A Truly Couture Christmas

Another festive décor not to miss in London is to be found at THE LANESBOROUGH, that takes on a touch of couture with the unveiling of a Ralph & Russo inspired Christmas Tree installation, as imagined by creative genius, Tony Marklew.

Inspired by the heritage of the British luxury house and the intricate detailing portrayed in Ralph & Russo’s most recent F/W 2019 couture collection, the artistic installation brings to life the magic of couture, enchanting onlookers with a canopy of chandelier-like crystals and ornate leaf embellishment, adorned with silk petal flowers in bold hues of raspberry and ruby red.

Tamara Ralph

Established in London in 2010 by duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, Ralph & Russo is an international luxury brand revered for producing designs that are contemporary, timelessly elegant and sought after worldwide. In 2014, Ralph & Russo became the first British guest member in almost a century to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show their first runway collection as part of the S/S 2014 couture season.

Ralph & Russo Couture F/W 2019

Ralph & Russo is loved all over the world for its bold and unapologetically glamorous silhouettes, and famously dressed Meghan Markle in her engagement portraits. Its first ready-to-wear collection launched exclusively with Net-à-Porter, and each piece is made using the same exquisite craftsmanship, modern artistry and detail as its couture pieces.

Bringing the glamour and personal touch of a truly couture Christmas to every hotel guest this festive season, of which the resident cat, Lilibet, is of no exception. To honour the hotel’s most loved resident and her first Christmas at THE LANESBOROUGH, Ralph & Russo have hand-crafted a bespoke collar bearing the crown sigil.

Lilibet arrived in June 2019 and is the latest addition in what is becoming something of a trademark among the sister Oetker Collection properties. Lilbet is a Siberian Forest Cat which means she has very fluffy fur. Siberians are fun-loving, energetic felines and hypoallergenic.
Lilibet joins Burmese cat Fa-Raon from Le Bristol Paris and Kléopatre from Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden.

The hotels have a small team of cat-loving employees, known as the Cat Committee who have kindly volunteered to look after the house cats.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © The Lanesborough Hotel and © Ralph & Russo

Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2019

Every year, I am curious to see who is designing the iconic Christmas tree at Claridge’s Hotel in London. Capturing the glamour, romance and timeless traditions of the festive season, this year’s  tree is the work of legendary designer – and long-time friend and guest of the hotel – Christian Louboutinicon.

This immersive installation invites guests on a journey, transforming the lobby into a frosted forest. At its heart is a traditional tree in gold and red, dressed with fairy lights and gingerbread stilettos – and topped with a gold-leaf crown.

Alongside the tree, The Loubi Express is stationed in the lobby. Passengers are invited to step aboard this enchanting red carriage and take a seat in restful red velvet interiors, where just four tables create an intimate setting. Enjoy a glass – or share a bottle – of Laurent-Perrier, or try one of an exclusive collection of cocktails specially created with Christian Louboutin. Accompanying the drinks are canapés and a selection of Claridge’s Bar sharing dishes – all served to your lamplit table by our Cocktail Conductor.

«I wanted to bring a little bit of Paris to London, and for this year’s design to capture the excitement of journeys, whether to new destinations or homecomings
Christian Louboutin

The unveiling of the 2019 tree heralds the beginning of Christmas in the British capital. Christian Louboutin’s unique installation also marks the 10th year of this creative collaboration between a visionary designer and Claridge’s. In 2018, it was Diane von Furstenberg who designed the Tree of Love. For past installations, click here please.

I will be in London next weekend and cannot wait to see the tree with my own eyes…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Claridge’s Hotel and Christian Louboutin

Loewe Dodos and Dragons

«Each year we have tackled different Arts and Crafts heroes of mine,» says creative director Jonathan Anderson. «For me it was a very natural process to do William De Morgan, he was a big collaborator in the Arts and Crafts movement and a true fantasist in that moment

Loewe’s seasonal collection this year is inspired by British ceramicist William De Morgan (1839-1917) and follows in the footsteps of previous capsules based on Arts and Crafts masters William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

My favorite: Gate mini embroidered leather shoulder bag by Loewe
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William De Morgan was renowned for his richly coloured decorative tile designs, and this collection celebrates his signature motifs of fantastic creatures and floral arabesques across a range of ready-to-wear, accessories and charms for men and women.

In keeping with the Arts and Crafts creed of experimentation, the collection showcases a range technical craft processes, including leather marquetry, hand embroidery and thickly layered weaves. De Morgan’s illustrations are reimagined in new mediums, details are exaggerated, and certain garments remake the wearer as the creature itself. This is a collection in which the imagination is set free and the magical is blended with the everyday.

