his last Haute Couture collection. Throughout its history, the house never turned a profit and reported a €10 million loss in 2008.

When Christian Lacroix left his position as the House’s Artistic Director in late 2009, Sacha Walckhoff, who had worked at the House since 1992, was named Creative Director. Sacha continued the House’s transformation alongside President Nicolas Topiol, extending the creative focus to decoration and lifestyle collections.

Lacroix in 2018: Designing for Desigual

Lacroix, himself, started collaborating in 2011 with the Barcelona-based clothing brand Desigual. This year, he will launch 5 mini collections for the house.

Lacroix x Nymphenburg

He also collaborated with Nymphenburg for a limited edition collection of design objects.

Interior design by Christian Lacroix: Hotel Le Bellechasse in Paris 

Moreover, Christian Lacroix has completed interior design work at several landmark hotels, including the Hotel Le Petit Moulin in Spring, 2005; the Hotel Bellechasse, right in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris), in 2007 (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World); and in 2010 Le Notre Dame hotel just a step from the cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Paris.

The newest hotel design project by Lacroix: Julius Caesar in Arles.

In 2014, formerly a 17th century Carmelite Convent, Julius Caesar in Arles opened its doors as a boutique hotel featuring décor designed by Christian Lacroix.

The Christian Lacroix store in Arles.

Lacroix without Lacroix… the House’s Studio still produces collections in men’s fashion, accessories (scarves, sunglasses, handbags, jewellery, watches and mobile phone accessories) and lifestyle (fabrics, wallpapers, cushions, rugs, tableware, candles and stationery). But unfortunately no women’s fashion… but to be honest that is also hard to imagine without Lacroix being there himself!

Lacroix, Sweetie, Lacroix! Your are a genius…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Christian Lacroix, via Vogue and © Sandra Bauknecht

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

“There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.”
Christian Dior

 In February 2019, the V&A will open the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior – the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. Spanning 1947 to the present day, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him, to explore the enduring influence of the fashion house. 

Christian Dior with model Sylvie, circa 1948. Courtesy of Christian Dior.

Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the exhibition will be reimagined for the V&A. A brand-new section will, for the first time, explore the designer’s fascination with British culture. Dior admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary. He also had a preference for Savile Row suits. In 1947, he hosted his first UK fashion show at London’s Savoy Hotel, and in 1952 established Christian Dior London.

Princess Margaret (left), with the Duchess of Marlborough behind, presents Christian Dior with a scroll entitling him to Honorary Life Membership of the British Red Cross
© Popperphoto, Getty Images

This exhibition will investigate Dior’s creative collaborations with influential British manufacturers, and his most notable British clients, from author Nancy Mitford to ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, generously on loan from the Museum of London. It will also bring to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954. 

Left: Sketch by Christian Dior for model Londres, F/W 1950 Haute Couture collection.
Right: Sketch by Christian Dior for model Oxford, S/S 1947 Haute Couture collection.
© Christian Dior.

Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, the exhibition will also showcase highlights from the V&A’s world-class Couture collections, including the iconic Bar Suit, gifted to the museum by the House of Dior in 1960. The exhibition will present over 500 objects, with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions. 

Diorling perfume, 1963. Photo © Laziz Hamani

The exhibition will highlight Dior’s vision of femininity, encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture House and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show. 

Yves Saint Laurent in front of Christian Dior London, 11th November 1958.
© Popperfoto, Getty Images

From horticulture to global travel and 18th century decorative arts, the show will reveal the sources of inspiration that defined the House of Dior’s aesthetic. From the daring designs of Yves Saint Laurent to the rational style of Marc Bohan, the flamboyance of Gianfranco Ferré, the exuberance of John Galliano, the minimalism of Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision of fashion, the exhibition will show how each successive artistic director has stayed true to Dior’s vision of Haute Couture, while bringing their own creative sensibilities to the House. 

Soirée de décembre evening dress, F/W 1954 Haute Couture collection, H line. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Gift of Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Photo © Laziz Hamani

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and COO of the V&A, said: “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams celebrates one of the most ingenious and iconic designers in fashion history. Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris – as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain. The V&A holds one of the largest and most important fashion collections in the world, and we are delighted to be able to reveal highlights from our outstanding collection alongside those from the remarkable archive of the House of Dior, for this spectacular exhibition.” 

Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator at the V&A, said: “In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his ‘New Look’, which redefined the female silhouette and reinvigorated the post-War Parisian fashion industry. The V&A recognised Dior’s important contribution to design history early-on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the 1950s onwards. The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era. In their own individual ways, each of the House’s successive artistic directors have referenced and reinterpreted Dior’s own designs and continued the legacy of the founder, ensuring that the House of Christian Dior is at the forefront of fashion today. More than seventy years after its founding, the V&A’s exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior and uncover Dior’s relationship with Britain.” 

