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

Great for Travelling: Jet-à-Porter Beauty Kit

Do you hate packing like me? And especially all your beauty belongings? Then I have the perfect solution for you, a kit already packed with 16 samples of some of the best skin, hair and makeup products. The collection is neatly stored in a transparent cosmetics bag for easy packing.

Omorovicza‘s ‘Queen of Hungary Mist‘ is infused with Neroli and Rose to replenish and purify the skin by delivering moisture and restoring suppleness
James Read‘s ‘Gradual Tan H20 Tan Mist‘ builds subtle color while moisturizing and delivering a streak-free finish and lightweight feel
Joya‘s ‘Composition No.1roll-on parfum is blended with top notes of fresh Mandarin and Orange, which gently fades into floral Heliotrope, the musky dry down of Tonka Beans and creamy Sandalwood


Hampton Sun‘s ‘SPF45 Mineral Sunscreen Crème‘ hydrates and strengthens skin while offering broad spectrum protection from harsh UV rays
Grown Alchemist‘s ‘Vanilla & Orange Peel’ hand cream is blended with Rosehip and Camellia Oils to nourish and hydrate dry, chapped or chafed skin
Philip Kingsley‘s ‘Elasticizer‘ restores elasticity, bounce and shine without adding weight – it’s designed to target weak, damaged cuticles
– Packed with hydrating Geranium and Chamomile extracts, Oribe‘s ‘Crème for Style‘ delivers luminous shine and natural texture
SACHAJUAN‘s ‘Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo and Conditioner‘ will rebuild, plump and fortify each fiber, while creating volume and leaving your tresses with a healthy bounce


Legology‘s ‘Sun-Lite’ cream gives you a natural-looking sun-kissed glow, while hydrating skin and evening out overall tone
Charlotte Tilbury‘s ‘Wonder Glow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash‘ is infused with a subtle lustrous tint that reflects light to blur imperfections and fine lines
This Works‘ ‘Perfect Legs Skin Miracle‘ is enriched with Vitamins C and E to even out skin tone and imperfections, while Arnica helps fade bruising


Eyeko‘s ‘Yoga Waterproof Mascara‘ is blended with Matcha Green Tea and botanical fruit extracts including Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry and Vitamin E for instant lift, curl and a flexible hold
– Formulated with unique Triple Shine Complex and a blend of high-performance ingredients, Marc Jacobs Beauty‘s ‘Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer‘ promises brilliant luster and the illusion of a plumper pout. ‘Sugar Sugar‘ has a subtle mint scent and is flecked with gold, creating a shimmery finish that enhances its brilliant shine
– Enriched with Shea and Mango Seed Butters, Lipstick Queen‘s ‘Mornin’ Sunshine‘ shade adjusts to your individual body chemistry and pH level to create a unique, one-of-a-kind berry hue
– Inspired by the natural radiance of gem stones, Kevyn Aucoin‘s ‘The Loose Shimmer Shadow‘ enhances your eyes and illuminates skin. ‘Selenite‘ is a soft gray that is so flattering on cool-toned complexions

TO SHOP THE JET-A-PORTER BEAUTY KIT, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Net-à-Porter
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Ralph Lauren Kipton Mixologist Box

Still haven’t been to the Polo Bar, RALPH LAUREN‘s first restaurant in New York City? The designer’s Kipton Mixologist Box lets you bring the designer’s signature cocktail style with you wherever you go. The travel set includes a hand-cut crystal decanter, four matching glasses, a leather-bound book full of cocktail recipes, a bottle opener, six cocktail picks, four coasters, and a silver-plated brass jigger and nut bowl. The elegant saddle leather carrying case is lined with our signature Wexford plaid wool, which is featured in the dining room’s décor.
Such a great gift for cocktail cognoscenti…

TO SHOP THE KIPTON MIXOLOGY BOX ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

The famous Polo Bar
1 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022, USA – Phone: +1 212-207-8562

Photos: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Hublot x Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

One of my favorite hotels in the world, the iconic Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, which is part of the Oetker Collection, has come together with HUBLOT to create a limited edition of fifty Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Eden Roc watches in a to die for blue shade.

With this unique creation, HUBLOT joins the prestigious Eden Being collection, with its exclusive and bespoke pieces. A wonderful homage to a legendary place where artists, writers, film stars, royalty and other distinguished figures have all been inspired over time.


In its black ceramic dinner jacket, polished and glossy, the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Eden-Roc has a laid-back look. The markers, hands and hour counter are all in elegant shades of blue, inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. It is worn on the wrist with a strap in aged blue leather or perforated black calfskin with blue topstitching.

The second counter at 3 o’clock is inspired by the iconic buoy of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, the very buoy which looks out over the seawater pool hewn into the rock, with its blue tone, merging with the colour of the sea, which inspired the watch’s various shades. The HUB1155 self-winding skeleton chronograph movement has a power reserve of forty two hours.

The Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Eden-Roc watch is a limited edition. Just fifty numbered models, presented in a varnished mahogany case: an exquisite rendering of the hotel’s pier, stretching out into the infinite blue of the Mediterranean Sea, dotted with boats moored in the bay. Personally speaking, a match made in heaven!

YOU CAN PRE-ORDER THE CLASSIC FUSION AEROFUSION CHRONOGRAPH EDEN-ROC HERE FOR €19.500.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Hublot, Oetker Collection and © Sandra Bauknecht

The Ultimate Travel Memberships

I am a passionate traveller and quite frankly of course I love to fly Business or First Class and stay in amazing hotels. But needless to say, I also like not to spend too much. Recently, ASMALLWORLD created the ultimate travel memberships for the discerning traveller of which two have caught my attention.

First the PRESTIGE membership that helps you to travel the world in style. Here is a summary of what is included in this package for €5200:
• 250000 Miles & More or Etihad Guest Miles
• Etihad Guest ‘Gold’ status (with Etihad only)
• World’s Finest Clubs ‘Premium Private’ membership
• DragonPass airport lounge access ‘Prestige’
• Global Hotel Alliance ‘Discovery Black’ status
• Mr & Mrs Smith ‘SilverSmith’ status
• SIXT ‘Platinum’ status
• ASMALLWORLD membership
• Limited-offer: SPG Gold for sign-ups until July 2nd

Travelling in style in First Class

Personally speaking, as I am living in Zurich, the Miles & More offer included in the PRESTIGE membership seems extremely attractive as they buy you up to 2 return Business Class Tickets from Zurich to Los Angeles which would normally cost around €13000 which means you have already redeemed the fee you paid for the whole package.

Always worth a trip: California

The additional perks are also amazing such as the SPG Gold status which gives you upgrades and late check-outs in a wide range of hotels from the cool W hotels to the distinguished St. Regis resorts of the world.

Second the SIGNATURE membership which is the ultimate by invitation only travel membership and provides you with the following features for €19950 + €2000 induction fee:
• 1 Million Etihad Guest Miles
• Etihad Guest ‘Gold’ status for yourself and your
nominee (two in total)
• World’s Finest Clubs ‘Premium Private’ membership
• DragonPass airport lounge access ‘Prestige’
• Global Hotel Alliance ‘Discovery Black’ status
• Mr & Mrs Smith ‘GoldSmith’ status
• SIXT ‘Diamond’ status
• ASMALLWORLD membership
• Limited-offer: SPG Platinum for sign-ups until July 2nd

Enjoying a drink on board while flying to the Middle East

The SIGNATURE membership is definitely the right choice for members travelling to the Middle East as it comes with 1m Etihad Guest Miles which buy you up to 5 First Class return flights from Zurich to Abu Dhabi. On top, you enjoy the SPG Platinum status which is the royal status of all hotel programs.

ASW Members enjoy the good life! This is why ASMALLWORLD offers their members many exclusive privileges from great partners. If you are interested in an invitation to ASMALLWORLD or the travel memberships, apply online or send me an e-mail to as I am happy to provide Sandra’s Closet readers this amazing opportunity (Disclosure: I know the Chairman of ASMALLWORLD very well :-)).

Stay tuned as I will be in St. Tropez for the ASW Summer Weekend end of May… life is so much better when you can travel and share the good moments and memories!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of ASMALLWORLD, © David Biedert Photography
© David Shama and © Sandra Bauknecht

Courchevel 2018 by Quintessence Retreats

Quintessence presents its first retreat edition which will take place in beautiful and stunning Courchevel between June 30th and September 1st, 2018.

Quintessence is an exclusive and immersive Boot Camp concept that invites guests to escape, challenge and pamper themselves in luxurious surroundings by experiencing a unique sports and fitness-based program combined with exquisite healthy cuisine. The week-long sports and wellness signature program DARE TO BE GOOD TO YOURSELF, led by highly qualified expert trainers, combines light, intense and restorative fitness sessions, sports, as well as time to relax. Limited to twelve guests, classes are designed to be accessible to everyone, women and men, regardless of experience and fitness levels.

A SIGNATURE PROGRAM

Quintessence is an invitation to challenge, boost and revitalise the body through a week-long exclusive workout program that alternates endurance, cardio and strength exercises.

DARE TO BE GOOD TO YOURSELF (one week long) includes various fitness sessions such as: HIIT, circuit training, Swiss ball, Core and Balance, weight and cardio trainings; outdoor sports: hiking, Aquabiking, Aquaboxing and golf initiation;  well-being periods: yoga, pilates, stretching and meditation classes.

