Ruinart Jaume Plensa Launch Event in Paris

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Two weeks ago, I flew to Paris to attend the exclusive launch event of Ruinart’s new artist for 2017: Jaume Plensa, the renowned Spanish artist who is known for his monumental sculptures in steel, glass, marble, polyester resin, concrete and bronze.

He is recognized for his silhouettes of human bodies seated or kneeling who seem to scrutinize the horizon in a meditative manner, like the contemporary thinkers. His sculptures, which play with the relationship between words, signs and the human body, have today become his signature. They are recognisable amongst all the works of art throughout the world and have turned Jaume Plensa into one of the most important players of the contemporary artistic scene.

Jaume_Plensa_Artwork_RuinartPlensa’s amazing art work for Ruinart

Each year, Ruinart invites an artist to create a special artwork for the oldest Champagne house of the world. With Plensa, Ruinart has chosen an artist who has been able to express language, but more importantly the alphabets, the cultures of the world, their spiritualities, their transmissions and the visionary and erudite spirit of dom Thierry Ruinart, a key personality in the history of Ruinart at the confluence of philosophy and the art, merging the heritage with the future.

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The event took place at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris where Plensa also gives lectures. First we had the possibility to explore historic documents while enjoying my favourite champagne, Ruinart‘s Blanc de Blancs. Later, we were asked to move into the next room where the stunning installation by Jaume Plensa was revealed in his presence that will later tour the world.

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The sculpture takes up the shape of characters that he has already created, but there is never any repetition in his work. Every piece is unique. Every letter, assembled by hand, creates a second skin for the form, which is always reborn in a different manner. In the base of the sculpture he has engraved two dates: 1729 and 2016. They are like a secret code, an encrypted message, linking the history between the foundation of Maison Ruinart and the creation of the work of art.

Jaume_Plensa_Sandra_Bauknecht_RuinartWith artist Jaume Plensa at the event in Paris

The next morning, I had the chance to interview Jaume Plensa who is a very witty, charming and interesting gentleman. I loved his answers, the most significant quotes are in bold. Enjoy!

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What are the basics of creating for you? With what do you start?

That is a very interesting question as this is something I am asking myself every day in the studio. I guess the main subject in my work is that I try to create something that people could touch and be touched by. I work a lot in public spaces. Mainly my work is based to identify yourself in the myth of others. We have to break borders and the walls we have been permanently creating throughout history. When I am working with alphabets or portraits of people from different cultures, it is interesting to recognize that we are all so similar. It is just the little things that differ.

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You use a lot of letters in your work. Do you have a favorite letter or alphabet?

You cannot compare one alphabet with another. When you see Hebrew for example which is very rigid and you compare it with Chinese, that seems to be fireworks. Hindi is so beautiful always with a line on top which makes it so rich to look at.

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How long was the process to create for Ruinart and did you have immediately something in mind when you were approached?

In general the way I work is that an idea is born with the shape, the material and the specific scale. Obviously depending if it is for a show, a gallery or for a public space, my attitude can be changing.

It took me around 6 months to create the piece that had been revealed last night. I never understood art as a direction. My obsession was to grow up as a person, art was just the consequence of my life. I have never been interested in being in artist, but I enjoy it very much to express my emotions with visual art. The main material is life.

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When I listen to you, I don’t get the impression that you will ever loose inspiration. Do you ever feel pressure to not being inspired?

Not at all. Creation is a way to breathe. I love when I am flying and the flight attendant is saying «If the pressure is low, please pull the oxygen mask, press it firmly on your mouth and breathe normally.» There are many moments when life asks us to breathe normally, I think it is something we must honor, it takes a little while but the most beautiful experience is when you understand that you are breathing normally.

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Do you ever get frustrated when you are creating because something is not working out the way you have planned it?

Of course. My assistants are happy when I am not there. I have a lot of temperament. Creation is a dialogue with you and yourself. You could be your best friend, but also your worst enemy. That is one of the most beautiful experiences in creation when you must understand yourself, when you must accept yourself and this gives always a lot of frictions.

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The best about Jaume Plensa?

