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

Jonathan Saunders Resigns from DVF

This morning, I heard the news that Jonathan Saunders has resigned as chief creative officer of DVF (Diane von Furstenberg). He joined the brand in May 2016, after shuttering his own critically acclaimed but financially ailing London-based label after 12 years, and was responsible for the overall creative direction which means he was in charge from the corporate identity to product to store design to marketing.

Celebrating the collaboration in 2016: Saunders and von Furstenberg – the affection didn’t last for long…

Over the course of his design career, Saunders has become known for innovation, craftsmanship and his creative use of print, pattern and color. His inspired understanding of fashion has also resulted in collaborations with dancers, artists and interiors companies alike. Past honors include the 2012 British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund Award , and the 2012 British Fashion Award in Emerging TalentMenswear. Born in Scotland, Saunders graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1999 with a BA in Printed Textiles, going on to graduate from Central Saint Martins in 2002 with an MA with distinction in Printed Textiles.

Diane von Furstenberg in 1976 

Diane von Furstenberg first came into prominence in the 1970s, when she created her first and now-iconic jersey wrap dress, which came to symbolize power and independence for a generation of women and helped establish Diane as a legendary and crucial fixture in the industry. By 1976, more than five million dresses had been sold and Diane, at only 29 years old, was featured on the cover of Newsweek. After years of ups and downs, the collection was relaunched in 1997. Her first creative director, Yvan Mispelaere, left the company in 2012 after two years, as did Michael Herz, who was her artistic director from 2014 to 2016. According to reports, Diane is still involved herself very much in her eponymous company, which seemed to have caused some degree of friction with Saunders. Moreover, rumors are that she is planning to sell a stake in her company and has hired investment banking firm Michel Dyens & Co. to explore options.

Diane von Furstenberg Pre-fall 2018

Till today, DVF has struggled to re-establish its place in the market. Saunders’ last collection for DVF was Pre-fall 2018, presented earlier this month. To be continued…

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

Photos: Courtesy of DVF

Hermès Birkin Auctioned for a Record Price

Yesterday, an Hermès Niloticus Birkin bag made «fashion history» when it sold for a record price of HK$2.98 million which is around US$383,522 at Christie’s in Hong Kong. As South China Morning Post reports it became the world’s most expensive handbag ever sold at an auction, the Holy Grail for bag lovers so to say.

The muse: Jane Birkin

The story behind the Birkin bag, that was launched in 1984, is actually pretty sweet. Back in the early 1980s, Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to Jane Birkin on a flight from Paris to London. The actress had just placed her straw travelling bag in the overhead compartment, when she spilled the contents all over the place. As she gathered her belongings, the passenger in the seat next to her suggested that she should have a bag with pockets.

She replied, presumably very annoyed, that when Hermès made such a bag, she would have one. The man then announced himself as Jean-Louis Dumas and the idea of the ideal handbag was born.

Yesterday’s auction at Christie’s in Hong Kong

We all know that a Birkin bag is a safe investment due to its long waiting list and probably even more lucrative than stocks. According to the Independent, there was a study published in January 2016 that compared three different types of investments: the S&P 500 (an index that reflects the stock market and is said to be the leading indicator of U.S. equities); gold; and Hermès Birkin handbags. The research concluded that the latter are by far the safest investment of the three as they’re not subject to fluctuations in the market. Fans of the iconic piece tend to beat the lines by scoring it at one of those auctions where it has been continuously breaking price records.

In yesterday’s case, a matte white Niloticus Crocodile Himalaya Birkin 30 with a diamond-encrusted white-gold buckle and hardware was auctioned by an anonymous collector, who won the bid by phone and who is surprisingly not from Asia.

Object of desire: A rare exceptional Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 30 with 18k white gold diamond-encrusted hardware.

What is so special about this Niloticus Crocodile Himalaya Birkin bag? It is one of the most coveted bags due to its extreme rarity, status symbol and exquisite craftsmanship. A similar style was auctioned for HK$2.94 million at Christie’s last year. The gradation of the color of the crocodile leather resembles the majestic, snow-capped Himalayas, from smoky grey to pearly white. The diamond-encrusted hardware make it of course extra scarce. 

So beautiful and rare: the Niloticus Crocodile Himalaya Kelly 28 bag with Palladium Hardware, approximately €60,000–80,000.

Apart from the Birkins, Hermès also started to craft a few Himalaya Kelly bags for top clients, which are fabled as «the rarest handbags in the world».

