Visiting the Brunello Cucinelli Manufacture

«I wanted a small part of the company’s profits to go to beautify all of humanity and I wanted people to work a fair amount of hours and be online the right amount of time, so that Technology and Humanism could be harmonised and a healthy balance between mind, soul and body could be restored, because the soul and body also need nourishment every day.» – Brunello Cucinelli

Another highlight of my trip to Umbria with Brunello Cucinelli and my NET-À-PORTERicon and MR PORTER family was visiting the manufacture. The palatial headquarters are modern, clean and providing the employees with a wonderful work environment. Initially established at the castle in Solomeo, the company was relocated to the valley below to completely newly constructed buildings.

The beautiful grounds of the company.

The ancient medieval buildings in the center of Solomeo now host the classrooms of the School of Contemporary Arts and Crafts –  a tuition-free arts school to teach traditional skills like gardening and, of course, tailoring, set up in 2013.

Happily reminded of my own fashion design studies.

Brunello’s wife Federica was born in Solomeo and ran a small clothing shop there in the village. During their early engagement in 1978, Brunello came across the idea to venture into a knitwear business with colorful cashmere sweaters. His first success, he told me, started in the German-speaking market, that showed a huge interest and appreciation for this unprecedented proposition and this allowed his company to quickly emerge. Cucinelli is no ordinary Italian fashion magnate. Today it is a cashmere empire selling luxury goods in the top segment with 7,000 employees and a turnover of €200m, but Cucinelli is also known for his «humanistic» approach to capitalism, based on respect for people and nature. In  the manufacture you can experience this approach fully.

When you enter the main building, you pass by the advertising campaign photo for F/W 2014 in which you see a long table in the Umbrian countryside with all the employees lined up for dinner. It was an actual photo taken during a company’s event. The quote for the picture: «All things come from the Earth.» – Xenophanes. Brunello Cucinelli is one big family!

Every day at midday, the entire staff is invited to the cafeteria for a family-style lunch complete with several courses, wine, and beautiful views of the Umbrian hills. Creating a nourishing work environment for body and soul is something that is very dear to Brunello Cucinelli. Around 5.30pm the power goes off and workers are encouraged not to work long hours and write after-hours e-mails. For Brunello Cucinelli being away from work is an important part of being effective at work.

The fashion designer, a lover of history, philosophy and country life, has also opened the doors to his office for us. A very intimate and welcoming gesture that impressed me. I entered a neat and tidy space, yet full of life. The books in the shelves are not only for decoration, Brunello indulges in them, always on the hunt for a great quote of inspiration. The room is also filled with articles about him and his company. Photos of his beautiful family add the personal touch. The view is spectacular, overlooking the beautiful tranquil Umbrian scenery.

Walking through the manufacture, I experienced the different steps of creating a stunning cashmere piece along with the impressive quality control. Once you see all the craftsmanship that goes into one item, you will appreciate it even more.

Later we went to «The Parco della Bellezza» on the outskirts of the village, at the grandly titled monument «Tribute To Human Dignity», a classically styled exedra with five arches, built from travertine. The creation stems from Brunello Cucinelli’s desire to leave a legacy behind that will stand the test of time, a symbol of his commitment to mankind and to create a park that could give new life to the breathtaking landscape of the valley below Solomeo. It also boasts a multitude of orchards, as well as wheat and sunflower plantations; it comprises a plant nursery, a naturalistic area, an olive grove with an olive oil mill, and a vineyard with a wine cellar that hosts an impressive collection of Italian wines.

Brunello Cucinelli concluded his speech to the World’s Great Leaders on the occasion of the G20 last year with this phrase: «From the time of Plato, through all the medieval scholastic philosophy, and then in the Enlightenment, up to idealism, positivism, existentialism and finally to the present day, the usefulness of contact with something beautiful, be it a painting, a book, or a landscape, is the seed from which the tree of wisdom grows, that wisdom that the human being cannot do without for their best life.»