I have the privilege to be an artist, so I have the capacity and ability to observe the world. That is an amazing situation.

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Only 20 bottles of the special edition signed by Jaume Plensa will be available worldwide for €3500 worldwide.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Ruinart, © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Lace, Bows and Pearls

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Last Tuesday I flew to Paris with Ruinart for a special event that I will tell you more about this week. Being in the French capital with its sophistication, style and allure, I felt like wearing lace, bows and pearls, one of my favourite combinations.

My look: Feather cape with contrasting bow and lace lining and pussy-bow velvet-trimmed lace dress, both by Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, lace-up leather pumps by Saint Laurent, large classic flap bag in caviar leather and smiley emoji black pearl crystal long necklace, both by ChanelAgnes felt hat with net veil by Gucci.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Chanel Takes Up Residence in Le Marais

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Beaumarchais lived here, fabulous parties took place here, and great names have stayed here. Yet for more than half a century, the Hôtel Amelot de Bisseuil, also known as Hôtel des Ambassadeurs de Hollande, has been left slumbering in the heart of Le Marais. This winter a part of this unique building, recognised as one of the most beautiful in Paris, will come to life again and open its doors to the public once more. It is here that CHANEL has chosen to install a double ephemeral boutique.

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The Hôtel Amelot de Bisseuil is classified as a National Heritage Site, and its high doors carved with two gargoyle heads and the coat of arms belonging to the family that acquired the townhouse in the 17th century, give one a hint of its impressive stature that lies within. These doors open onto the Cour d’Honneur, surrounded by two buildings, where one immediately senses a breath of magic and of mystery in the air. At the entrance four sundials have kept their polychrome in spite of the years gone by.

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The two ephemeral boutiques break from the traditional codes of CHANEL. Each space has been left in its untouched state: exposed stone walls are bare having been simply adorned with facades of transparent glass, giving pride of place to the history of this hôtel particulier which over the centuries has been witness to so many lives. The floor, with it’s worn appearance, is made from resin to resemble Corten steel. This desire for purity also offers a glimpse of the immense renovation in progress of these buildings and those hidden in the rear courtyard.

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Within this minimalist environment only the black linear clothes rails and the wooden console tables mounted on glass supports, emerge here and there. In the first building, on the left, the ready-to-wear collections and the accessories are presented over a single floor of 127m².

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A second space, consisting of just 37m², and made to look like the studio of a great artist, is housed in the building on the right. In complete respect for the mineral and almost archaeological atmosphere of this setting, once again, nothing has been changed, adorned, reconstituted or hidden. Here, only authenticity, miraculously preserved over the ages, prevails. Pierced with a window, this boutique brings together the CHANEL shoes.

Like a stroll through time and history it reminds us that a piece by CHANEL is anchored in modernity and the air du temps, yet is also transmitted from one generation to the next. The Hôtel Amelot de Bisseuil is one of its most beautiful showcases yet.

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CHANEL Ephemeral Boutique
47 rue Vieille du Temple
75004 Paris
+33 1 40 09 59 60
Open from now to the end of May 2017
From Monday to Sunday 11am to 7pm

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Olivier Saillant © Chanel

The Seven Bag Wonders of the World

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Say hello to the seven bag wonders of the world. I am so in love. Last spring, VERSACE launched the competition «7 Bags 7 Cities» and invited everyone to participate in the customization of seven limited edition of the Palazzo Empire bag featuring seven capitals.

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Participants were asked to photograph a unique and inspiring place in the city of their choice. The Italian fashion house then selected their favorite images and used them to create the new Palazzo Empire bag with each city’s skyline being injected into the design. Great news for the winners: they will be invited to attend the Versace S/S 2017 show to be held in Milan in September.

Discover the seven limited edition Palazzo Empire handbags closer here…

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Shop D4027, 4/F, SKP, 87 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District

260_4HONG KONG
Shop G122, Ground Floor, Gateway Arcade

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Via Montenapoleone, 11

231_7NEW YORK CITY
647 Fifth Avenue

243_6PARIS
45, avenue Montaigne

254_5SAO PAULO
Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 2232

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6-7-12, Ginza

Only ten copies of each design will be produced and sold in the Versace boutiques in the seven selected capitals. So hurry up to catch one of those pieces of art!