Personally speaking on top of my wish list…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Via Hermès, South China Morning Post

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

Louis Vuitton – The Art of Gifting

Now, more than ever, gifting is considered an art. To celebrate the holiday season, the Art of Gifting collection that debuted in early 2017 has expanded with new offerings. Sharing emotions, that is something that is deeply rooted in the Maison Louis Vuitton’s attention to excellence.

Louis Vuitton’s first store in 1854.

In 1854, Louis Vuitton founded his namesake House as an emballeur, or trunk packer. The most elegant ladies of the day flocked to his store right by the legendary Place Vendôme to entrust him with their jewels, hats and sumptuous dresses.

A remake of the original Louis Vuitton Pateki brainteaser

Renowned for its innovative trunks, the Art of Packing specialist soon began creating delightful talismans, such as the Pateki brainteaser invented by Gaston Louis Vuitton, the grandson of the House’s founder.

Starting in the 1920s, the pleasure of offering gifts became an art de vivre in its own right, and was illustrated in works such as «Gift-giving, the proper guide to choosing and offering a present for New Year’s, the holidays, birthdays and all circumstances in which one wishes to be kind to those one loves

In 2017, the Gifting collection presents a trio of themes that extends the art of generosity with gift ideas for intimate and grand occasions alike. Ideal for year-end festivities, these presents enhance the joys of the season and highlight the unique excellence of Louis Vuitton’s workshops.

Plexiglass box «Scott»

Decorative objects distill the iconic codes of Louis Vuitton to all areas of the home. Like a smaller-scale, nested iteration of Louis Vuitton’s trunks, the «Scott» keepsake box lives up to its heritage and spiritedly blends the modernity of Plexiglas with the sensuality of natural cowhide leather.

Valet trays «Georges»

In the living room, assorted photo frames naturally find a place next to «Georges», a valet tray named after the creator of the Monogram canvas. To combine chic and practicality, three formats come in either Epi leather or natural cowhide leather.

Christmas tree baubles

There are even Christmas ornaments for decorating the tree with Monogram flowers in leather, where canvas and silk embellish the traditional fir with a luxurious iconic touch.

Notebooks

Celebrated by Louis Vuitton, writing, an essential part of the Art of Travel, fires the imagination more than ever. Personnal notebooks, the stalwart companions of traveling writers and the repository for ideas big and small, take on the sheen of precious metals, in gold or silver. Two diary formats in Epi leather join a lineup of colourful or printed notebooks, pencil cases, bookmarks, desk blotters and pencil holders in Monogram Canvas and House leathers.

Teddy bear «Louis» and truck «Tiki»

Gaston Louis Vuitton, the grandson of the House’s founder, was renowned for creating his own parlour games and for his collection of beautiful wooden toys. To this day, a playful spirit influences House creations, such as the «Louis», a patchwork teddy bear, or the build-it-yourself «Titi» truck in Monogram canvas and leather. Travel-friendly objects bring an air of playfulness wherever they alight, from playing cards and signed sets of dice to glasses cases in Monogram canvas and cowhide leather brightened with a touch of bright red or navy blue.

Jumping ropes and ping-pong set

Sports accessories likewise get into the spirit of the season: with a skipping rope in Monogram Eclipse canvas and a matching ping-pong set, the art of movement takes a cue from the Art of Travel.

Objects from the «Gifting» collection will be available starting in November 2017 in Louis Vuitton stores worldwide.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Carmen Miranda Reloaded

I never followed what people said was in fashion. I think that women should wear what suits them. So I created a style that fitted my type and my artistic genre.”
Carmen Miranda

The Portuguese-Brazilian actor and samba singer – and one of the first celebrity fashion designers – died over 60 years ago today. But her legacy remains …

Carmen Miranda’s name has become synonymous with frilly blouses, plastic fruit accessories and extravagant headpieces, items that were always essential to her larger-than-life look. Her influence on fashion had broader consequences too: the colourful aesthetic that made her a hit in Hollywood was controversial back home in Brazil.

Known for her tutti-frutti turban, A Pequena Notável, as she was known in her home country Brazil, or The Brazilian Bombshell, as they called her in the USA, did not just sing and dance. She also created the costumes for her Broadway shows and Hollywood musicals in the 40s and 50s, a period when she was the highest paid studio actress.