Écarlate afternoon dress, F/W 1955 Haute Couture collection, Y line. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo © Laziz Hamani

The exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from 2 February – 14 July 2019. Tickets will go on sale in Fall 2018 and will be available soon here.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Dior

Bottega Veneta Has a New Designer

This week, Kering announced that Tomas Maier, who has been creative director of Bottega Veneta since 2001, is leaving the Italian brand.

Tomas Maier with Lauren Hutton

The reason? Kering has been dissatisfied for quite some time as Bottega Veneta’s sales have struggled and younger consumers are not interested enough in the brand that focuses extremely on craftsmanship. Compared to another label of the luxury conglomerate, Gucci, Bottega Veneta has been all about understated luxury and still lives up to its motto from the 1970s: «When Your Own Initials Are Enough.»

On the S/S 2017 runway: Gigi Hadid arm in arm with Lauren Hutton

Lately, Tomas Maier made headlines with the model casting for his S/S 2017 runway show. He sent out 73-year-old Lauren Hutton together with 21-year-old Gigi Hadid, confirming that beauty has no age. The same year, the brand reissued the iconic intrecciato clutch worn by Hutton in the 1980 film American Gigolo.

Lauren Hutton carries a Bottega Veneta clutch in American Gigolo.

Reissued: Lauren 1980 intrecciato leather clutch by Bottega Veneta
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In a statement, Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, thanked Tomas for his work in the past 17 years: «It is largely due to Tomas’ high-level creative demands that Bottega Veneta became the house it is today. He put it back on the luxury scene and made it an undisputed reference. With his creative vision, he magnificently showcased the expertise of the house’s artisansI am deeply grateful to him and I personally thank him for the work he accomplished, and for the exceptional success he helped to achieve.»

The new creative director has already been named. It is former Céline director of ready-to-wear, Daniel Lee. Until now, Lee has maintained a low profile at a number of historic design houses. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2011, worked at Maison Margiela and Balenciaga, before heading to Céline under Phoebe Philo.

I think that is an interesting choice. Kering has a track record of hiring lesser-known designers to top houses, which worked amazingly in the case of Alessandro Michele and Gucci.

TO SHOP BOTTEGA VENETA ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta, via Grazia Magazine

Kate Spade Dead at 55

Yesterday’s news really got me and my outfit post from Le Dîner en Blanc has to wait another day… Around 10am New York time, fashion designer KATE SPADEicon, 55, was found dead by a housekeeper in her bedroom at her Park Avenue apartment in N.Y.C. Apparently she hang herself with a red scarf from a doorknob. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to The New York Times.

The Spade family

What really gives me chills is the fact that she is survived by her husband of 24 years and her 13-year-old daughter. Being a mum myself, I cannot imagine the pain that has to be inside you to do this to your family. It is said that she left a note behind with messages for them to explain her actions. Her husband Andy was at home while their daughter was in school.

Message on the Kate Spade website 

KATE SPADEicon‘s story is a successful one at least when you read it. Neé Katherine Noel Brosnahan, founded her namesake brand in 1993 with husband Andy Spade after working in the accessories department at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle. While having dinner at a restaurant, both were identifying a market for quality stylish handbags which led to a fashion revolution in the 1990s by establishing one of the first modern accessories brands that did not rely on European roots.

Detachable tag tote by Kate Spade

Spade’s reasonably priced, box-shaped bags, covered in modest fabrics like microfiber and grosgrain, became quickly became popular, and the company expanded into other product lines, such as clothing and shoes.

Kate Spade amongst her handbags in 1999.

In 1999 she sold a 56% stake in KATE SPADE New York to Neiman Marcus Group; in 2006 she sold the rest of her shares, opting to focus on family over fashion as she had her daughter at quite a late age in 2005. «I needed a break and I really wanted to raise my daughter,» she told PEOPLE magazine in 2016. «People asked me, ‘Don’t you miss it?’ I really didn’t. I mean, I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I might

Pieces from Kate’s new label Frances Valentine 

Two years ago, she began another accessories brand, Frances Valentine, named for her daughter, Frances Beatrix, together with her husband. For this reason, she legally changed her name to Kate Valentine Spade to match her new label. «I thought it was important to distinguish who I am now,» she said. «I’m the same person, but there’s a difference.»