TO SHOP THE CLASSIC PALAZZO EMPIRE TOTE BAG IN DIFFERENT COLOURS, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Versaceicon

Francis Kurkdjian: Paris

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The freshness of an early morning. The sparkle of a grand soiree. I live in the rhythm of this magical, luminous Paris. I love those special moments which have inspired me to create these two perfumes – a fragrance journey into the heart of the City of Lights. ” – Francis Kurkdjian

Accompanying the launch of his two new fragrances dedicated to Paris, Petit Matin and Grand Soir, which will both be available in September 2016, the famous perfumer shared his favorite spots in the French capital with us. (If you are in Zurich, you can find his creations at the newly opened counter at Jelmoli or at Perfumery Osswald. To shop his creations online, click here please.)icon

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Your favourite city?
PARIS, because it is Paris. It is my hometown.

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Your favourite hotel?
HOTEL LA PROVIDENCE in the 10th arrondissement. A charming small boutique hotel with a great restaurant, good food and a lovely bar.
90, Rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris, Phone: +33 1 46 34 34 04

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Your favourite restaurant?
LA DAME DE PIC by Anne Sophie Pic, who is one of the best chefs in the world and France’s first woman to win three Michelin stars.
20, Rue du Louvre, 75001 Paris, Phone: +33 1 42 60 40 40

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Your favourite nightclub?
SILENCIO because I love the decor.
142, Rue Montmarte,  75002 Paris, Phone: +33 1 40 13 12 33

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Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The rooftop of the restaurant GEORGES which has the best view over the city.
6th floor, Palais Beaubourg, Place Georges Pompidou, 75000 Paris, Phone: +33 1 44 78 47 99
The view from the PLACE DU TROCADERO with the Eiffel Tower in the back is spectacular, especially at night as well as the PONT ALEXANDRE III (pictured), the beautiful deck arch bridge that spans the Seine. It is so Parisian.

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Your favourite park?
I adore the PALAIS ROYAL GARDEN, not a real parc, more a garden between my office and my home. Very French but not too touristy like the Tuileries that are just across.
6 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, Phone:+33 1 47 03 92 16

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Your favourite shop?
ATELIER REYNARD
. It is more a secret spot, an atelier. It is the place where I get all my leather goods. The owner is so talented.
3 Place du Palais Bourbon, 75007 Paris, Phone: +33 1 45 51 77 87

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Your must-have accessory?
My SCENTED CARD WALLET that is hand made and that can be exclusively found in my Paris store.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian, 5, rue d’Alger, 75001 Paris , Phone: +33 1 42 60 07 07

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Your favorite museum?
MUSEUM NISSIM DE CAMONDO. It was owned by a banker, Count de Camondo. I love the spirit of it. It had been a private mansion that was turned into a museum. It houses a spectacular collection of French decorative art from the second half of the 18th century.
63 Rue de Monceau, 75008 Paris, Phone: +33 1 53 89 06 50

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Your favourite piece of art?
I like the work of SOPHIE DELAUNAY that you can explore at the Musée d’Art Moderne. Her art is colorful, avantgarde and deconstructed.
11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, Phone: +33 1 53 67 40 00
ELIAS CRESPIN (pictured) – very contemporary, he does mobiles floating in the air with very centric movements full of electronics. It is to die for.
Galerie Denise René Espace Marais, 22 rue Charlot, 75003 Paris

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The best book to read while being on vacation there?
Poetry by GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE. I love his universe. His poem LE PONT MIRABEAU is my favourite. It is about the Seine.

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The smell of Paris?
The SUBWAY. When you walk through the streets, you can smell the ventilation. For me, this is very French!