Born in Portugal, she moved to Brazil with her family when she was still a child. In 1925, as a sixteen year old in Rio de Janeiro, she discovered she had a talent for making hats and dresses while working in a clothing shop. She began to design and sew her own costumes when in 1930 she started singing professionally. As she was just five foot tall, she was also known for wearing platforms and making them very popular.

Many designers have been inspired by her tropical image over the last years but I truly adore what Dolce & Gabbana has come up with for the S/S 2017 collection:

Appliquéd polka-dot stretch-silk turban by Dolce & Gabbana
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This playful turban combines the label’s ‘Mambo‘ and polka-dot inspirations. Modeled after dancer Carmen Miranda’s iconic headpiece, this structured style is made from patterned stretch-silk and topped with flowers and colorful fruit appliqués. The internal brim is lined with a grosgrain ribbon to keep it comfortably in place.

By the way, Carmen Miranda’s original costumes were brought together by her sister in the Museu Carmen Miranda in Rio de Janeiro. A museum that is worth the visit if you love fashion as much as I do. Therefore I adore how Dolce & Gabbana also reinterpreted beautifully the singer’s iconic bow turbans:


iconFloral-print silk-satin headband by Dolce & Gabbana

This headband iconis twisted at the front and patterned with pretty pink roses, blue butterflies and the label’s signature. Isn’t it so pretty?

To a tropical weekend…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana, Bettmann/CORBIS and via Vogue Brazil

The New Loewe

the_new_loewe

The fashion world is moving fast and sometimes labels that have been around for many years become all of a sudden absolutely trendy. It takes the right designer to lead the brand to new heights just like Alessandro Michele did with Gucci. Now, there is another fashion house that you should include in your wish list: LOEWE. Founded in 1846, Loewe started life as a cooperative of leather artisans in Madrid, before German entrepreneur Enrique Loewe Roessberg took over the workshop and consolidated it under his name in 1872. The Spanish label introduced its first ready-to-wear collection in 1965, bringing fashion to the centre of the brand.

jonathan_anderson_loewe

In 2013 Jonathan Anderson took over the helm at Loewe and transformed the Spanish house slowly but constantly into one of the most talked-about labels this season.

loewe-spring-summer-2016-ad-campaign01Raquel Zimmermann starred in Loewe’s S/S 2016 ad campaign.

Under Anderson’s creative direction, the label has had its logo and emblem rebranded by Parisian art duo M/M (Paris), Steven Meisel-lensed ad campaigns have been rolled out and the clothes and bags are quickly garnering must-have status among the style set. When it comes to taking a label steeped in heritage and making it relevant today, Anderson has the Midas touch.

joyce_bag_loewe

A statement bag that you should get: Loewe‘s Joyce embellished leather shoulder bag.

d08551fedc7faf2c5dbe9d0d7fa7a648A modern legacy: LOEWE Boutique Bilbao designed by architect Javier Carvajal, 1960.
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An authority in leather goods for over 160 years, Loewe, under the creative vision of Anderson, continues to design classic handbags using cutting-edge techniques. With a keen interest in interiors and architecture, Javier Carvajal (the architect responsible for the modernist Loewe stores in the 1950s and 1960s) is another key inspiration.

puzzle_bag

The new must-have bag for the S/S 2017 season? Loewe‘s Puzzle leather shoulder bag.
iconFor Anderson’s first bag style, the Puzzle, more than 40 fragments of super-soft leather have been sliced and repositioned.

«I set out to find a new way of building a bag, fundamentally questioning its structure. It was about deconstructing a conventional bag to create a flat object with a tri-dimensional function» – Jonathan Anderson.

I love it! It is definitely on my shopping list…

You can shop a great selection of LOEWE at NET-A-PORTERicon, LUISAVIAROMAMATCHESFASHION and MYTHERESA.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Loewe

Interview with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon

interview_carol_lim_humberto_leon_kenzo_hm

Dear readers, the big day is almost here. This Thursday, the KENZO x H&M collection will hit the shelves. I am thrilled to introduce you today a little more to this great collaboration and to the two masterminds behind it. Get to know the designers, that are truly two amazing people, and dive into the must-have pieces. I took many photos for you when I met them in NYC at the H&M showroom on Fifth Avenue.

sandra_bauknecht_kenzoxhm_look_day1_carol_lim_humberto_leonFramed by lovely Carol Lim to the left and Humberto Leon to the right in NYC.

