Rest in Peace Karl Lagerfeld

Today is a very sad day for the world of fashion and also for myself. Karl Lagerfeld died in Paris at the age of 85. When I heard the news a few hours ago, I literally cried my eyes out.

«Trendy is the last stage before tacky.» – Karl Lagerfeld

For me Lagerfeld was a genius, without him the world of fashion would not be the same. He created collections simultaneously for CHANEL and FENDI (since 1965!), in addition to his signature label, at a pace without rival in the luxury industry. When I started looking at fashion magazines in the middle of the ’80s, he had just begun designing for CHANEL. Before that he had worked at BALMAIN, JEAN PATOU and CHLOÉ where he became successful with his feminine flowing party dresses, the latter he returned to once more in the ’90s before handing the reigns to Stella McCartney.

With Karl Lagerfeld in December 2014 in Salzburg.

When I turned 18, I wished for nothing else than a CHANEL costume. Whenever I met him or interviewed him, he impressed me by his intelligence, wittiness (I attached some of my favorite quotes in this post) and his way of working, which actually was very German. Just get the job done!

I asked him once how he seeks inspiration, he looked at me and said: «Forget inspiration, you sit down every day at your desk and work, half of the outcome is for the trash bin but the other half will work.» Another time, I wanted to know when he goes on holidays and he answered: «Holidays are only for employees.»

«If you are cheap. Nothing helps.» – Karl Lagerfeld

A shoot we did during my time at Marie Claire magazine with Barbara and Boris Becker photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, March 1999.

But my favorite story happened almost 20 years ago when I started my first job at Marie Claire magazine in Germany. My fashion director Florentine Pabst at that time was very close to Karl (and by the way also Jim Morrison‘s last girlfriend) It was probably my first week at the office and she explained to me that during her meeting her phone calls would be transferred to my phone. And most importantly if Karl called, I should let him know, that she will get back to him. I said: «Karl, who? The Karl?!» She smiled and replied: «Of course.»

«Sweatpants are a sign of defeat.» – Karl Lagerfeld

I didn’t leave my desk waiting eagerly for him to call. When he did, I gave him the message. The conversation was probably not longer than 30 seconds but I sat down at my desk with the biggest smile. My boss came back and asked me what happened. I grinned and said: «I am the happiest girl in the world. I just spoke to Karl Lagerfeld.» She laughed.

After half an hour, my phone rang again. It was my fashion director telling me somebody wanted to talk to me. It was no other than Karl Lagerfeld telling me: «I heard you enjoyed talking to me so much, so I thought I give you another call.» And this is how my love story started…

Another epic moment with Karl Lagerfeld in St Moritz in February 2013 at the opening of Fire Etchings at Galerie Gmurzynska.

«I think tattoos are horrible – it’s like living in a Pucci dress full-time.» – Karl Lagerfeld

 There is so much you could talk when you think of Karl Lagerfeld. He discovered Claudia Schiffer, was such a talented photographer himself and his ultimate success with CHANEL made the house one of the most important and prolific today. Thanks to Lagerfeld, the company also acquired many specialized French craft ateliers, like Lesage for embroidery, Lemarié for feathers and artificial flowers, Maison Michel for millinery, and Causse for glove making. This craftsmanship  was celebrated with lavish Métiers d’Art fashion shows as Paris – Bombay or Paris – Salzburg for example. The famous cruise collections took place in far destinations such as Dubai or Havana, Cuba, showing Lagerfeld’s way to making CHANEL even more prominent and desirable around the world.

Eric Pfrunder, Virginie Viard and Karl Lagerfeld

This January, Lagerfeld didn’t come to his Haute Couture presentation in Paris which was already a sign that the designer was not feeling well. Instead of him, Virginie Viard, the creative studio director, took the applause. It is more than likely that she will succeed Lagerfeld as CHANEL’s designer, supported by Eric Pfrunder, the house’s director of image.

«I am very much down to earth, just not this earth.» – Karl Lagerfeld

I could go on and on and will surely share with you more about my most magical moments I had with him. Rest in Peace Karl Lagerfeld –  your legend will live on, and not only in my closet!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld and © Sandra Bauknecht

Les Exclusifs de CHANEL 1957

LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL

Is it a year? An address? Two numbers combined? 1957 is all those things as well as the link between CHANEL and the United States.
A continent enamored with Gabrielle Chanel, captivated by her creations since her debut in 1912 and then by the personality of a free and independent woman who owed her success to no one other than herself. The fascination was mutual: Mademoiselle Chanel was drawn to America by her family’s past and dreams of her beloved father who set sail for the New World. Her desire to also live this dream and achieve lasting fame became a reality: «I admire and love America,» she confided to Paul Morand, «it’s where I made my fortune» (1). And it is also where she was hailed as the most influential designer of the 20th century in 1957.

Taking in Texas: Chanel and Marcus during the Marcus Western party outside Dallas on September 7th 1957 (this trip inspired Lagerfeld later for the Paris – Dallas Metiers d’Art show).

I ADMIRE AND LOVE AMERICA

The love story between CHANEL and America began with fashion. The young milliner’s hats were distributed in New York department stores, and the press raved about her avant-garde style: Women’s Wear Daily predicted a great future for the famous sweaters created in Deauville from the moment they appeared in 1914 (2) and CHANEL designs flourished in the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair each season.

Coco Chanel for N°5, its first campaign as featured in Harper’s Bazaar in 1937.