A TEAM OF EXPERTS

Celine and Kevin, Quintessence’s trainers, fluent in French and English, give each guest the individualised attention and encouragement they need to complete this week of physical activity. Their aim is to ensure guests maintain and improve their fitness level, progressing at their own pace while having fun.

Celine is a certified Hatha Yoga 200h (RYT) and Vinyasa Yoga 200h (RYT) as well as Pilates instructor (Matwork II). Personal trainer since many years, she gathers a strong experience in various endurance, cardio and strength techniques.

Semi-pro, full back rugby player in the 4th French division, Kevin masters a wide palette of fitness trainings. He is a certified Fitness Training and Group Fitness instructor, as well as personal trainer and Mills GRITTM certified instructor.

Throughout the week-long program, guests will also have the pleasure to experience a cooking class during which the Quintessence Chef will reveal some tips about the original dishes crafted from the finest, locally sourced organic ingredients, designed to realign body and mind, delight the senses and encourage everyone to become more aware of their well-being.

VIP guests will regularly join the Quintessence weeks for exclusive talks on specific topics such as nutrition, mindfulness, welfare.

THE SETTING

Embodying French tradition and excellence, world-famous Courchevel is located at an altitude of 1300 m to 1850 m, offering breathtaking views and magical natural setting.

Quintessence guests are invited to retreat to a calm, refined and pure environment, in two luxurious and stylish chalets extending over 600 m2 and offering a total of nine rooms (4 different categories). They are designed to a high standard from locally sourced natural materials and exude authentic mountain charm.

DARE TO BE GOOD TO YOURSELF
7-day total escape program (including accommodation – from Saturday to Saturday)
– price per person and per week:
• in a Standard Room, Double occupancy, starting at 3’100€
• in a Standard Room, Single occupancy, starting at 4’100€

TREAT YOURSELF TO AN ENERGY BOOST
1-day pop-in escape program (without accommodation) – price per person: 250€
Pop-in days are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

Quintessence is more than a concept, it’s a philosophy of life. Uncover your quinta essentia – according to ancient philosophy, quinta essentia is a fifth substance in addition to the four elements of earth, fire, air and water, which ensures cohesion, life.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Quintessence and © Sandra Bauknecht
Interior pictures: © Leila Ricci Photography www.leilaricci.com

Prêt-à-Portea

This week, I was in London for Fashion Week and treated myself to the legendary Prêt-à-Portea designer afternoon tea experience at the Berkeley Hotel which is inspired by the world of fashion. I had already done it once 6 years ago (for the previous post click here please) and was curious to see the Collins Room after it had undergone renovations.

You might be wondering what is Prèt-à-Portea exactly? It is a menu of couture cakes especially designed for the respective season gets a makeover every six months to reflect the latest catwalk trends, colours and designs. For F/W 2017-18, Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat has sent out a brand new collection of exquisite biscuits, bakes and fancies. It takes inspiration from an array of distinguished fashion and accessory designers, and the latest creations shown on the international fashion runways.

YOUR FASHIONISTA’S TEA INCLUDES
A delicate collection of cakes and fancies inspired by the world’s finest designers:

Gucci’s kimono, complete with a charming parasol, transformed into a pomegranate and grenadine bavarois, with cassis and apple compote topped with a crystallised edible flower and a chocolate parasol.

Balenciaga’s effortlessly luxe black-and-white flouncy dress reimagined as a moist chocolate cake, layered with white chocolate Grand Marnier mousse, crunchy ganache and a sexy orange leg.

Gianvito Rossi’s red-heeled boots, recreated as a fennel seed biscuit iced with burgundy red royal icing.

Bottega Veneta’s daring mustard-coloured suit, gracing the cakewalk as an iced speculoos chocolate biscuit.

Anya Hindmarch’s orange leather clutch as a dulce and ginger cake sandwiched within foxy orange chocolate.

Burberry’s sleek white feathered cape, recreated as a tonka bean cheesecake with cinnamon crumble base, covered with glossy white glaze and finished with a curvy white chocolate feather.

Miu Miu’s luxuriously warm coat transformed into a bûche of pistachio crémeux set on hazelnut sable and topped with waved meringue.

Christopher Kane’s ‘LBD’ taken to another level with stunning flowers and transformed into a chocolate moelleux cake with lacte café and Bailey’s cream, finished with sugar flowers.

Dolce & Gabbana’s stand-out dress, now an almond génoise complete with a mango & passion fruit insert and a cocktail caraibe mousse, topped with a rainbow of chocolate disks.

Your tea also includes a flavoursome collection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons, elegant canapés and tea sandwiches. To drink, choose from a large selection of loose leaf teas (I personally recommend the Ceylon & Rose tea) from the hotel’s extensive collection and treat yourself to a glass of bubbly like I did. Raise a toast in style!

Prêt-à-Portea is priced at £52.00 per person.
Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, £62.00 per person.
Couture Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, Bollinger Rosé or Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, £70.00 per person.
A 12.5% discretionary service charge will be added to your bill.