Here is a little bit more insight about CAROL LIM and HUMBERTO LEON, the creative directors of KENZOicon, who have been friends since their studies at the University of California Berkeley.  In 2002, they opened their first store in New York. They took this decision after they had quit their corporate jobs at different fashion houses. Carol was a merchandise planner at Bally and Humberto was at Burberry. Even that it was a little bit of a risky time in New York, they dared this adventure. Not too surprisingly, OPENING CEREMONY went on to become a global sensation because Carol and Humberto bring such enthusiasm and fun to everything they do in fashion.

sandra_bauknecht_balmain_opening_ceremony_backMe running to the OPENING CEREMONY store in Los Angeles in 2013

The street wear brands that the designer duo brought into their store and made partnerships with, the things that they’d seen from their youth when they were growing up in the Los Angeles area, the celebrities who walked into their shop and expressed interest in the collection. This journey lead them to a big milestone in their lives. Five years ago, they became the creative directors at KENZO and transformed the brand immediately into something every fashionista wanted. Do you remember the hype about their tiger head sweaters (click here for a previous post from 2012)…

As you can see from the success, Carol and Humberto were clearly the right choice for the revival of the brand. KENZO TAKADA himself – when he started his brand in the ’70s in Paris – opened a store that was really visionary at the time. He mixed all these different cultures and design elements, and was one of the first ones transforming couture to street wear in a super accessible and fun way.

Therefore, H&M was eager for them to join their long list of designer collaborations. As ANN-SOFIE JOHANSSON, creative adviser at H&M, pointed out: «I think the timing was really right. We had our eyes on KENZO for a while, ever since Carol and Humberto joined and kind of recharged it. It’s really nice to have a house with kind of a history but also new creators giving it new energy

carol_lim_humberto_leon_anne_sofie_johanssonCarol Lim, Humberto Leon and Ann-Sofie Johansson, all in Kenzo x H&M

To begin, Carol and Humberto, looking at the beginning of these collaborations, 2004, the first was with Karl Lagerfeld, a couple years after you opened up your store, what was it like as retailers to see this phenomena happening in fashion, breaking the rules of what a designer brand could be, and what’s happened since then that made it possible for these partnerships to continue to be a success even 12 years later today?

HUMBERTO LEON: I think when we first heard about the Karl Lagerfeld and H&M collection, we were not only store owners but also lovers of buying and shopping and super excited. We were two people who lined up like everyone else. We just recounted all the pieces we had bought. I still own the suit, the dress shirt, the jeans, all these amazing things. I felt like it really gave us as consumers not only a chance to buy a designer, but also something that was created specially for this collaboration. So a really unique experience that is beyond just being able to buy the designer’s goods.

CAROL LIM: Yeah, and I think that having collaborated and having had a store, we realized the importance right away. We were excited to see the two brands coming together, creating something really magical. So for us, we had it marked in our calendars that it was something we were really excited to experience.

KENZO x H&M launch event : directed by Jean-Paul Goude - FIRST LOOKS

Carol and Humberto, why did you think this was right for KENZO as the first brand under the LVMH umbrella to do a partnership with H&M, which is interesting in itself?

CAROL LIM: First, we love the idea of storytelling and also speaking to a broader audience. It is also the perfect opportunity to not only talk to people that know KENZO, but to a whole new customer that could discover the brand. For LVMH, it is the perfect brand to test such a project.

HUMBERTO LEON: The idea of being able to experience the KENZO brand in different ways is really part of our ethos. So this was a no-brainer. H&M has an amazing portfolio of designers that have done this. It feels exciting to be a part of this group of people.

showroom_kenzo_x_hm

That’s a really good point. The hesitancy some designers had at the beginning is completely gone now. There’s no reason to not think this is a great thing for them. Tell us about your concept. What is KENZO x H&M?

HUMBERTO LEON: The most exciting part about this collaboration is that every piece we created is somewhat unique for this KENZO x H&M collection. We wanted to treat this as if it was a true conversation between the founder, Kenzo Takada and us. We went into the archives and actually resurrected pieces in their original form but we obviously modernized them. For instance, the dress behind us is one of the famous dresses from a 1978 collection where there were only two pieces made. There’s over I think 300 meters of ribbons. We own one of the two pieces and a museum owns another. So it’s super exciting that the H&M customer can actually come in and get a piece of this.

For Carol and I it was important that everyone knew that this house has a really, really unique story. It started in 1969 by one man before all the other Japanese designers came that now show in Paris. Kenzo Takada was the first. It’s exciting to tell the story of him, his struggles and the joy that he brought to the French capital.