The difference might have killed her. R.I.P. Kate Spade! I am wishing the family a lot of strength to cope with this terrible strategy.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Kate Spade, © Sandra Bauknecht, Getty and People magazine

Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Last night, fashion’s most anticipated yearly event (yes, hotter than the Oscar’s), the MET GALA, offered a breathtaking red carpet that I will tell you all about today. It always takes place on the first Monday in May. But if you’re not an industry expert, you might be wondering why on earth there should be so much hype about it. First of all, Anna Wintour is hosting the night along some well-known co-hosts, which are all much-worshiped by the paparazzi: Amal Clooney, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace. But there is more… many stars, models and fashion designers attend the night in showstopping outfits worthy of unforgettable photos.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, right, designer Donatella Versace, left, and Vogue US Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour  in Rome last February.

It is a huge night for fashion fundraising as it is dedicated to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute – formally named The Anna Wintour Costume Center, in homage to the American Vogue’s editor-in-chief, who has been a chair member of the museum’s gala since 1995. It also celebrates the opening of the newest exhibition of which its theme sets the tone for the event and invitees have to dress accordingly. Personally speaking, I find this year’s motto extremely interesting, instead of being dedicated to the work of one designer, it is inspired by the dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art: «Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination».

In Anna’s recent «Letter of the Editor» in the May 2018 edition of US Vogue, she writes: «The exhibition itself has been years in the making, and it will be not only the largest Costume Institue show to date but the biggest show ever at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s hard to not sound hyperbolic about it, but it is going to be an absolutely magnificent experience – spanning some 26 galleries and including work from the likes of Valentino, Gaultier, and Dolce & Gabbana along with more than 40 extraordinarily opulent liturgical garments and accessories on loan from the Vatican.

For curator Andrew Bolton, it required endless hours of patience dealing with the Vatican, given the labyrinthine way that it operates.»

Central to the conversation will be the papal garb on loan from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican, even in the 1983 Met blockbuster, «The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art».

An enduring influence of religion on fashion: for F/W 2010, church elements played a huge role on the catwalks. Have a look at this previous post: The Nun’s Story.

The display of these extraordinary ecclesiastical pieces will highlight the enduring influence of religion and liturgical vestments on fashion. Among the 150 or so ensembles that will be on display are pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, who was educated by nuns, and John Galliano, whose transgressive F/W 2000 Couture collection for Christian Dior opened with a mitred, incense-swinging pope-like figure who proceeded down the runway to a voice intoning: «Understand the concept of love.»

First look of Christian Dior Couture F/W 2000

Fashion is a way to express yourself and by placing clothes within the context of religion, you realize how much power the looks of Christianity have and that fashion has supported the way we feel the Catholic imagination.

Part of the exhibition
Left: Fragment of a floor mosaic with a personification of Ktisis, Byzantine, 500–550, with modern restoration, marble, and glass; right: Ensemble, Dolce & Gabbana, F/W 2013

Me in a Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 look: A Byzantine Moment

«Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination» is on view May 10–October 8, 2018. A catalog with photographs by Katerina Jebb will accompany the exhibition.

Below you can enjoy some of my favorite looks of last night.

My personal winner: Blake Lively in Atelier Versace
She needed to arrive in a party bus to have enough space for her amazing gown!

Love this look as well: Jennifer Lopez in Balmain, Jimmy Choo shoes and clutch.

Rare moment: The host of the night, Anna Wintour, caught smiling in Chanel.

Angel of the night: Katy Perry in Versace.

Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier

Co-host perfection: Rihanna in custom Maison Margiela by John Galliano, Christian Louboutin shoes, Maria Tash jewelry, Cartier jewelry, and a custom Judith Leiber Couture clutch.


Always an eye-catcher: Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana and Jennifer Fisher.

Heavenly: Anne Hathaway in a stunning red Valentino gown.

Icon: Lily Collins in Givenchy


Cara Delevingne in Dior Haute Couture

Simple and elegant, matching the theme:
Andreea Diaconu in Michael Kors Collection and Chopard jewelry

Beautiful print: Ariana Grande in Vera Wang.

Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto, both in Gucci

Curvy and beautiful: Kate Upton in Zac Posen

Rita Ora in Prada

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in custom Ralph Lauren Collection

So cute: Cardi B shows off her baby bump in Moschino next to designer Jeremy Scott.

Kate Bosworth recreated her bridal look in Oscar de la Renta and Tacori jewelry.

Beautiful in velvet: Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren.

Definitely not the most sexy look, but matching the theme well: Greta Gerwig in The Row.

Stella Maxwell in Moschino and David Yurman

Sexy interpretation: Taylor Hill in Diane von Furstenberg

Best dressed man of the night: Chadwick Boseman in Versace.

