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 

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 

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 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

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

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

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.

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

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,, 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.

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…


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!


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.


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

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 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.


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.


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.

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.


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