For instance, there are a lot of little details that we found when going through the archives, he finished all the pieces so beautifully that they look like they should be reversible, so we decided to make some reversible as Carol’s skirt among other pieces. I think knitwear is another great example. We did a really amazing knitwear exploration, probably more than a lot of the other collaborations. It’s a big code of the house. So it’s exciting that people can actually buy a piece of this part of history.

sweater_kenzo_hmThe «watermelon» sweater is super soft.

Some of the 110 looks are a little bit wild. Jean-Paul Goude, who did the advertising and imagery, and  worked on the show, described them as nutty. There are pieces that when you look at them out of context, people may not even know how to react to them. There’s like a pink and green tiger striped sweater that could have been inspired by a watermelon. What you were thinking when you decided to go in such a strong fashion approach?

HUMBERTO LEON: We came into it as us, as the fanatical shoppers. We wanted to approach this, and we’re obviously showing really strong looks on the runway, really strong looks on the presentation and the campaigns. But in reality I think, as consumers, you only have a chance to grab as much as you can as there are only a couple of pieces. And the idea we’ve always said is that we want people to mix with what they are already having in their own wardrobe.

We always feel a lot of times when you design fashion, when you give a really strong proposal on the runway, it ends up being really expensive. It’s the €3,000 piece. We thought this would be a fun opportunity to be able to buy a piece of fashion at a really incredible price. I think that’s why we wanted it to be super unique. Most of the stuff was never in our collection. It’s really almost kind of buying a piece of history. The idea is that you can make it your own. And, yes, there are strong pieces. I think that the brand is known for the prints and the color and the fun. We’re showing it one way, and we really feel like in the end people will kind of interpret it their own way.

CAROL LIM: I think true to the spirit of how we work and also the brand we wanted there to be a joyfulness. When you walk into the room and you see the clothing, you can’t help but smile. I also think Humberto is right, when you pull it apart, you’re going to find things. But each piece can stand on its own. Hopefully it’s going to be the kind of piece that, you know, even if you may not wear it at this point in time, you put it in the box and save it and it comes back out. We wanted to approach every single item that way.

KENZO x H&M launch event : directed by Jean-Paul Goude - FIRST LOOKS

It seems there is something for many different types of customers, different generations in this collection. Who do you think is the customer for it, in your mind? With all this fashion, what challenges did you face, given the huge scale of this project?

HUMBERTO LEON: I feel like the customer who has grown and loved KENZO for the last almost 50 years will look at this and say, Whoa, they really arced back into the spirit of KENZO. I think that customer who is probably in their 50s, 60s, will be super excited to see what this is and reminisce about what this brand is. I think for a younger generation, there’s a lot of stuff that Carol and I injected into the brand that you can easily understand and  incorporate into your wardrobe. In many ways, there’s almost something for everyone. We always said, and Kenzo Takada also mentioned, it’s not about an age, it’s really about a spirit. So this collection is for a youthful spirit. That can really be an ageless notion.

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CAROL LIM: Actually H&M were incredible partners. The ribbon dress was not an easy feat to accomplish but they were able to create everything. They were equally as excited about pushing it to the right quality and the finishing. So everything, even the small little buttons for which we created specific hardware, down to even the thread. 

74f89b2552b6e7fe5213c3e02af4c60bHans Feurer, Kenzo ad campaign, 1983

Let’s go back to the specific references within the collection. It’s really quite fascinating what you found in the archives, more so than perhaps you even do in the KENZO collections. There is the net print from maybe the second collection you showed in the showroom. What other elements are actually from the archives here?

HUMBERTO LEON: All the florals are from the archives. So you see all the florals and the ribbon tapes. There’s these floral dresses. The original kind of leopard print is from the archives.

One of the things we decided to do was do a mash-up between the archives prints and our prints. So you see the original tiger print that was on these amazing photos that Hans Feurer shot of the three women in these body suits, three-colored body suits. So this is from the archives. We recreated those jumpsuits in the collection. They’re two pieces, so it’s not one full body suit. But they’re these amazing, washable wool. So it’s an amazing fabric. H&M really took the time to redevelop these fabrics for today’s times, so they’re super cool, washable wool jerseys.

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Aside from that, the fuzzy coat is one of the first things that Kenzo Takada made. He made these hoodies, jackets and everything, even faux fur, the latter was kind of a great little fabric that really kind of brings us back to when he began, almost this kind of great naïve way of working that was just raw.

floral_top_hm_kenzoThe cropped floral top.