At the Brunello Cucinelli company, treating people well is at the core of everything, and fostering a beautiful culture is as important as producing the most beautiful clothes. It seems that Italians really do it better or as Giuseppe Verdi said: «You may have the universe, if I may have Italy

TO SHOP BRUNELLO CUCINELLI AT NET-À-PORTER. CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
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Dinner with Brunello Cucinelli in Solomeo

Life will move on, but memories are forever. One event that I will always remember is the lovely dinner I had with Italian-born knitwear specialist Brunello Cucinelli (68) and his family at his home in Solomeo this weekend, co-hosted by MR PORTER Managing Director Fiona Firth. Launched in 1978, his brand is renowned for its ethical and philosophical approach to business, as much as its sumptuous fabrics and timeless color palette. With a focus on dyed and embellished cashmere and chic separates, his seasonless pieces are true wardrobe investments.

Being described as «the king of cashmere», he is based in the tranquil surroundings of Solomeo – a 14th century Umbrian village near Assisi. A place that lies deep in Brunello’s heart as it represents the core of his family, business and spiritual life. It is actually his wife’s home village. More recently the company business, which was initially established at the castle in Solomeo, was relocated to the valley below; the ancient medieval buildings now host the classrooms of the School of Contemporary Arts and Crafts, set up in 2013.


The Hamlet is now even more closely linked to the Forum of the Arts, and one might even say that the whole of Solomeo is an area devoted to culture, to art, to traditions, to history, to a happy life. Thanks to Cucinelli’s dedication, this beautiful little village has been completely restored. He has also built a theatre considered to be a secular temple of art, a library, the new Universal Library of Solomeo, reminiscent of his own where people can read books in a beautiful eighteenth-century villa, then a monument to the Dignity of Man and an immense park called «Project for Beauty». Before dinner, Brunello Cucinelli showed us around and explained us passionately the projects.

Brunello Cucinelli is a very captivating man. He speaks French fluently, for English he has a translator. We had our dinner conversation in French and it was very impressive to learn more about him, his strong family ties, the way he likes to give back and how he preserves cultural goods. He donates 20% of his profits through the Brunello Cucinelli Foundation. He believes in a very modern concept: Being good to people and to the environment will always pay off in the long run.

Brunello loves philosophy, everywhere in Solomeo you can find famous quotes by famous philosophers that are important to him. He also uses them in speeches. Cucinelli is the closest thing the luxury world has to a philosopher – he dropped out of college to pursue his own agenda of philosophical reading. «I live and work as an Italian, but I think like a Greek.»

«Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end» (I. Kant)

Growing up in rather poor conditions, he saw how his father was  subject to humiliation. Therefore the way you treat others has become an essential part of his life. Giving back to the community is extremely important to him. As his clothing empire has expanded, Cucinelli has spent untold sums revitalizing Solomeo. Not only has he refurbished its infrastructure, he’s also opened a tuition-free arts school to teach traditional skills like gardening and, of course, tailoring and invisible mending.

He told us about the speech he gave in Rome past October to the World’s Great Leaders on the occasion of the G20.

«Humanistic capitalism has been the guideline for my conduct as an entrepreneur from the very beginning, and I have imagined and come up with this definition for my enterprise. What I mean by humanistic capitalism is precisely this idea, this concept of a fair and sustainable profit, a profit harmonised with giving back: striking a balance between profit and giving back; donating to the world as guardians of creation, leaving to those coming after us not the very same world we found, but a more amiable one. I envisage humanistic capitalism as a great harmony within which profit, giving back, guardianship, human dignity and the ethics of truth coexist and enrich each other.» – Brunello Cucinelli

Brunello is a big family man – the Cucinelli clan lives in neighbouring homes in Solomeo. The founder’s two daughters, Camilla and Carolina, work in the family business and Cucinelli’s son-in-law, Riccardo Stefanelli, was recently appointed joint CEO in 2020 after 14 years in the company. Carolina is co-president and co-creative director of the company. Her husband Alessio Piastrelli works on the menswear team. Camilla sits on the board and is part of the womenswear design team.