I personally didn’t like this look at all, not matching the theme (as a co-host you would expect better) and the cut is not pleasing her beautiful shape: Amal Clooney in Richard Quinn.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Via Vogue.com, © Sandra Bauknecht, © Melanie Galea, (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Photos: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harris Brisbane DickFund and Fletcher Fund, 1998; Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Dodge Fund, and Rogers Fund, 1999 (1998.69; 1999.99) / © Metropolitan Museum of Art; Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana / Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb, Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Chanel Coco Beach

For a long time, the sun was the celestial body to be avoided. But, defiant and liberated from convention, Gabrielle Chanel decided that bronze would be her colour: one of freedom, leisure, and in a word, life. In Deauville, then in Biarritz and Cannes, the designer opened boutiques, located a few steps from the beachside. In love with the coast and outdoor life, a few years later in 1928 she acquired some land in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on which she had her villa La Pausa built and where she welcomed her family and artist friends.

Coco Chanel, Misia Sert and Mme Philippe Berthelot on The Beach, Lido Venice.

Gabrielle Chanel had started creating collections calibrated for the dolce vita of beachside resorts, jersey outfits in Deauville from 1912 and fluid knits with supple lines in Biarritz from 1915. Among them the silk blouses with wide collars, inspired by sailors and worn by the designer herself, become a signature of this lifestyle. With its view over the Mediterranean and vast Provencal garden, La Pausa was a home port, a stopover between stays on one of the yachts belonging to the Duke of Westminster and the perfect setting for this casual chic outdoor wardrobe.

Coco Chanel, wearing «beach pyjamas», with Duke Laurino of Rome, in 1930 – a great example how Breton tops and nautical style sailed into our wardrobes.

Today Karl Lagerfeld honours this art of living, so dear to Gabrielle Chanel. The designer gives it a renewed vision, infused with youth and stylish energy. While in every collection there’s been surf and paddleboards, ping pong bats and other summer sport accessories, now COCO BEACH DE CHANEL sees the light of day, a ready-to-wear and accessory collection conceived for the beach and seaside resorts.

Chanel S/S 2018

For S/S 2018, swimming costumes and two-pieces, dresses, playsuits and terrycloth shorts but also outfits in fringed denim or belted striped sailor tops in ecru and burgundy silk make up this sporty line. Buttons are stamped with marine anchors while the iconic quilting is printed on jersey, and red, pink or black denim. Sailor’s bags held with the classic chain interlaced with leather, bowling bags, camera cases and clutches, coloured espadrilles with black toe caps complete this collection of swimwear and beachwear.

Another look from Chanel’s  S/S 2018 runway. 

Dedicated to life by the sea, this COCO BEACH DE CHANEL collection will only be available in a selection of CHANEL boutiques, naturally located in beachside resorts: Saint-Tropez, Monaco, Cannes and Nice for France, then Barcelona and Capri for Europe. Other holiday resorts drenched in sun all year round like Palm Beach, Santa Fe, Honolulu and Dubai as well as certain spots in Australia, Brazil, Japan, China, Singapore, Korea and Turkey will also receive the collection, available from mid-June through to September.

Chanel’s pop-up boutique in St. Tropez

From that first dive into the ocean at dawn to toes buried in the sand at dusk, this collection encapsulates the sun, life by the beach and the great outdoors. It’s the signature of a lifestyle dedicated to sunlight.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Chanel

Hubert de Givenchy Dead at 91

I have just received the tragic news that another legend has left the planet. Fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, who opened his eponymous fashion house in 1952, died past Saturday aged 91 as his partner – former haute couture designer – Philippe Venet has announced today. The couple lived in a Renaissance chateau near Paris.

«Balloon Coat», Hubert de Givenchy, 1958

The aristocratic gentleman was known for his sophisticated and ladylike chic in the 1950s and 1960s and famous for having designed much of the personal and professional wardrobe of Audrey Hepburn, as well as clothing for clients such as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Grace Kelly.

At the age of seventeen, he moved to Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. Givenchy’s first designs were done for Jacques Fath in 1945. Later he did designs for Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong (1946) – working alongside the still-unknown Pierre Balmain and Christian Dior, followed by 5 years working for the avantgarde designer Elsa Schiaparelli before he opened his own design house at the Plaine Monceau in Paris in 1952.

Audrey Hepburn wearing Givenchy in 1954 film «Sabrina».

His style was marked by innovation, contrary to the more conservative designs by Dior. At 25, he was the youngest designer of the progressive Paris fashion scene. His first collections were characterized by the use of rather cheap fabrics for financial reasons, but they always piqued curiosity through their design. Audrey Hepburn, later the most prominent proponent of Givenchy’s fashion, and Givenchy met in 1953 during the shoot of «Sabrina». He went on to design the famous «little black dress» she wore in «Breakfast at Tiffany’s».