Thank you, Francis, for sharing your insider scoop on Paris with us!
My dear readers, if you like to know more about Francis, I have some great news. An amazing interview will be coming up shortly. So stay tuned please!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the locations, © David Lynch, © Sylvain Leurent and © Sandra Bauknecht

Great Hair with Christophe Robin

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Hair colorist Christophe Robin’s star-studded portfolio includes Catherine Deneuve and Linda Evangelista. He is known for being the artisan expert of colored and sensitized hair. His award-winning products protect tresses from the damaging effects of highlighting and coloring, using natural ingredients such as lavender and camomile to nourish and restore brilliance.

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My two favorites: Regenerating Shampoo, 250mlicon and Regenerating Mask, 250ml.
iconTO SHOP THE COMPLETE RANGE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

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When you are in Paris, visit Salon Christophe Robin at Hôtel Le Meurice, 228, rue de Rivoli.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm
To make an appointment, call +33 (0)1 40 20 02 83 or send an e-mail to salon@christophe-robin.com.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Christophe Robin and © Sandra Bauknecht
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Jean Paul Gaultier – A Spectacular Dinner

Jean Paul Gaultier - A Spectacular Dinner

During Haute Couture S/S 2016 fashion week in Paris, Jean Paul Gaultier hosted a show that took the audience to the the wild clubbing days of the 80s, when Le Palace in Montmartre, was the center Parisian night life such as Studio 54 in New York. It was an homage to the creatures of the night, models with big hair were smoking cigarettes and drinking champagne while strutting down the runway in signature looks such as tuxedos, pajama suits, lingerie dresses and bomber jackets.

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Gaultier’s style is unique and so are his catwalks. Nobody else is able to transform a fashion show into a party. I am always leaving in a good mood, ready to dance and party myself.

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In the evening, to celebrate the occasion, Jean Paul Gaultier invited a few lucky ones for a spectacular dinner at the Grand Colbert. A night to remember, and not only by the surprises. A contortionist painted in gold welcomed the attendance while they had a cocktail.

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Talking heads out of food cloches got lost in a surreal very funny conversation. The surprise showcase of Beth Ditto and Allanah Star, a Parisian night figure, popping out of a cake to wish the House of Gaultier a happy 40th anniversary, were some of the highlights of the dinner. Complete craziness abounded at the Paris brasserie, which gathered longstanding close friends including Farida Khelfa, Victoria Abril and Blanca Li, who at one point began chanting in unison “Jean Paul, Jean Paul.”

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Among the fashionable guests was also Daphne Groeneveld who stars in Jean Paul Gaultier Classique‘s new fragrance campaign captured by fashion photographer Miles Aldridge.

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Later the evening evolved into a dance fest, after each guest was given a cardboard mask with an image of Gaultier’s face to sport. A night to remember. Have fun exploring all the fun moments.

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The scene at the Jean Paul Gaultier party

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Food at Gaultier

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Alexina Graham, Daphne Groeneveld and Soo Joo Park

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Jean Paul Gaultier with Blanca Li, Victoria Abril and Farida Khelfa

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Manuel Puig and Marc Puig

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Allanah Starr

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Jose Manuel Albesa and model Hugo Marquez

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Talking to Farida Khelfa

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Marc Zaffuto and Emmanuel d’Orazio

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Here you can spot me to the left taking great shots of Beth Ditto’s performance.

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Beth Ditto

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She is such a love! Beth Ditto, you literally rock!

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A great honor to be invited by Monsieur Gaultier to such a spectacular dinner.

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DJ Kiddy Smile

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Reunited with Catherine Baba after our trip to Columbia last December.

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Swiss girls: Erica Martinez and me

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Alongside four decades in fashion, 2016 marks the first year the Gaultier fragrance label is being developed by Puig. The television ad is for both perfume blockbusters — Le Male for men and Classique for women. Its backdrop is a factory but, of course, with a twist à la Gaultier. While all of his iconography is evident — think women in corsets and men sporting striped shirts — the setting is industrial. Gaultier himself also appears in the clip, appearing at the very end of the advert.