Cucinelli’s father lived with him until he died last year at age 100. His wife Federica and himself have been together since their teenage years. The couple has now three grandchildren. The eldest, Victoria, seems to have inherited a lot from her grandpa. The two get a long so well. It was a true pleasure speaking to the 12-year old young lady. When we asked her, where she would love to live when she is older, she immediately replied: «Nowhere else than Solomeo

In 2012, Cucinelli took the $810 million (2021 revenues) company public, listing its shares on the Italian stock exchange. In 2014, Brunello Cucinelli has transferred his entire stake in the firm to a trust – a relative uncommon structure in Italy – to benefit his daughters and ensure the continuation of his philantrophic work.

When I asked him why he has never done a fashion show, he told me: «My clothes have to be felt, touched and seen in real life. In our showroom we offer this experience. Therefore I was never interested in doing a runway presentation

As it started raining upon arrival, the tables were moved from the Hamlet to a covered area overlooking the valley and the theatre. The food was traditional Italian, served family style. The appetizers included one of my favorite local recipes, panzanella, an Umbrian dish of bread and tomatoes, that gives you immediately the flavor of a warm Italian summer night. As a main course, we were treated to different sorts of freshly baked crispy pizzas. I loved the one with no cheese and only fresh tomatoes.

Being part of the Brunello Cucinelli clan for one weekend made me think that the Maison is different, it’s absolutely worth the price, it’s not just the cashmere and outstanding craftsmanship, I will tell you more about in one of my next posts, but the philosophy of giving back we are buying into.

TO SHOP BRUNELLO CUCINELLI AT NET-À-PORTER. CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
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A Weekend in Umbria with Brunello Cucinelli

Being part of the NET-À-PORTERicon family comes with many privileges. It is my favorite online shopping destination, not only because of the great selection and the absolutely wonderful and outstanding personal shopping team, that always takes the best care of me, but also for all the amazing experiences and trips, plus all the wonderful people I met during these journeys.

As one of NET-À-PORTERicon‘s most loyal clients and someone with a passion for Italian craftsmanship, I was invited to join the team for a one-of-a-kind trip to Solomeo, the homeland of Brunello Cucinelli. Alongside my guest of choice, which was my fiancé, I was invited to an intimate tour of the manufacture and opportunity to explore Solomeo – a beautiful hamlet meticulously restored over the last 20 years. In addition, the MR PORTER Managing Director Fiona Firth co-hosted a dinner with Mr Brunello Cucinelli himself.

A warm welcome in our beautiful hotel room.

We arrived Thursday evening in Florence, where a car was waiting to take us to our hotel in Umbria, the Borgo Dei Conti Resort. After we quickly freshened up, we went down to meet the lovely NET-À-PORTER team for drinks ahead of a wonderful dinner.

Stay tuned for all my amazing experieneces during this trip. We had a private tour of Brunello Cuccinelli’s headquarters and manufacture, and  joined Mr. Brunello Cucinelli himself for an intimate dinner in his home in Solomeo. On Saturday morning, we went on an incredible tour of Assisi, followed shortly afterwards by a lunch. In the evening we had another amazing dinner in the surroundings of Solomeo before departing on Sunday morning.

I am so grateful for all the memories and encounters during this weekend that I will happily share with you during the next days. Thank you, Brunello Cucinelli, MR PORTER and NET-À-PORTER, for this amazing experience!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise.

Coming of Age

«Coming of Age», in loving memory and honour of Virgil Abloh, is unveiled at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France. An extension of the original global «Coming of Age» exhibition, the arrival in Paris will play out over a two-week period, from 13th April, at the Frank Gehry-designed space.