In 1961, when Audrey Hepburn got the roll of Holly Golightly, designer Hubert de Givenchy designed the famous black dress which became one of the most iconic clothing items of the 20th century.

He also developed his first perfume collection for her (L’Interdit and Le de Givenchy) and made Audrey Hepburn the face of it. For the very first time a star was the face of a fragrance’s advertising campaign and probably the last time that it was done for free, only by friendship.

At that time, Givenchy also met his idol, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Although a renowned designer, Givenchy not only sought inspiration from the lofty settings of haute couture but also in such avant-garde environments as Limbo, the store in Manhattan’s East Village. In 1954, Givenchy’s prêt-à-porter collection debuted.

1957 Babydoll Dress by Givenchy

The House of Givenchy was split in 1981, with the perfume line going to Veuve Clicquot, while the fashion branch was acquired by LVMH in 1989. As of today, LVMH owns Parfums Givenchy as well.

De Givenchy retired from fashion design in 1995. His successor to head the Givenchy label was John Galliano, followed by a five-year stay from Alexander McQueen and a term from 2001 to 2004 by Julien Macdonald. As we all know, Riccardo Tisci revived the Givenchy brand tremendously from 2005 until 2017. This season, Clare Waight Keller presented her first runway show for Givenchy.

Rest in peace, Hubert de Givenchy and thank you for all those wonderful fashionable moments.
You will never be forgotten!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Givenchy, Getty Images

Visit Flanders – Visit Antwerp

January blues? Forget those and plan a weekend trip to Antwerp. Last Monday, I was invited by Visitflanders to celebrate the launch of the first direct flight from Zurich to Antwerp. From now on, Flyvlm is heading on a daily basis to the Belgium hot spot. In 48 hours, I explored the city with a population just over 500,000 (of which I know surprisingly many:-)) and fell in love! Would you like to know why? Here you go!


Brussels is Belgium‘s capital, but the second biggest city, Antwerp, is without a doubt the country’s hot spot of cool. Best known for its gigantic seaport, diamond district, beer and being home to the baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, it has a dazzling variety of attractions. And personally speaking one of the most important ones, is fashion! Antwerp’s renowned fashion school, the «Royal Academy of Fine Arts», is the prolific birth place of world-famous designers, of which six became known as «The Antwerp Six».

The Antwerp Six

Under Linda Loppa, who now serves as the dean of Polimoda fashion school, Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee graduated between 1980–81. In times where everything was a «little too much», the fashion collective presented a distinct, radical avant-garde vision for fashion that established Antwerp as a notable location for fashion design. The breakthrough occurred in 1986 as the group rented a truck and set out for London Fashion Week with their collections that immediately became a huge success. Within just three days, they found themselves stocked at Barneys, Bergdorf and Liberty of London, and propelled into the media stratosphere, even without Instagram.

Martin Margiela, another Belgian contemporary, was not actually part of the group that showed in London, although he is often mistakenly described as one of the Antwerp Six; he had moved to Paris, initially working for Jean Paul Gaultier. Another Belgium fashion celebrity is Raf Simons, who originally graduated in Industrial Design and Furniture Design from a college in Genk in 1991, when  he got encouraged by Linda Loppa to become a self-trained menswear designer and launched his Raf Simons label in 1995.  He began working as a furniture designer for various galleries, having previously interned at the design studio of Walter Van Beirendonck between 1991-1993. The latter  took him to Paris Fashion Week and that was when Simons first saw a fashion show — Martin Margiela’s all-white show in 1991 — which inspired Simons to turn to fashion design. I love how all of them are related and that it brings it full circle.

With Raf Simons

Despite being a powerful magnet for everyone from fashion moguls to art lovers and diamond dealers, Antwerp also retains an intriguing medieval heart with plenty of café-filled cobbled lanes, a riverside fortress and a truly impressive cathedral. Antwerp in a nutshell? These are the must-sees during your visit.

Hotel Les Nuits
Located on the fourth floor, this little boutique hotel sits on the edge of Antwerp’s Fashion District and is perfectly located in the city. Every room has its own design. The service is extremely friendly and the food is healthy and amazing!
Lange Gasthuisstraat 12, 2000 Antwerp
Phone + 32 03 225 02 04

The Apartment
A home away from home. The luxury Apartment with hotel service at Graanmarkt 13 is designed by Vincent Van Duysen and is a warm and welcoming home in the heart of Antwerp. It is the place where Mario Testing or Tim Burton are staying when they are in town. The top floor used to be the home of the concept store’s (located beneath) founders Tim and Ilse, but is now open for all. The price per night for the full apartment is € 1.300 (it is absolutely worth the money!). You get a spacious loft for up to 6 adults with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, wifi/internet, and breakfast included.
Graanmarkt 13, 2000 Antwerp
Phone +32 3 337 79 91, E-mail 