TO SHOP THE LOEWE CAPSULE COLLECTION, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Loewe

Alber Elbaz Teams Up with Richemont

Great news for the fashion world: luxury conglomerate Richemont is teaming up with former Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz for a new venture at a time when luxury goods groups are vying to make star hires.

«I am very happy to partner with Richemont and to establish my ‘dream factory,’ which will focus on developing solutions for women of our times,» Elbaz said in a statement.

Me with Alber Elbaz in 2015

Elbaz was born in Casablanca, Morocco, in 1961 to a Moroccan Jewish family. He immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of ten and grew up in Holon. After his studies at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, he had jobs at Geoffrey Beene, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent where he designed the Rive Gauche collection under Saint Laurent himself, and Krizia.

Lanvin F/W 2012 campaign

He then began designing for Lanvin, France’s oldest fashion house, in 2001 and transformed the Maison from a small label with only 15 wholesale accounts to a global fashion house known for feminine, comfortable and clever ready-to-wear that earned the approval of celebrities, critics and customers alike. Elbaz’s simple, feminine clothing, which has been compared to Lanvin’s 1920s outfits, has been lauded by the fashion press. Suzy Menkes wrote: «Elbaz is every woman’s darling. And that includes Nicole, Kate, Chloë Sevigny, Sofia Coppola and a slew of rising movie names.» In 2010, Elbaz launched for Lanvin a mass-market collection with H&M, and proved to be one of the retailer’s most popular annual runway collaboration series. In 2013, he created a much anticipated make-up collection for Lancôme.

Therefore the shock was huge when the announcement came that Elbaz had been let go from the fashion house due to major disagreements on strategy and targeted investment in 2015 with major shareholder Taiwanese businesswoman Shaw-Lan Wang. The house has since changed hands and failed to find its footing.

Shaw-Lan Wang and Alber Elbaz in happier times. Photo: BFA / The Cut

After Elbaz was abruptly fired from Lanvin, the industry has wondered when and how he might return to design full-time. Between then and now, he has turned his hand to designing accessories for LeSportsac, collaborated on a fragrance with luxury perfumer Frédéric Malle, and mentored at prestigious design schools. Recently, the star designer had his comeback For Elbaz, after having skipped several years of shows, watching the fashion industry shift from the sidelines. He designed a capsule collection of bags and shoes for luxury Italian brand Tod’s, called «Happy Moments.» Known for his charming and emotional personality, it couldn’t be a better match.

Alber Elbaz lives it up at Tod’s Happy Moments launch. Photo: Tod’s / Getty

«I like fashion, I like fashion people. But after Lanvin, I did not like fashion,» he told Elle Magazine in September 2019, «I needed to fall in love with fashion again.» To fall back in love with fashion took a lot of time. «Because you have to take a few years distance,» Elbaz continues earnestly.

A shoe from Tod’s Happy Moments collection created by Elbaz.

Now Elbaz has a partner for his next chapter. Today, Richemont  announced an agreement to form a joint venture with the designer, calling it AZfashion, which the Swiss luxury conglomerate described as «an innovative and dynamic start-up, meant to turn dreams into reality

As much as the fashion industry has anticipated Elbaz’s return, he and Richemont have their work cut out for them. The announcement about the new brand indicates a completely different approach in this new brand, which the designer told the New York Times will be project-based.

Feminine and dreamy designs: Lanvin F/W 2011 by Alber Elbaz

«Upon hearing Alber Elbaz describe his vision for fashion and the projects it inspires in him, I was again struck by his creativity and insight,» Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert said in a statement. «His talent and inventiveness, with his sensitivity towards women and their wellbeing, will be of great value to our group and its maisons.»

We will all be watching how Elbaz’ vision will transform… I am sure he will let us dream again… something that is desperately needed in today’s fashion world. Fashion should be fun and Elbaz will teach us!

LoL, Sandra

Me in a Lanvin by Alber Elbaz dress, click here for the post.

 Photo: © David Biedert Photography
Photos: Courtesy of the Brands, or otherwise mentioned

Fashion’s Hottest Ticket: Amina Muaddi

Maintaining its status as one of fashions hottest-ticket items, I want you to have a look at the shoes from Amina Muaddi. Literally every woman who loves shoes, loves these and their Amina Muaddi shoe collection is ever-growing. I’m not surprised as her footwear is sassy, playful and flamboyant, opulent, yet timeless, as well as her use of interesting fabrics. Of course these heels come with a waiting list, but some of the hottest ones are available now.