In 2019, Virgil Abloh curated a group exhibition titled «Coming of Age» in Los Angeles, California. Presented in creative partnership with Little Big Man Gallery, the exhibition centred around the concept, diversities and complexities of male youth and boyhood – traversing class, race, social economics, subcultures, isolation, and camaraderie. «Coming of Age» travelled to Paris, Beijing, Milan, New York, Munich, Tokyo and Seoul, allowing students, artists, and local communities access to a DIY «copy center», to build and create their own zines with their favourite artworks from the exhibition.

A physical embodiment and homage to Virgil Abloh’s world, «Coming of Age» in Paris regroups, reimagines and expands this original exhibition and its narrative story. A tribute to a hands-on creator, the exhibition encourages activities and participation, combining physical events with digital activations. Visitors become participants, alongside artists, photographers, musicians, directors, and animators. Diverse but united, the participants serve as an illustration of Virgil Abloh’s mission and achievement to democratise the dream embodied by Louis Vuitton, rendering it a domain open to the aspirations of people from all walks of life, all ages, all genders and all races.

The exhibition is open to the public, free of charge, from 13th to 27th April 2022.

Address:
Fondation Louis Vuitton
8 Av. du Mahatma Gandhi
75116 Paris

Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday
12pm to 7pm

Registration for tickets: www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Louis Vuitton

Ferragamo Appoints New Creative Director

Salvatore Ferragamo is shaking things up with a very exciting appointment. Just a few months after announcing the arrival of Marco Gobbetti as CEO, the Italian label has named 25-year-old emerging British-Trinidadian designer Maximilian Davis its new creative director, replacing Paul Andrew, who exited the Florence-based label last March as part of a major shakeup.

«I am delighted to welcome Maximilian at the house of FerragamoGobbetti said in a press release. «The clarity of his vision together with the level of execution and his powerful aesthetic make him one of the most brilliant talents of his generation. His work is defined by elegance, refined sensuality, and constant commitment to quality

Maximilian’s S/S2021 collection featured cutout dresses, sleek tailoring and beautiful gowns.
TO SHOP MAXIMILAN, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

Maximilian Davis

Davis, one of London’s buzziest emerging talents, will join the brand on March 16, 2022. He graduated of the London College of Fashion, and has worked under designers including Wales Bonner, Mowalola, Asai, and Supriya Lele before launching his namesake label in 2020. He was shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH Prize this year, but pulled out of the competition earlier this month.

Salvatore Ferragamo (1898–1960)

Ferragamo has been underperforming lately. Once the Italian House was the world’s most innovative shoemaker, creating major footwear trends like the wedge and the platform.

Salvatore Ferragamo, rainbow wedge sandal (1938)

With the new head designer, the Maison hopes to vamp up its sales by re-energising Ferragamo with a product and marketing refresh. Good luck!
TO SHOP FERRAGAMO ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.icon

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Salvatore Ferragamo, Net-à-Porter
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Fusalp

While being in the mountains, I am always looking for ways to keep me warm whilst staying stylish and maintaining functionality when hitting the slopes, taking a walk and enjoying the après-ski of course. One brand that combines technicity, functionality and elegance perfectly is FUSALP –  a must if you want to fulfill your retro fantasies or if you are looking for some of the most stylish, modern high-performance clothing for the slopes.

In 1952, two visionary tailors from Annecy decided to introduce entrepreneurship to their savoir-faire by creating ski garments, including the skin-tight iconic «fuseau» stirrup pants. Born in the heart of the French Alps, FUSALP – which takes its name from an abbreviation of «fuseau from the Alps» – has a signature style that makes it the perfect choice for a returning community of connoisseurs in France as well as around the world.

 Generations of ski champions have performed in FUSALP at international competitions since the ’60s, and made the brand famous by sharing values of discipline, performance and elegance.

A controlling stake in the company was acquired in 2013 by Sophie and Philippe Lacoste, former shareholders and heirs of the Lacoste brand. Their objective was to reinvent and revitalize FUSALP and to introduce its quality products to new segments, also with the help of experienced shareholders such as Florac who understood the ready-to-wear market and could drive the brand’s international expansion.