But I think the off-the-shoulder thing is something that if you are a KENZO fan through the years, like, different journalists have told us, I bought my first off-the-shoulder piece back in the day. We recreated those pieces both in a little crop top and this floral pleated ensemble. These are all really kind of signature details of the house.

img_3781The must-have sweatshirt

Then obviously Carol and I brought in the sweatshirts, made those a big thing for the house. We wanted to celebrate that and give the icon, which says KENZO Paris, with the running tiger in the back, is actually from the archives. That is from a piece from the ’80s. So we really, really brought in a lot of archival elements into the mix, which we felt like was such a great way to celebrate the brand.

CAROL LIM: Then we also have a lot of silhouettes we created in our first and second collection. There’s a sleeveless reversible silk dress with the medallion in the larger and smaller scale. There’s kind of a long tiger striped dress. Each piece is kind of speaking back to the archives or the period of time we kind of put our collections out.

HUMBERTO LEON: Yes, the medallions come from a little tie and a silk square that is from the archives, as well.

Kimonos over the must-have ribbon dresses.

You are mixing global cultures, there are the sandals, there’s a kimono in the collection. How do you approach that as designers when you’re kind of sampling from different cultures in a sense? What kind of message does that promote for the brand?

HUMBERTO LEON: Carol and I have always used our travels as a prime example of where we gain inspiration. We try to really embrace the authenticity of cultures. Similar to Kenzo Takada, who also had these famous travels that he brought back into his brand. But you have to give it your own take and twist it. I would say that our kimonos, it’s not a rub-off of a traditional Japanese kimono. It’s really a fashion take on that silhouette. We made them reversible. We made them cropped. I think the idea is to be inspired by culture, but at the same time I think hint and reference to it, but also give it your own take, your own personality.

hm_kenzo_lookbookFor the lookbook, click here.

There’s a lot of personality in the lookbook. I’m sure the reaction you’ve seen to this already tells you quite a lot about how welcome the representation of diversity is in fashion today. How did you select the group represented? How did you approach them? How do they reflect the values of KENZO x H&M?

HUMBERTO LEON: When we sat down and talked about this project, Carol and I wanted people to represent, first and foremost, themselves, something that they stood by. Individuality was a really big expression in what we were looking for. People that were authentic and that expressed themselves. So we  didn’t look at the models how they looked but what they stood for as human beings. It was a really kind of genuine approach Then as a bonus, they all looked amazing in the clothing. There was a big diversity. There’s a makeup artist, a performer, a singer, a journalist. I think that we could really relate to these people as you could imagine sitting down at a dinner table with them and having great conversations. They felt like great ambassadors for us. 

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And what about the campaign?

HUMBERTO LEON: For the campaign, we have everyone from Chance The Rapper, Iman, Rosario Dawson, Martinez, Suboi. These amazing people from all around the world that in many ways are our idols that we think stand for something so great and so exciting. The look look together with the campaign presents a great group of people, really authentic and real to us.

kenzo-2012-fallKenzo F/W 2012 campaign shot by Jean-Paul Goude

Tell us about Jean-Paul’s involvement. How did you approach him? Isn’t there’s a slight connection to Kenzo Takada himself. Why was he the person for the ad campaign?

CAROL LIM: Humberto and I have been fans of Jean-Paul from growing up. I think we’re familiar with his work as an art director, as a photographer, and as really an image maker. When we first joined KENZO, Humberto and I, we were brainstorming about who would shoot the first campaign? Humberto came up with Jean-Paul. As we were dreaming up who we wanted to collaborate with when we joined the house, he was the first person that we approached. Through luck and perseverance and through developing a relationship with him, he came and he actually said to us, I know Kenzo Takada. Through scheduling conflicts, they never worked together. I can sense the energy of what you’re bringing. He’s very much about a personal connection. So he shot our first campaign for us at KENZO and we formed a very deep bond with him.