Bourla
Café Restaurant Bourla is housed in a majestic building on Graanmarkt, next to the Apartment. Yet the atmosphere is casual, the prices are decent and the Belgium food is amazing. Try their fries and you die! Young and old, businessmen and tourists, shoppers and theatregoers… everyone feels at home here.
Graanmarkt 7, 2000 Antwerp
Phone +32 3 232 16 32, E-mail 

RAS
So chic! In an outstanding Antwerp setting in terms of architecture, interior decoration, art and design, lunch or dinner at RAS goes beyond food. It is an unforgettable total experience. The name drives from its location, RAS – Restaurant Aan de Stroom (the Restaurant by the River).
Ernest van Dijckkaai 37, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 234 12 75

Billie’s Bier Kafétaria
This is your first stop when you are looking for a great pub in Antwerp (there are many). From the greatest and unknown Belgian beers to the most obscure beers from around the world, you’ll find everything here! I loved Oude Geuze, a blend of lambic from different years, served in champagne flutes.
Kammenstraat 12, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 226 31 83

Würst Haute Dogs
This is a must when you are in Antwerp. At Würst, Belgian television chef Jeroen Meus serves “haute dogs“, hot dogs like you’ve never tasted them before. I shared a Caesar dog and a Sauerkraut dog which were both absolutely amazing.
Maalderijstraat 5, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 296 18 86

You will go bananas with the magnitude of Belgium designers having their little affordable shops around town. Moreover you can find many high end designer brands in Antwerp and of course, renowned Belgium designers have their flagship stores in the city, too.

Dries van Noten
Personally speaking, a must when you are in town. It’s impossible to untangle the city of Antwerp from the life and work of Dries Van Noten. Unfortunately the shop was closed when I was there last week.
Nationalestraat 16, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 470 25 10

Delvaux
Delvaux is the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world, founded in 1829 in Belgium. You can find a great selection of handbags, small leather goods and accessories for women and men.
Komedieplaats 17, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 232 02 47

Verso
The moment you enter this multibrand concept store which is across from Hotel Les Nuits, your breath is taken away. Located in a beautifully restored 16th century mansion which served as a bank before, it is a fashion heaven on earth with a great selection of many high end designers. The Verso café is also worth going to.
Lange Gasthuisstraat 9, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 226 92 92

Renaissance
A multi brand hig end fashion store merging directional fashion with fine dining in the heart of Antwerp. Realised by acclaimed Belgian architect Glenn Sestig, the 800 sqm boutique and restaurant delivers bold statements in light, colour and atmosphere.
Nationalestraat 32, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 233 93 90

Essentiel Antwerp
The Belgium fashion brand delivers trendy fashion at affordable prices and has many locations in the city of Antwerp. In Switzerland available at Globus and at Limmatquai 70 in Zurich.
Schuttershofstraat 26, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 213 15 10

Stadtfeestzaal
The beautifully renovated Shopping Stadsfeestzaal on the Meir is presently a shopping centre housing over fifty shops. Not my favorite for shopping, but worth seeing.
Meir 78, 2000 Antwerp
Phone: +32 3 202 31 00

Antwerp Central Station
First used in 1905, this station is absolutely impressive and is considered as one the most beautiful train station in the world! Trains arrive on top of each other on three different platforms with two additional underground levels.

Antwerp Zoo
One of the oldest and best-known zoos, it will take you at least half a day to see one of the most diversified animal collections in Europe.

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Plantin-Moretus Museum

Antwerp Museums
Antwerp has numerous museums. Among the best known are the Rubens House, the MAS | Museum aan de Stroom, and the Red Star Line Museum, but there are plenty of others worth seeing: historical houses where you can savour the atmosphere of past times, a fashion museum and several art museums. There is something for everyone, whatever your taste. As I was on a Monday in Antwerp, museums were unfortunately closed. My favorite would have been the MOMU Fashion Museum.

Vlaeykensgang
The secret Vlaeykensgang alley dates from 1591 and connects Hoogstraat, Oude Koornmarkt Pelgrimstraat with one another. Walk through the gate at Oude Koornmarkt 16 and you feel as if you have journeyed back in time.

Grote Markt
Grote Markt originally was a forum or square just outside the medieval residential quarter. In 1220 Duke Henry I of Brabant (1165-1235) donated this community land to the city. The name Merckt was used for the first time in 1310.