Mathilde Lacoste

Today, under the creative vision of Mathilde Lacoste, wife of Philippe Lacoste, FUSALP has experienced strong growth. The designer orchestrates a balanced equation of tradition and modernity, as well as innovation and style, by constantly exploring the savoir-faire and historic codes of the brand. She designs contemporary collections for both winter and summer, for the slopes as well as the city.

Chloé x FUSALP

Since last winter, fashionistas around the globe have been craving for FUSALP’s stylish collaboration with Chloé. This line of ski clothing and accessories offers a ’70s spirit and a care-free dash. The two iconic French brands have combined their feminine spirits and dynamic fashion visions to create a versatile capsule collection.

Once you try a FUSALP outfit, you will immediately love the comfort and the way you can move. When I visited the FUSALP store, located at Promenade 74 in Gstaad, I went for this orange combo, that will accompany me, with comfort and elegance, during my escapades in the mountains.

FUSALP – at the peak of style!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored. However, I am truly loving it!
@fusalp #FusalpFamily #MoveInFusalp

Nino Cerruti Dies at 91

Fashion designer Nino Cerruti died on Saturday, Jan 15th, 2022 at age 91.

Cerruti, who was born on September 25th, 1930 in Biella, one of Italy’s main textile hubs, was a key figure in the international fashion industry, well-respected and known for his elegance, kindness and polite ways.

«For the family, collaborators, friends and management of Lanificio Cerruti and for Italian fashion today is a sad day because with the death of Mr. Nino the world looses a man of talent, an extraordinary designer, a visionary ahead of his time and a great mentor to whom many are indebted,» said Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti in a statement.

Cerruti came from a family of textile industrialists, and inherited the company at the age of 20 upon his father’s death. He discontinued his studies in philosophy and journalism to immediately rediscover himself as suited to the style and fashion business at the highest level. Following the family tradition, investing heavily over the years in the research and development of materials, he added attention to design to taste and sensibility and his highly personal insights. In short, to be exact since 1957, he has achieved worldwide attention with the presentation of the company’s first apparel line, Hitman, in Milan. In 1962, together with Osvaldo Testa, he founded the brand «Flying Cross», the first «Designer Line» which was added to the Hitman line. In 1967, he opened the first Cerruti 1881 boutique at Place de la Madeleine in Paris. In the mid-1960s, in Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti, he collaborated with new emerging names in Italian fashion, taking on as «rookies» designers of the calibre of Giorgio Armani (who worked with Cerruti until 1970).

«It is with great sadness that I learn of Nino Cerruti’s death,» said Armani to WWD. «Although over the years we had seen less of each other, I have always considered him one of the people who have had a real and positive influence on my life. From him I learned not only the taste for a sartorial softness, but also the importance of an all-around vision, as a designer and an entrepreneur. Mr. Nino was a keen observer, he had a real curiosity and the ability to dare. His gentle way of being authoritative and also authoritarian will be missed.»

In the 1970s, he created the first deconstructed jacket. He established licensing agreements in Japan and the US in order to increase the international visibility of the brand and to maintain competitive prices in most markets, proving more and more, as well as his artistic skills, his strong entrepreneurial vocation to the global market. In these years, the fashion line for women also came into being, which 20 years later would represent 20% of total company revenues. In 1975, Hitman began production and distribution of knitwear, shirts and the casual line: Cerruti 1881 Brothers.

Nino Cerruti with Hubert de Givenchy

At the end of the 1970s, he also launched the first men’s fragrance linked to the brand, named «Nino Cerruti», followed by other intuitions and innovations: in the 1980s the sportswear line, famous for clothing dedicated to tennis and skiing. In short also sponsoring world-class athletes such as the American tennis player Jimmy Connors and the Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark.

In the 1980s, Cerruti began a collaboration with the world of movies. From «Bonnie and Clyde» and «Pretty Woman» to «Basic Instinct,» the brand Cerruti designed clothes for actors such as Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson, Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Julia Roberts, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Al Pacino or Jean Paul Belmondo.