Bookings
Email: dining@the-berkeley.co.uk
Call: +44 (0)20 7107 8866

THE PRET-A-PORTEA BOOK
There is also a great coffee table (I meant tea table book :-)) that I can recommend: «Prêt-à-Portea: High-Fashion Bakes and Biscuits» was published to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Berkeley’s iconic afternoon tea with 20 recipes and baking techniques from the hotel’s Head Pastry Chef Mourad Khiat. To buy the book, click here please.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
Runway Photos: Courtesy of the Brands
Photos Cover: Courtesy of the Berkeley Hotel

The Lanesborough Hotel London

My avid readers know how much I love London. Personally speaking, a weekend trip to the British metropole is one of my favorite things to do, as the city offers everything you can dream of, culture, shopping, nightlife, and great restaurants.

Happy me at The Lanesborough wearing Mary Katrantzou .

One of my favorite hotels to stay is THE LANESBOROUGH that belongs to the Oetker Collection. Perfectly positioned between Knightsbridge and Mayfair, just a short walk from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and London’s exclusive Sloane Street, this grand mansion overlooking Hyde Park Corner has undergone an inspired renovation by the famed interior designer Alberto Pinto. The hotel is home to 93 luxurious suites and bedrooms, Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant, the vibrant Library Bar and Garden Room and the magnificent Lanesborough Club & Spa.

About the latter I would like to tell you a lot more as this is one of the many reasons to stay at this hotel! It is a true sanctuary of health and relaxation in the city and was crowned the World’s Best New Hotel Spa 2017 at the World Spa Awards™. This private 1600 m² members’ fitness and health clubs and spa with its divine interior, is offering members and hotel guests access to internationally recognised experts in the fields of fitness, beauty and wellness.

The spa’s hydro pool area

A must for all spa lovers: the steam room and sauna.

Beautifully designed: the ladies’ changing room

A sanctuary of relaxation in the city: the private area for spa members

The so-called «Painting Room» serves for manicures and pedicures.

You can enjoy some of the finest spa therapy treatments with products from much-loved spa and beauty brands ila and La Prairie, as well as the expertise of facial and beauty expert Anastasia Achilleos. Good to know is that for non-members, day passes can also be combined with treatment bookings for access to the exceptional facilities.

The restaurant and bar of the Lanesborough Club & Spa

Moreover, The Lanesborough Club & Spa has its own restaurant, offering all-day healthy dining, developed by Michelin-starred Chefs Eric Frechon and Executive Chef Florian Favario in collaboration with Clean & Lean nutritional guidance from Bodyism founder James Duigan. High-protein snacks, smoothies and juices are available throughout the day, and all personal training sessions will finish with a bespoke blended drink to complement each members’ workout.

The hotel’s exquisite rooms and suites, are all uniquely refurbished with stylish, luxurious interiors and responsive technology seamlessly interwoven, including in-room tablets and powerful WiFi. Each room, not only suites, has a round-the-clock, dedicated butler service so that you can be assured that your needs are well served.

The seven-bedroom Royal Suite is a residence fit for a king, queen or head of state.

If you love food, you will enjoy the hotel’s Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant (see photo below) with its richly decorated dining room in light blue and yellow hues, naturally illuminated during the day by a domed glass roof.

Beautiful ambiance at the Michelin-starred Céleste restaurant

Moreover, I recommend the award-winning afternoon tea service, the seductive Library Bar and for the cigar aficionados among you one of London’s best cigar and Cognac loungesThe Garden Room. You see that THE LANESBOROUGH caters to all tastes…

I love having breakfast in the room… the first thing that makes my day…

One of my favorites in London is tea time which is served at the hotel’s «Withdrawing Room».

I am a big fan and hope that you will enjoy your stay at THE LANESBOROUGH as much as I do!

And if you become a fan, I recommend getting this beautiful Globe Trotter The Lanesborough Suitcase, that is only available at Eden Being.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of The Lanesborough Hotel and © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Greetings from Vienna

Greetings from beautiful and very cold Vienna where I spent the last days and attended the famous opera ball. More coming up soon… here you see me strolling through the city in some of my favorite pieces since many seasons on my way to the Sacher hotel for some culinary Austrian treats such as Viennese Schnitzel and the famous Sacher cake.

My look: Belted shearling coatfloral-appliqué striped wool-blend cardiganicon, and scarf, all by Gucci, dress with leather and lace appliquéicon by Saint Laurent, Rockstud leather-trimmed knee boots by Valentinoicon, «Paris Cosmopolite» Pré-fall 2017 Métiers d’Art Gabrielle bag by ChanelT Wire Narrow 18-karat rose gold bracelet by Tiffany & Co, and Tonda 1950 Galaxy by Parmigiani Fleurier.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

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