LoL, Sandra

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The new advertising for Jean Paul Gaultier Classique

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The new advertising for Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

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Photos: Courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier, Images by Saskia Lawaks – Vogue, Images by Thomas Kelly – Say Who,  Access Fashion Media and © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Couture Week

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Some of my readers might recognize this dress and the clutch as well as the coat, but you have never seen me wearing it together. I love when I spot great new combinations in my closet. Sometimes we think we desperately need something new and forget about all the treasures hidden in our wardrobes. Happy searching!

My look during Haute Couture Week in Paris in the end of January: Soft pink mink coat with flower intarsia and red leather boots, both by Prada, Aubine embellished satin-twill dress and Falabella crystal-embellished faux leather clutch, both by Stella McCartney, heart earrings by Chanel, Limelight Gala watch by Piaget and diamond ring by Vainard Fine Jewellery.

Would be a lovely Valentine’s Day outfit as well…

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Visiting Azzedine Alaïa in Paris

Visiting Azzedine Alaia in Paris

Today, my thoughts are with the people of Paris. Standing in solidarity with the French, I am appalled by yesterday’s heinous and immoral acts. So many amazing people live in the City of Lights and I am wishing all of them lots of strength. One of them is Azzedine Alaïa whom I met recently.

“It is Alaïa or not Alaïa! If it is not, you cannot negotiate.”

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Rue de Moussy in the Marais district of Paris, a very unlikely location for a high end fashion store. This has been the address of Azzedine Alaïa’s Maison since over 20 years. It is home to the ateliers, the showroom, the store, an art gallery, his apartment, a hotel with three rooms and the famous kitchen where he eats together with his employees every day and where he welcomed my humble self for dinner. Famous artist and longtime friend Julian Schnabel designed some furniture for the space, such as a massive cashiers’ desk, embellished with the initials, “A.A.”.

Moussy - Photos Andrea Aversa(8)The Alaïa store at Rue de Moussy

Marignan - Photos Ilvio Gallo (1)Housed in an 18th-century mansion, the new Alaïa store at 5 Rue de Marignan.

Before I arrive at the Alaïa temple, I had visited the second store on Rue Marignan which has been open since September 2013. It is quite the opposite on three floors, white, majestic, very artsy and clean, filled with the iconic pieces Azzedine is known for. You might say that he is one of the last couturiers. He is the master of tailoring. I haven’t seen one woman in my life that hasn’t looked good in an Alaïa dress and a pair of Alaïa shoes.

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It is an amazing success story: born in February 1940 as the son of Tunisian farmers, he got inspired for his love of couture by his twin sister. He attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Tunis and studied sculpture which helped him define the silhouette of the modern woman. He had worked at Christian Dior, Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler before opening his first own atelier in the late 1970s. There is no doubt, Azzedine Alaïa has made the sexiest clothes for the most stunning women on the planet, has rejected corporate fashion and become highly acclaimed among critics, designers – even first ladies. For me, it is a story of someone who has always stayed true to himself and has never given up on his own dreams and values, no matter how much more difficult it got because of this attitude. Being particularly successful since the 1980s, he is mostly famous for his tight fitting curve-hugging clothes and second-skin styles with complex seams and snaking zippers. Thanks to him, leather and Lycra have been elevated to the world of high fashion.

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Mr. Alaïa once said: “A woman is like an actress, she’s always onstage. She has to look great to feel good. If she’s going to wear clothes by a designer, … then the clothes should make something happen, something unexpected. The dress has to be part of her, she has to feel it on her body. … I prefer the woman to be seen rather than the outfit. Her head, her body, her hands — the garment is there to cover her, to underline something, and make her beautiful.

Alaïa’s ability to flatter a woman’s body is unparalleled, his creations are timeless. I have been collecting his designs for over twenty years and not one of my pieces seems outdated.

6a00e5523a6edd8833013488290b1a970c-800wiAlaïa leopard love (F/W 1992), © Jean-Baptiste Mondino

He likes swimming against the tide. Whereas all designers follow the fashion week schedules, Mr. Alaïa premieres his collections at his own rhythm, in private défilés since over a decade now. He is openly not a fan of Karl Lagerfeld and had a big fall out with Anna Wintour who hadn’t included the designer’s work in the 2009 Met’s Model As Muse exhibition – which she had organized.