Nino Cerruti and Kathleen Turner

The popularity of the brand increased further in 1994 when it was appointed official designer of Formula 1 team Ferrari. In the early 1990s, two new fragrances were launched: «Cerruti 1881 Pour Homme» and «Cerruti 1881 Pour Femme», both produced and distributed by Elizabeth Arden. Also, flagship stores in China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia were opened. In 1995, the production of the women’s line «Cerruti Art» began, which can be found in the segment «Top Designer».

Cerruti even had cameo roles in the 1996 films «Catwalk» and «Cannes Man,» and in the 1998 movie «Holy Man

In 1998 at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the new men’s fragrance «Cerruti Image» was presented. In the same year, the Cerruti store on Madison Avenue in New York was opened. In 2000, Cerruti opened a flagship store in Hong Kong. In the same year, he launched the women’s version of the perfume «Cerruti Image». In 2000, Nino Cerruti was appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro by the President of the Republic of Italy. In 2001, «Cerruti Holding» sold the brand «Cerruti 1881» to focus on Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti.

Among the awards received as evidence of a career that has given so much to the style and fashion, not just in Italy but worldwide: the Bath Museum of Costume Dress of the Year Award, England, 1978; the Munich Fashion Week Award, 1981; the Cutty Sark Award in 1982, 1988 and Pitti Uomo Award, Italy, 1986.

We say goodbye to a great man who was an icon of Italian fashion.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti

Paris Texas

Inspired by modern women from around the world, Paris Texas is an Italian shoe label that embodies the idea of contrasts. Paris – meaning «sophisticated in style» – and Texas – a «fun attitude» – together convey the essence behind the brand’s versatile designs, which revolve around creativity, freedom and expression.

The brand was found in 2015 by sisters Annamaria and Margherita Brivio as a way to create high-quality shoes that felt fashion-forward but still reasonable in price. The designers inject eccentric details into every style in order to create sophisticated and feminine silhouettes that will upgrade any outfit.

The must-have sparkling Holly embellished suede knee-high boots have instantly become a fashion girl staple.

TO SHOP PARIS TEXAS ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography and © Paris Texas
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Karl Lagerfeld’s Estate Auction Series

Karl Lagerfeld was one of the fashion world’s most famous and revered designers who revolutionised and reinvented the leading luxury brands in the business. An icon of pop culture, whose influence was felt far beyond the realm of luxury fashion, Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most recognisable figures of his generation, but always remained enigmatic.
This December, Sotheby’s is paying tribute to this genius designer, presenting an anthology of his unique taste and treasured mementos of his life and career by selling more than 1,000 lots from his residences in France and Monaco, the homes that he so carefully designed.

The first part of the Karl online auction has offered collectors a unique opportunity to acquire art objects and pieces owned by the late designer. On Monday, Dec 6, is your final chance to bid on the first part of the auction. Click here to see the lots.

Georges Lepape – La comédie

This auction features a superb collection of Georges Lepape drawings, and a diverse selection of design, clothing, luggage and pieces portraying Karl Lagerfeld from his residences in Monaco and Louveciennes, every one of which bears witness to his extraordinarily good taste.

The second part of KARL Paris online auction opens between 6 and 16 December. Click here to find the catalog.

«The story of this sale is of Karl Lagerfeld at home, of the private man behind the public persona. We see him as an absolute aesthete, applying the very same precision to the spaces he lived in as to the designs that saw him conquer the world of fashion. A glimpse inside his homes reveal a designer who knew how to perfectly balance the old and the new, the traditional with the radical, the serious with the surprising, and often with a twist of fun. And, a flick through the catalogue provides a tantalising hint at what it might have been like to sit around his dinner table, with the eclectic tableware, porcelains, glasses, linens and silver on display. It is items like these, and the most personal pieces offered throughout the sales, whether they be from his celebrated wardrobe, his dressing table, his linen cupboards or silver chests that help piece together the story behind the persona of one of the great designers of our times». – Pierre Mothes, Vice President of Sotheby’s France.