Cathedral of Our Lady
After 169 years of construction the cathedral of Antwerp finally dominated Antwerp’s skyline in 1521 with a height of 123 metres. It’s the highest Gothic building in the Low Countries.It is an iconic treasury, with an impressive collection of major art works, including a series of paintings by Rubens.

Having the most exclusive sightseeing tour thanks to Tanguy Ottomer.

The Story of Nello & Patrasche
The story of the young boy Nello and his dog Patrasche is famous all over the world and it’s set… in Antwerp! Nello and Patrasche are the main characters in the 1872 novel «A Dog of Flanders» in which the Cathedral of Our Lady and various paintings by Rubens play an important role.
Nello, a poor orphan boy, becomes friends with Patrasche, an abandoned cart dog. They walk to town together every day. They often visit the cathedral, where Nello admires the paintings by Rubens. Due to a series of setbacks, the lives of Nello and Patrasche end in that same cathedral. They die together from hardship. This moving and atypical Christmas story holds a message of pride and unconditional friendship and is very famous in Japan. Artist Batist Vermeulen (‘Tist’) designed a statue of the boy and his dog which you can admire on the Handschoenmarkt, in front of the cathedral.

Den Deugniet
Brussel’s Manneken Pis‘ companion in Antwerp is called Den Deugniet and is a pretty naughty statue that can be found at the corner of the Oudaanand Korte Gasthuisstraat to show his bare bottom to people passing by. It was first placed there in the ’70s by local traders and has since been kidnapped several times! Now the bottom is not gold anymore but you can still rub it for good luck.

I had an amazing 48 hours in Antwerp and I am sure that you can imagine that time flies fast with all the spots you can visit in the Flemish city. I’ll be back, for sure…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
Photo Antwerp Six via Dazzed Digital

Breaking News: Hedi Slimane to Join Céline

This breaking news for all fashion lovers. One of the industry’s leading image-makers and trendsetters, Hedi Slimane, was announced by LVMH today as Artistic, Creative and Image Director of Céline with effect from February this year. He will direct all Céline collections, extending to men’s fashion, couture and fragrances.

Hedi Slimane rose to fame during his tenure as the Creative Director for Dior Homme (also under the helmet of LVMH) in the mid-2000’s. You could say that he invented the skinny suit. A decade later and maybe most notoriously, he went to Yves Saint Laurent and rebranded the label simply Saint Laurent. Its entire visual identity was reengineered by moving the design studio to Los Angeles and showing revamped rocker looks each season. Hedi Slimane’s talent and his remarkable ability to anticipate and express in a unique way the evolutions and desires of his age, will ensure a further era of exceptional growth and development for the House of Céline.

Bernard Arnault commented: I am particularly happy that Hedi is back within the LVMH Group and taking the reins of our Céline Maison. He is one of the most talented designers of our time.  I have been a great admirer of his work since we collaborated on Dior Homme, which he launched to global critical acclaim in the 2000s. His arrival at Céline reinforces the great ambitions that LVMH has for this Maison. Hedi will oversee and develop all creativity for both women’s and men’s fashion, but also for leather goods, accessories and fragrances. He will leverage his global vision and unique aesthetic virtuosity in further building an iconic French Maison”.

Hedi Slimane said: “I am delighted to join Bernard Arnault in this all-embracing and fascinating mission for Céline. I greatly look forward to returning to the exciting world of fashion and the dynamism of the ateliers”.

LoL, Sandra

Photo of Hedi Slimane | Y.R.

Mary Katrantzou – Queen of Prints


My avid readers know how much I love MARY KATRANTZOU. Since her first collection, I have been collecting her designs. So I was over the moon when she told me to be part of her first solo exhibition that opened its doors this weekend at Dallas Contemporary as part of its first season for the new year. «Mary, the Queen of Prints,» explores the innovative work and kaleidoscopic world of fashion designer Mary Katrantzou. In addition to the museum celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, the upcoming year also coincides with the 10th anniversary of Mary Katrantzou’s brand.

With Mary at the Net-à-Porter Dinner in London in a S/S 2014 printed top and skirt.

Mary Katrantzou has said: «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


Following previous collaborations with top cultural institutions such as the New York City Ballet and the Paris Opera, this exhibition will be the first time the entirety of the designer’s previous collections is represented under one roof.

«Mary, the Queen of Prints» will be on view at Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass Street, in Dallas, Texas, until March 4th, 2018.

A beautiful dress from the F/W 2011 collection photographed by Tim Walker for Vogue.

Curated by Museum Director Peter Doroshenko and Director of Exhibitions Justine Ludwig, the exhibition will consist of approximately 200 garments as well as accessories, sketches, and textiles by Katrantzou. The works reveal Katrantzou’s diverse inspirations ranging from the pages of Architectural Digest to Fantasia, and provide a closer look at her inventive tailoring and techniques.