Growing up between Jordan, Romania and Italy, Amina developed an eye for what taste-makers around the world truly want – that perfect blend of effortless glamour, impeccable craftsmanship and fashion-forward style. Something new and fresh, with its roots in timeless quality. She was fascinated by shoes at a young age, and even used to walk around the house in her mother’s heels as a child. She cites her Middle Eastern heritage and close female friends like Attico’s Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini as inspiration.

Don’t miss the sleek stiletto pumps, boots and sandals with lustrous textures and light-catching embellishments and get your pair now, just click on the highlighted description to be transferred directly to the shop

Gilda crystal-embellished satin mules by Amina Muaddi

Bianca metallic suede platform sandals by Amina Muaddiicon

Begum embellished ankle boots by Amina Muaddi

Begum Sling pumps by Amina Muaddi

Adwoa crystal and feather-embellished satin slingback sandals by Amina Muaddi
iconDua suede platform ankle boots by Amina Muaddi

Ida shearling-lined suede knee boots by Amina Muaddi

Happy Shopping!

LoL, Sandraicon

Photos: © Amina Muaddi

Karl Lagerfeld x L’Oréal Paris

The two iconic Parisian brands are joining forces to introduce a makeup collection like no other. KARL LAGERFELD and L’Oreal Paris are pleased to announce an unprecedented collection of beauty products, featuring feminine shades with a sophisticated, rock-chic touch. It is one of the last projects of Karl Lagerfeld‘s life as the makeup collection was initiated by him before his passing on February 19.

Another homage to the couturier and connected by their Parisian heritage, both KARL LAGERFELD and L’Oreal Paris share a vision based on elegance, style and relentless innovation. As Karl once said, «Tomorrow I could be the opposite of what I am today» — which is also the idea this collaboration invites women to explore.

The striking campaign was inspired by Karl’s most iconic quotes. It features the inimitable Helen Mirren, Doutzen Kroes, Liya Kedebe, Ming Xi, Luma Grothe, Louise Bourgoin and Soo Joo Park.

Eyeshadow Palette – CHF 23.90
Eyeliner Matte Signature – CHF 20.90
Mascara – CHF 23.90
Highlighter Duo Compact – CHF 23.90
Colour Riche Lipsticks – CHF 21.90

In Switzerland, the limited edition Karl Lagerfeld x L’Oréal Paris collection will be in stores end of October 2019, exclusively at Manor.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © L’Oréal

Visiting Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Already in April this year, I had the the pleasure to visit one of the most beautiful exhibitions ever, a must for every fashion lover: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This retrospective celebrates the founding couturier’s avant-garde spirit and the international destiny of his House, shepherded, after his passing in 1957, by the talent of the Creative Directors who succeeded him.

You still have one week left to indulge in the universe of the French Maison as the exhibition has been extended to September 1st after it sold out within 19 days of its opening.

ABOUT CHRISTIAN DIOR

Christian Dior was born into a wealthy Normandie family in the French seaside town of Granville on January 21, 1905. As a child he shared his mother’s love of gardens. is early passions included architecture and designing fancy dress costumes for his friends. Sent by his parents to study political science in Paris, Dior gravitated towards a bohemian group of friends, including composer Henri Sauguet and artist Christian Bérard.

In 1928, he opened and art gallery, but the business foundered when the Dior family fortune collapsed following the 1929 financial crisis. Forced to find a new way to make a living, Dior took up fashion drawing, eventually working with top couturiers Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong.

In 1946, Dior founded his own couture house with the backing of textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac. On 12 February 1947, the House of Dior launched its first collection. Dubbed the «New Look» by the press, the collection had an instant and unparalleled influence on fashion around the world. The House of Dior grew rapidly. By 1955 it accounted for over 50% of overseas exports of French haute couture.

In the prime of his career, Christian Dior died suddenly on 24 October 1957. His legacy has continued under the creative directors who have succeeded him at the head of the House of Dior: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

THE EXHIBITION

Based on the highly successful Musée des Arts Décoratifs exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve (on view from 5 July 2017 to 7 January 2018), the show charts seven decades of the continuing importance, influence and creativity of the House of Dior in the fashion world, with an additional section showcasing the story of Dior in Britain.