«He (Karl) was forthright, charismatic and decisive in every aspect of his life, but it is his sharp sense of humour that really shined behind closed doors as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of art and culture that he generously shared at every opportunity.
Karl’s scope of work didn’t just evolve, he continually re-invented it, emerging season by season as a key player and shaper of the fashion zeitgeist; his vision was so extraordinary. I’ve often described him as the Warhol of fashion, because like Warhol his work spanned such a wide variety of media and he understood the relationship between photography, artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertising.» – Claudia Schiffer

Unsurprisingly, Karl Lagerfeld’s sharp eye for style extended into his private world, and the twenty residences he is believed to have designed throughout his life. The sale brings together tens of important pieces of decorative arts that reflect his passion for contemporary and industrial design that preoccupied him for the last 20 years, with glimpses of the 18th-century and Art Deco periods that captivated him for so long before that.

Martin Szekely
103 Black Console, 2006 | Console 103 black, 2006

Radical pieces of design – moulded in cool steel, aluminium, leather, glass and stone – by the likes of Marc Newson and Martin Szekely are juxtaposed with 18th-century luxuriance (gilt bronze and crystal chandeliers, a regal Louis XVI bed draped in a silver thread and yellow silk lampas, 18th-century sculpture), and many classic art deco pieces, something that Karl Lagerfeld first fell for in the 1970s, especially the work of Louis Süe and André Mare.

Objects from his desk

Lagerfeld’s passion for a sharp contemporary aesthetic peaked with his design of the futuristic apartment he spent two and a half years renovating on the Quai Voltaire next to the Seine. Here, in a 300-year-old building, he reinvented the traditional concept of an artist’s studio for the 21st century, with a monochromatic interior of glass, metal, concrete and silicone. This would become his primary residence in the city, where he lived with his celebrity cat Choupette. In his words: «This is not a house…It’s a spaceship!»

Karl Lagerfeld’s 8 rue des Saint-Pères apartment

The sale also opens the door to two of his residences that had never been seen before: a two-storied apartment on Rue des Saints-Pères (also in Paris) where he powerfully mixed minimal design with decorative arts, and, the last home he ever decorated – a 19th century villa in Louveciennes, near Versailles. The latter was contrived as a love letter to his German roots, adorned with posters of advertising, furniture and works of art dated from the beginning of the 20th century from his homeland.

Karl Lagerfeld
Set of four scrapbooks with fashion sketches, circa 2000 | Ensemble de quatre carnets de croquis de mode, vers 2000

It is Lagerfeld’s homes, and the personal touches throughout the sale that remind us of the man behind the image: sketches that show him as an artist at work with drawings not only for shoes and fashion designs, but of his partner of almost 20 years, Jacques de Bascher. They are joined by scrapbooks of photos and cuttings assembled by Lagerfeld himself, and artworks by one of his great inspirations, the early 20th century celebrated French illustrator and fashion designer, Georges Lepape. Embroidered cushions read «Ici, c’est la place du chat», reserving a seat for his famous cat Choupette, and monogrammed personal items adorn his desk and dressing table.

To the world however, Karl Lagerfeld was best known for cultivating an image so recognisable that it achieved cult status, and was reproduced again and again through paintings, drawings, sculptures, and even dolls in the shape of his famous silhouette, many of which are included in the collection.

Saint Laurent Paris, Velvet Tuxedo Jacket, 2016 | Saint Laurent Paris veste de smoking, 2016

Lagerfeld’s signature uniform was always a contemporary sleek black suit, dark sunglasses, and fingerless leather gloves, matched with an 19th-century-style oversized collar, tie pins, handheld fans, and a powdered white ponytail. And, the sales open the door to this most famous wardrobe, notably jackets from the luxury Parisian fashion houses – Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior to Maison Martin Margiela – as well as a globally diverse group of designers, notably from Japan, represented by Comme des Garçons. Many are in Lagerfeld’s signature colour: black, but others are in fabrics with snakeskin and leopard print designs, or with stripes, embroidery and studs. As for his diverse repertoire of fingerless gloves, the sale includes a kaleidoscope of colours and designs, in pink, red, silver, bronze, studs, stripes, chain mail.