Presented in color groupings rather than chronologically (Katrantzou’s masterful use of color has been central to her aesthetic since the beginning of her brand), the garments create a prismatic field of color within Dallas Contemporary’s distinctive space and reflect the designer’s recognition in the industry as a creative mind and innovator.

With Mary at the UBS Unique Event in London in 2017

ABOUT MARY KATRANTZOU
Born in Athens, Mary Katrantzou studied Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a BA in Textile design and an MA in Fashion from Central Saint Martins. Her graduation show in 2008, which featured trompe l’oeil prints of oversized jewelry on jersey-bonded dresses, took the industry by storm, immediately securing a number of prestigious stockists, notably Browns, Joyce, Colette. After her graduation show, Mary Katrantzou established her namesake brand. She now boasts over 100 high-end stockists ranging from Selfridges to Joyce, Matchesfashion.com, Harrods and Saks.

Wearing the Ivory Dress from the F/W 2012 collection.

Mary Katrantzou was dubbed “The Queen of Print” by press, a moniker that recognized the enormous influence of her work in the medium. Katrantzou plays with clashing aesthetics, mixes technology and craftsmanship and explores opulent innovative embellishments in a world that is feminine, innovative, fresh and elegant.

Winning the Swiss Textiles Award in 2010 in Zurich

In 2010 Katrantzou was awarded the Swiss Textiles Award in recognition of her pioneering textile treatments; in November 2011, she received the British Fashion Award for Emerging Talent, in February 2012 was awarded Young Designer of the Year at the Elle Style Awards. In 2015, Katrantzou received the Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, was awarded Glamour designer of the year, Harper’s Bazaar Breakthrough Designer as well as the British Fashion Award for New Establishment Designer.

In Mary’s Powdy Print from the F/W 2012 collection.

Prestigious collaborations have included capsule ranges with Swarovski, Longchamp, Moncler, Topshop, Cowshed and Adidas Originals. Mary has also collaborated with artist Pablo Bronstein at the ICA, designed costumes for the NYC Ballet and the Paris Opera and her work has been exhibited at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and at Lord Rothschild’s «Creatures and Creations» exhibition at Waddesdon Manor in the UK.

Mary’s Girls: from Mira Mikati to Nicky Hilton, from Sabine Getty to Wendy Wu – we all celebrated with opening of «Creatures and Creations» in May 2017.

From left to right: Eugenie Niarchos, Sandra Bauknecht, Elena Perminova, Miroslava Duma, Mary Katrantzou, Tamu McPherson, Elisa Nalin, Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis and Viviana Volpicella.

COLLECTION HISTORY
S/S 2018 – The Youth of the Year
F/W 2017 – A Fantasia  /  S/S 2017 – Minoan
F/W  2016 – Rodeo & Juliette  /  S/S 2016 – Cosmology
F/W 2015 – Kenophobia  /  S/S 2015 – Pangea and Panthalassa
F/W 2014 – Symbolism  /  S/S 2014 – The Shoes
F/W 2013 – Landscapes   /  S/S 2013 – Postage Stamps
F/W 2012 – Ordinary Objects  /   S/S 2012 – Flower Fields
F/W 2011 – Objets d’Art   /  S/ 2011 – Rooms
F/W 2010 – Madame Pompadour   /  S/S 2010 – Blown Glass
F/W 2009 – A Woman in a Bottle /  S/S 2009 – Jewels

Below you see how many pieces of the exhibition are from my closet. So proud of my personal collection and the fact that I have been part of the Katrantzou family from day one.

Serendipity Dress from the S/S 2011 collection

Jewel Tree Dress from the F/W 2011 collection

Kite Runner Dress from the F/W 2011 collection

Caramolengo Dress from the F/W 2011 collection

Harp Hazard Dress from the S/S 2012 collection

Fishtank Dress from the S/S 2012 collection

Powder Gun Dress from the F/W 2012 collection

Expandit Dress from the F/W 2012 collection

Alias Dress from the S/S 2013 collection

Ziggy Dress from the S/S 2013 collection

Orlyon Dress from the F/W 2013 collection

Godiva Jacket and Godiva Skirt from the S/S 2014 collection

Olivier Coat and Charm Butterfly Dress from the F/W 2016 collection

Hemera Dress from the S/S 2017 collection

Look 32 (Fustaella Shirt – Dove Top – Pantheon Skirt)  from the S/S 2017 collection

Nausheen Fox Fur Coaticon from the F/W 2017 collection

To many more year to come! Congrats, Mary, I love you!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Mary Katrantzou and © Sandra Bauknecht