Azzedine Alaïa plays by his own rules. The tiny designer is used to make all the decisions himself. For him, being independent and putting all the effort in his creativity is the key to success. “It’s ready, when it’s ready.” Now, after over 30 years in business, he takes his kingdom to new heights with the launch of his first fragrance «Alaïa». Like an iconic dress of him, he wanted it to be like a second skin. Timeless, for the Alaïa woman, discreet and not vulgar. He created a team of four people to come up with the perfect scent. His longtime friend Carla Sozzani, founder of 10 Corso Como in Milan, famous fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, the French designer Martin Szekely, who created the bottle and last but not least Marie Salamagne, the nose behind it.

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For her it was an unusual encounter with a designer. Marie explains to me: “Once a month we met and discussed what was going to be the fragrance. Mr. Alaïa was were interested to interpret his childhood memories that he had of the smell of fresh water. He had this clear souvenir in mind of cold water running down the hot walls of his family house. Therefore he wanted the fragrance to show exactly this contrast, a mix of cool and warm notes at one.” He was very clear about his vision: “It is Alaïa or not Alaïa! If it is not, you cannot negotiate.

Sandra_Bauknecht_Smelling_alaiaExploring the new Alaïa scent

Marie Salamagne used very fresh airy top notes to give this watery feeling that is transparent and pure. The idea to use pink pepper to add more lightness came from Mr. Alaïa himself. The second impression is floral, but in an abstract and not invasive way, built on peony and freesia. The base notes are warm and all about bare skin created through animal notes and musk.

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The bottle is all about the same contrasting elements. Built like a sculpture, it resembles the iconic perforated cut used for his leather pieces. It is opaque black but when you hold it into the light, it becomes see-through. The packaging itself plays with the famous nude color, the color of skin that Azzedine Alaïa loves to work with. Personally speaking, I had a clear idea in mind of how «Alaïa» would smell like and the new fragrance has totally surpassed all of my expectations. It is different like the house of Alaïa is, yet timeless and unexpected. The designer was very clear about his vision: “It is Alaïa or not Alaïa! If it is not, you cannot negotiate.

It was an amazing experience meeting Mr Alaïa himself. He is such a sweetheart!
Below are some more impressions of my time with him.

LoL, Sandra

Sandra_Bauknecht_AlaiaHeading to dinner in head to toe Alaïa

Moussy - Photos Andrea Aversa(7)Inside the Rue de Moussy store.

Rossy-De_palma_Sandra_BauknechtWith Alaïa’s muse, actress Rossy de Palma, at dinner.

IMG_3439The famous Alaïa kitchen

Hotel 3 Rooms - 5 Rue de Moussy- Photos Christoph Kicherer (1)One of the three hotel rooms

Rue-de-Moussy_Sandra_Bauknecht_alaiaTrying the amazing gown that I wore to my friend’s wedding in Capri.

Gift AlaiaA lovely gift from Mr Alaïa: the laser-cut leather clutch.icon

Marignan - Photos Ilvio Gallo (14)The stairs inside the Rue de Marignan store.

Marignan - Photos Ilvio Gallo (10)

Photos: Courtesy of Alaïa, © Sandra Bauknecht, © Paolo Roversi, © Jean-Baptiste Mondino and © Patrick Demarchelier

Hello from Paris Fashion Week

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Finally, I have made it to Paris for Fashion Week. Today, two blockbuster shows will take place, Chanel this morning and Valentino this afternoon. For those, who are at home, here is your chance to follow everything real time via app or livestream here on Sandra’s Closet.

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So excited for Chanel Airlines, sounds very promising as a theme. The only bummer today is the weather here in Paris. It is raining cats and dogs…
chanel app
You can discover the Chanel S/S 2016 Ready-to-Wear show on the House’s new fashion mobile application. Fully implicated in the digital world, the Chanel has revised its app, already adopted by two million users. Developed in thirteen different languages, the Chanel Fashion application is free to download and available for iOS and Android mobile phones.

Below, you can watch the Valentino live this afternoon. Enjoy!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Brands and © Sandra Bauknecht