The famous «Bar Suit» and hat, Haute Couture S/S 1947

Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, the exhibition presents over 500 objects, with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, vintage perfume, original make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions. Unfolding across eleven themes, this unique event invites visitors to immerse themselves inside Christian Dior’s world, tracing the highlights of his life, from his childhood to the creation of his couture house at the end of 1946. A voyage through time that continues with the starring role played by such timeless icons as the eternal «Bar Suit», and legendary looks designed by the visionary tastemaker the couturier was.

Celebrating the Dior art of color, accessories, hats, bags, illustrations, miniature dresses, lipsticks and emblematic fragrances together form a spectrum of colors dear to Christian Dior and, in turn, enrich this exciting encounter with the House. The culmination of this immersive exploration, an exhibit called «Le Salon» showcases the splendor of society soirées, illustrated by spectacular dresses that testify to the virtuosity and savoir-faire of excellence of the Dior haute couture ateliers.

THE NEW LOOK

Christian Dior unveiled his first haute couture collection on 12 February 1947, amid excited anticipation within fashion circles. Offering a radical alternative to the boxy, masculine style of women’s fashion after the Second World War, Dior’s designs caused a sensation. Carmel Snow, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar, declared: « It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian, your dresses have such a new look!» The Dior Line showcases ten defining looks made between 1947 and 1957, Christian Dior’s own tenure at the House.

DIOR IN BRITAIN

Exactly to this day, 72 years before, on 26 August 1947, a small group of people stood together in London’s Claridge’s Hotel, hovering around a smartly dressed middle-aged man holding a trilby hat. The celebrated couturier Christian Dior, who just six months earlier had revolutionized fashion with its first «New Look» collection, was in the process of being ambushed by the press. One journalist grilled him as to how he was able to persuade a world short of fabric to embrace his audacious new fashions, to which Dior replied: «I am giving the women the dresses they want. They’re fed up with war restrictions… My full skirts are a release

«I adore the English, dressed not only in tweeds which suit them so well, but also in those flowing dresses, in subtle colours, which they have worn inimitably since the days of GainsboroughChristian Dior, 1957.

Christian Dior designed this couture dress in 1951 specially for the 2st birthday of Princess Margaret.

In his autobiography, Dior affirmed his love for all things English. He was particularly enamoured with the English aristocracy and he admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary, and Savile Row suits.

HISTORICISM

Christian Dior often cited historic periods in his designs – the sinus lines of Belle Époque dresses from the late 1800s and early 1900s: the tightly waisted mid-nineteenth-century styles worn by the French Empress Eugénie, Napoléon III’s wife. The sumptuous silks and dramatic silhouettes of the eighteenth century held a particular fascination. Dior’s premises at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris had a neo-classical façade, medaillon-backed chairs, and white and grey panelling like that of Petit Trianon at Versailles, a colour Dior is said to have revived.

«I thank heaven I lived in Paris in the last years of the Belle EpoqueChristian Dior, 1957

In front of one of my favorite Dior dresses, Look 24 from the F/W 2004 Haute Couture collection by John Galliano.

TRAVEL

Travels explore how travel and different countries and cultures have consistently inspired the various designers at the House of Dior. This section focuses on five of the countries that provided a source of reference for Christian Dior and his successors at the House of Dior: Mexico, India, Egypt, Japan and China.

THE GARDEN

Flowers are emblematic of the Maison and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints, but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show.
From horticulture to global travel and historicism, the show reveals the sources of inspiration that defined the House of Dior’s aesthetic.

Look 47 from the F/W 2012 Haute Couture collection by Raf Simons for Dior. It was worn by actress Natalie Portman, the face of Miss Dior perfume.

DESIGNERS FOR DIOR

Designers for Dior spotlights the work of the subsequent six key artistic directors since Christian Dior’s death in 1957.

Since 1957 the House of Dior has been led by:
Yves Saint Laurent 1958-60
Marc Bohan 1960-89
Gianfranco Ferré 1989-96
John Galliano 1996-2011 
Raf Simons 
2012-15
Maria Grazia Chiuri 2016 to present
Each creative director has brought a new perspective.

THE ATELIERS

The Ateliers showcases toiles from the Dior Ateliers in a stunning «cabinet of curiosity» style.

«Everything created by human hands expresses something – above all the personality of the creator. The same thing is true with a dress. But since so many people are working on it, the real job is to get all the hands that cut, sew, try on and embroider to express all I have feltChristian Dior, 1954

DIORAMA

Diorama examines the breadth of the House of Dior, from accessories including costume jewellery, hats, shoes and bags, to illustrations, miniature dresses and archive lipstick and perfume, bottles, collected in a kaleidoscopic display. This section spotlights the key creative partners of the House from the past 70 years, including Roger Vivier Stephen Jones, René Gruau, Serge Lutens and Swarovski, Christian Dior’s first choice for crystals to embellish his creations.