So when this partnership came about, we even deepened his involvement with the event. If you’ve seen any of his happenings, for example this incredible bicentennial for France. What he’s able to do on an event level, even on windows, a lot of different things, we thought if he would be open to it, would he be interested in working with us on this project.

untitled-article-1461238096-body-image-1461238226Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude

HUMBERTO LEON: I mean, even prior to everything Carol just said, I don’t know if everyone knows how amazing Jean-Paul Goude is, but he obviously did all those amazing Grace Jones covers, all this amazing, amazing work with different brands, incredible people. But Carol and I, even before we joined KENZO, when we were doing our interview for the job, the first question they asked, they said, Who are you going to get to shoot the campaign? We said, Jean-Paul Goude. They said, Oh, wow. Do you know him? We said, No. They said, How are you going to get him to shoot the campaign? We said, We don’t know, we’re going to figure it out. Okay, you get the job, let’s see if you can figure this out. In our first and second campaign, Jean-Paul shot it. We became friends. That was really the main thing that happened. We went into this as a part two of what we had done. I think that the show and the runway experience, it’s a deepened relationship because he really hasn’t done too many performances, art directed, creative directed too many performances. The bicentennial is probably the most famous.

kenzo_takadaSince selling KENZO to LVMH in 1993, Kenzo Takada has travelled the world and set up his own interior company.

What would Mr. Takada say about your collaboration with H&M? Would he approve?

HUMBERTO LEON: I think he would love it. I mean, number one, I guess it’s not good to say he’s a fan. But he’s a fan of what we do. He comes to our shows. We’ve had conversations with him where he really feels like we brought the energy and spirit of what he did in the ’70s and ’80s back, and that our values feel very similar to his values. In many ways, I feel like one of his biggest objectives and things that brought him the most joy was just seeing people wearing his clothing. I think this is an amazing opportunity to see more people wearing this brand that he created. I think that Carol and I have never shied away from our efforts really kind of being an homage to what he does. So I think he’d be thrilled, excited to see, I don’t know, after November 3rd, just people on the streets wearing these prints and these propositions that he once created, obviously newly thought about and newly done, but in a way seeing these things walk on people.

CAROL LIM: He’s known for being, and still, one of the most generous people in terms of his spirit and kindness. He’s had amazing, legendary parties, not only at his home but his shows. He staged them in elaborate ways and always included people he admired, his friends,different artists. I mean, before there was this term ‘collaboration’, he was doing it naturally. I think he would be really excited about this.

The reversible kimonos are amazing.

I would like to know more about your creative process. Do you sit down together or do you start separately from each other? Do you present then your ideas each other? Have you ever had an argument about a design one of you wanted to do and the other didn’t approve?

HUMBERTO LEON: Never about that. I think Carol and I talk a lot. The reason we were able to do as much as we do is because we’re together. I think we also know what we’re both good at. I think in 15 years we’ve been able to learn the other side of what we’re not good at. I feel like we’ve been able to really communicate well. We definitely never argue over, you know, whether or not something is good or bad or right in terms of design. I feel like we’re pretty in sync. At the end of the day we have the same end goal. Both of us are trying to work towards that end goal.

What are you strongest at and what is she strongest at?

HUMBERTO LEON: Inherently, I was the creative director doing more of the creative, and then Carol came in more as the business person. I think as everyone has learned today, the two really go hand-in-hand. I think that’s where we feel like our strength is, is really questioning every aspect of it and making sure what the end consumer gets is exciting and of value.

Thank you, Carol and Humberto, for giving us an amazing insight in the collection!

The Kenzo x H&M collection will be available in over 250 H&M stores worldwide, as well as online, from this Thursday, November 3, 2016.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: Courtesy of H&M, Kenzo, © Jean-Paul Goude and © Sandra Bauknecht

Raf Simons Heads to Calvin Klein

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Long-running rumors in the industry have been finally confirmed today: RAF SIMONS has been formally appointed as Chief Creative Officer at Calvin Klein, filling the vacant position left by Francisco Costa in April. It is said that the American brand and Simons have been unable to make any announcement due to the year-long non-compete clause in Simons’s Christian Dior contract that came to an end last month.

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Iconic minimalism:
Bara tulle-paneled stretch-crepe dress by Calvin Klein Collection
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Mr. Simons will lead the creative strategy of the Calvin Klein brand globally across the Calvin Klein Collection, Calvin Klein Platinum, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear and Calvin Klein Home brands. As part of his role as Chief Creative Officer, Mr. Simons will oversee all aspects of design, global marketing and communications, and visual creative services. Mr. Simons’ first collections will debut for the F/W 2017 season.