CHANEL
Black Embossed Lambskin Tote Silver Hardware, circa 2010 

Despite Lagerfeld’s designated role as the «channeler of Coco», Karl Lagerfeld rarely wore Chanel himself, once insisting that «In CHANEL, I look like my mother». Nonetheless a handful of Chanel items are represented in the sale. Most unique is the black shoulder bag that he took with him everywhere. The style was never released in CHANEL boutiques or even worn on the runway. Its exact design never materialised beyond the prototype style in Karl Lagerfeld’s personal collection, making it an item as mysterious as the owner himself.

You can visit the exhibition in Paris
11 December | 10:00 AM–3:00 PM
12 December | 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
13 December | 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
14 December | 10:00 AM–1:00 PM

Location:
76, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75008 Paris

Karl Lagerfeld’s villa in Louveciennes

Sotheby’s Cologne will present another auction dedicated to the estate of the Hamburg-born Karl Lagerfeld in spring of next year, comprising an exquisite selection of objects from his last residence in Louveciennes, spanning various epochs and styles, but with a special focus on early 20th German art. The sale will star pieces from 1920s Germany by the architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul, as well the pinnacle of German commercial art from the beginning of the 20th century – rare collectible posters – that Lagerfeld collected for thirty years, and are likely to be particularly sought after in the auction. Highlights can be viewed in the prestigious space of Palais Oppenheim in Cologne in advance of the auction.

The auction of Karl Lagerfeld’s Estate is an insight into the world of this discerning and insatiable collector. Revealing the story of the couturier, the collector, the designer and the photographer – the true legend that Lagerfeld was.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Sotheby’s, Karl Lagerfeld and © Sandra Bauknecht

Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2021

Named «The Celestial Snow Globe», Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2021, has been created by Kim Jones, Artistic Director of the Dior men’s collections. This unique, contemporary tree – luminous and crystalline in its transparency and purity – tells a Christmas story woven from emotions and dreams.

Evoking the idea of a magnificent snow globe, this year’s dazzling tree is an enchanting object of desire, illuminated with magical sparkles and reflecting snowflakes, travelling across the surface. State-of-the-art holographic projections are mixed with toile, recalling the emblematic toile of the Dior Haute Couture Ateliers, while traditional pleating techniques are also highlighted, a tribute by Kim Jones to the excellence of the Dior Ateliers «petites mains». These projections radiate from the base, upwards and beyond the tree, creating magical visuals around the space and up the famous staircase, all set against an atmospherically lit lobby.

«It has been a great honour for me to have designed the Christmas Tree for Claridge’s and thus brought Dior, London and the Christmas spirit together in this iconic place.» – Kim Jones

In another nod to the House’s heritage, the Christmas baubles, that seem to float in orbit around the tree, reflect Dior’s iconic motifs. These include, stars – Monsieur Dior’s celestial good-luck charm – and miniature perfume bottles in the form of Monsieur Dior’s dog, Bobby, who was symbolically reinterpreted and celebrated by Kim Jones for his first Dior show.

This whimsical homage to the House’s founder continues with Kim Jones’s faithful canine companion, Cookie, perched on top of the 6.5 meter tree, delicately hugging Monsieur Dior’s lucky star. The star echoes the shape of the talisman that Monsieur Dior treasured in his office – a decisive sign of his destiny that played a key role in his decision to create his couture house in 1946.

So beautiful and different… and by the way, I could totally see Kim Jones becoming the new Artistic Director of CHANEL. Lagerfeld started at Fendi, too. Just saying…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Claridge’s