How cool! My own outfit was part of the exhibition.

THE BALLROOM

Drawing on his love of costume, it was in his evening dresses and ball gowns that Dior could indulge his imagination and showcase the diverse skills of the haute couture ateliers. Until today, a Dior gown, synonymous with allure and opulence, demonstrates the formidable talents and techniques of Parisian haute couture. It is no wonder that such striking creations have graced numerous red carpets as the choice of film stars and prominent personalities over the past seven decades.

I hope that you have enjoyed following me on my tour through this beautiful exhibition.

LoL, Sandra

Photos taken of the exhibition: © Sandra Bauknecht

Stella x Taylor Swift

To support the release of her new album «Lover,» out this week on August 23, 2019 Taylor Swift announced that she’s working with British fashion designer Stella McCartney on a special—and sustainable—fashion collaboration, featuring organic fabrics, leather made from recycled polyester and vegetable waste oils, and even a reusable water bottle.

«She’s been a friend for a really long time, and also just a woman I respect so much,» Swift said of McCartney during an Instagram Live. The collection is inspired by the songs on the album, and is including a bomber jacket, purse, and many tees in all sorts of amazing pastel hues and tie-dyes. You don’t need to be a teenager to like those pieces…

Tune in to Taylor’s YouTube channel at 5pm EST on August 22, 2019 to see Stella and Taylor reveal more about their creative process.

The collection will be available in a special pop-up store in New York City called «The Lover Experience» that will take place between August 23-25, 2019 and online here. It seems to be the only place fans will be able to purchase the limited edition tees (at least for now). The jacket and purse, however, will also be available on Stella McCartney’s website starting the night of August 22, 2019.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Stella McCartney
via Instagram @taylorswift @stellamccartney
 #StellaxTaylorSwift

Estée Lauder x Duro Olowu

«Sometimes you just need to allow inspiration to find you—wherever in the world it may be.» – Duro Olowu

Nigerian-born, London-based fashion designer Duro Olowu, the prince of prints, created his first-ever makeup collection with Estée Lauder, that I don’t want you to miss as I spotted it myself in British Vogue. Beautiful, vibrant and full of life are the six customized make-up products, inspired by his own effortlessly stylish clothing collections, which celebrate freedom of expression, individuality, and the strong, confident woman who wears them.


Being trendy has never been of interest to Duro. He has always been more interested in the culture of style to create pieces that effortlessly stand the test of time. His prints are inspired by his Nigerian, Jamaican, and British backgrounds, as well as his love of art. About his creative process he says: «Fabrics always tell a story, and, when mixed well, exude the kind of joie de vivre and allure I am constantly inspired by.»

In Switzerland, the Estée Lauder x Duro Olowu collection is only available online.
CLICK HERE TO BE TRANSFERED DIRECTLY. Great news is that shipping is free until this Sunday, Aug 4, 2019.

LoL, Sandra

Duro Olowu with me

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht, Courtesy of Estée Lauder, Magazine in Collage: British Vogue

Pubumésu

Pack a slice of Asia wherever you go and beat the heat with the most stylish leather and horn fans, you might have ever seen! Handmade by skilled artisans and inspired by the market stalls of Java, Putri Soediono launched Pubumésu, after cutting her teeth designing theatrical accessories for Vivienne Westwood.

Putri Soediono

A third culture kid with a traditional and eccentric Asian upbringing, she holds a degree in Fashion Accessories from London Cordwainers. For her designs, that also include bags, she combines the traditional shadow puppet making of her native Indonesia with a passion for statement pieces.

Banana leaf printed leather and horn fan


Conch shells printed leather and horn fan

iconWatermelon leather fan

Pineapple printed leather and horn fan

Here you can enjoy some photos of the outstanding craftsmanship that goes into the fans. Every cut, stitch, shaping, forming, and treatment is conducted in the brand’s Indonesia – based factory, involving a team of classically skilled craftsmen and women, dedicated to the art of leather craft.

The team uses 100% tanned leather from cattle locally sourced on the island of Java, that is carefully treated to provide you the signature distressed look for that little edge of punk. The outcome, an entirely handcrafted piece of leather accessory you can call your own.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Pubumésu, Instagram @pubumesu