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The famous underwear:
Modern Cotton stretch cotton-blend soft-cup bra 
by Calvin Klein Underwear

Sandra_Bauknecht_Raf_SimonsRaf Simons with me
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The appointment of Mr. Simons as Chief Creative Officer marks the implementation of Calvin Klein’s new global creative strategy, announced in April 2016, to unify all Calvin Klein brands under one creative vision. The strategy comes as part of a global evolution of the Calvin Klein brand, which began with the reacquisition of the Calvin Klein Jeans and Calvin Klein Underwear businesses in 2013. As Calvin Klein looks to grow the brand to $10 billion in global retail sales, this new leadership is intended to further strengthen the brand’s premium positioning worldwide and pave the way for future long-term global growth.

steve-shiffmanSteve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein, Inc.

The arrival of Raf Simons as Chief Creative Officer signifies a momentous new chapter for Calvin Klein,” said Steve Shiffman, CEO of Calvin Klein, Inc. “Not since Mr. Klein himself was at the company has it been led by one creative visionary, and I am confident that this decision will drive the Calvin Klein brand and have a significant impact on its future. Raf’s exceptional contributions have shaped and modernized fashion as we see it today and, under his direction, Calvin Klein will further solidify its position as a leading global lifestyle brand.

340172Raf Simons & his right hand Pieter Mulier in Dior and I (Courtesy of Dior)

As part of the creative strategy for the apparel and accessories business, Calvin Klein also announced the hire of Pieter Mulier as Creative Director, reporting directly to Mr. Simons. Mr. Mulier will be responsible for executing Mr. Simons’ creative and design vision for men’s and women’s ready to wear, as well as the bridge and better apparel lines and accessories. He will also manage all men’s and women’s design teams within the Calvin Klein brand, under Mr. Simons’ leadership.

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Calvin Klein, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PVH Corp. [NYSE: PVH], is one of the leading fashion design and marketing studios in the world. It designs and markets women’s and men’s designer collection apparel and a range of other products that are manufactured and marketed through an extensive network of licensing agreements and other arrangements worldwide. Product lines under the various Calvin Klein brands include women’s dresses and suits, men’s dress furnishings and tailored clothing, men’s and women’s sportswear and bridge and collection apparel, golf apparel, jeanswear, underwear, fragrances, eyewear, women’s performance apparel, hosiery, socks, footwear, swimwear, jewelry, watches, outerwear, handbags, small leather goods, and home furnishings (including furniture).

PVH

With a heritage going back over 130 years, PVH Corp. has excelled at growing brands and businesses with rich American heritages, becoming one of the largest apparel companies in the world, having over 30,000 associates operating in over 40 countries with over $8 billion in 2015 revenues. Among the brands are Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen, IZOD, ARROW, Speedo, Warner’s and more.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: Courtesy of Calvin Klein and © Sandra Bauknecht

Prada’s Iconic Vela Backpack Is Back

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My first Prada moment was in my French class in school when I spotted my teacher with an interesting bag in nylon (how I looked at that time you can see above, blonde as hell…). It must have been in 1989 or 1990. The Italian fashion house had just launched its first women’s ready-to-wear collection and was on its way due to its originality to become one of the most influential fashion houses and a premium status symbol of the ’90s. The designs came to be known for their dropped waistlines and narrow belts as well as the use of unusual fabrics. Prada has always been an emotional brand for me. Probably because I started to collect it from the first season. Most men don’t understand Miuccia’s style and I had many funny discussions about it as I was always drawn to it. It made me feel independent and strong while of course feeling extremely fashionable.

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One of my first Prada pieces I got was the famous «Vela» nylon backpack in black that accompanied me through my high school years (see photo above). For being over 20 years old, it looks pretty fantastic! Launched in 1984 in an “industrial-weight nylon used for army tents,” according to Vogue, the utile house classic evolved into its best-known form in 1987.

P00199298Vela Backpack by Prada

Now the label’s signature backpack is back on the streets and on its way to become again a must-have. Just as coveted as in the early ‘90s, this sporty-chic style will take you through off-duty dressing on a decidedly chic note. The Vela is just roomy enough to hold all your essentials safe, while keeping you supremely stylish and the nylon material is great when you hit the rain.

P00199910The modern version of 2016: Robot Backpack by Prada

Great news is that Prada finally made it into the world of online shopping and is exclusively available at Net-à-Portericon and Mytheresa.com.

This post inspired me to show you in the near future a Prada look of each season that I collected over the years. Going down memory lane can be quite emotional, especially as I link events to outfits and scents. I may not remember your name but I will never forget what you wore when we met… it is just the way my brain is structured, embracing a deep love of fashion that I hopefully spread with this blog!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Prada, © Vogue/Hans Feurer and © Sandra Bauknecht