And then there was fragrance, of course. France discovered the fragrance N°5 in 1921, and the Americans fell in love with it three years later in 1924, the same year the first makeup collection was launched. «Americans buy all things luxurious, and the greatest luxury is fragrance»: Gabrielle Chanel’s intuition was once again right.
In 1928, Vogue US slipped into the beauty salon of the Jay Thorpe department store and met the hostess trained in Paris by CHANEL, who, in addition to performing treatments with CHANEL skincare products, also guided women in their choice of fragrance, «one of the most difficult things in the world when you have tried three or four» (3).
In 1934, advertising campaigns for fragrances in American magazines began introducing Americans to new scents, unprecedented in their conception – N°5 was the first luxury fragrance to use aldehydes – and revolutionary by their rich and floral olfactory composition.

Illustrator unknown, via Vogue, October 1926

The name CHANEL was on all lips, and its style worn by all women. The iconic little black dress was celebrated by Vogue US in October 1926. By referring to the Chanel design as the «Ford dress», in reference to the Ford T automobile which had been a best-seller since 1908, the magazine ushered the little black dress into fashion history. On Broadway, actresses Katharine Cornell and Gertrude Lawrence took to the stage dressed in CHANEL. Hollywood also clamored for Gabrielle Chanel, who travelled to Los Angeles at the request of Samuel Goldwyn in 1931 to dress the actresses of MGM Studies, including Gloria Swanson, who became one of her friends.

Coco Chanel during a working visit to Los Angeles, in 1931.
Photo: © 1931 Los Angeles Times; Digital Colorization by Lee Ruelle / via Vanity Fair.

Delighted to finally discover the United States, the creator first stopped in New York with Misia Sert, where she was welcomed with great pomp. And, on their way back from California, the two friends visited Chicago and San Francisco before returning to New York. The trip lasted one month, and the American press took advantage of the opportunity to try to uncover the secrets of Gabrielle Chanel, the unstoppable businesswoman ahead of her time. From the New York Times to the New York Herald Tribune, not to mention The New Yorker, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Coco was everywhere and gave countless interviews from her suite at the Pierre Hotel. Each one of her outfits was observed in detail, her pearl necklaces and style drawing much admiration. From then on, in America, CHANEL incarnated French elegance and was synonymous with the fashion to be followed at all costs. At the end of her trip, an article in the June 1931 issue of Vanity Fair praised the designer in their “«We nominate for the Hall of Fame» feature: «Gabrielle Chanel was the first to apply the principles of modernism to dressmaking; because she numbers among her friends the most famous men of France; because she combines a shrewd business sense with enormous personal prodigality and a genuine enthusiasm for arts; and finally because she came to America to make a laudable attempt to introduce chic to Hollywood». The 1939 New York World Fair only confirmed the infatuation: the CHANEL showcases, in crystal and with sculpted heads, presenting objects and accessories that evoked the personality of Mademoiselle Chanel, were among the most admired by 44 million visitors.

CHANEL at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for the New York World’s Fair. (1939)

Although she travelled to the United States with her friends or photographers like Horst P. Horst, Gabrielle Chanel made her big comeback in 1957. Three years earlier, Mademoiselle Chanel had returned to the world of fashion with a collection that ran totally counter to the style of the time. While Paris gave her the cold shoulder, America heaped her with even more praise. Life magazine gave her an ovation: «At 71, Gabrielle Chanel is creating more than fashion: a revolution» (4). Truman Capote himself referred to her as a «fashion visionary». But how could the land where anything was possible forget when in 1952 Marilyn Monroe made N°5 immortal by declaring she wore nothing but a few drops of the fragrance to bed?

Marilyn Monroe and her Chanel N°5 in 1952

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL DESIGNER OF THE 20TH CENTURY

And so 1957. That year, Stanley Marcus organized the first Neiman Marcus Fortnight in Dallas to celebrate the department store’s fiftieth anniversary. Three hundred fashion designers were invited, but only one was welcomed like a star: after arriving by the first foreign aircraft ever to land at the Dallas Love Field airport, Gabrielle Chanel climbed into the only white Rolls Royce in the procession, exclusively reserved for her. Her destination ? The podium on which she was to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, thereby declaring her the most influential designer of the 20th century. At her side was Suzy Parker, the first true top model in fashion history. In 1959, the beautiful American star became the face of N°5 featured in a campaign by Richard Avedon, followed by actresses Candice Bergen and Ali McGraw, in 1965 and 1966.

Coco Chanel and Suzy Parker, 1962

The love affair between CHANEL and America grew even stronger through the art world: in 1959, the New York Museum of Modern Art exhibited the packaging of the fragrance bottle as an example of minimalist elegance, which was later reinterpreted by Andy Warhol. The Broadway musical Coco paid tribute to Gabrielle Chanel in 1969 with a run of 300 performances starring Katharine Hepburn in the role of the designer.

«Coco» was Katherine Hepburn’s only musical on Broadway (1969).

A unique, bold and passionate rebel at heart who let nothing stand in her way, an independent, hardworking woman driven by an innate desire for success, Gabrielle Chanel became America’s adopted daughter. A daughter to whom the country paid homage on January 10, 1971: having followed and championed her from the start, the New York Times devoted three front-page columns to her «incalculable» influence on fashion and its evolution (5). Still today, history has proven her right.

The pearl sculpture, designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel, extends down a central staircase within the newly opened CHANEL store on 57th street in New York City. 

A SKIN SCENT

Alongside the reopening of the New York boutique on 57th street, CHANEL is celebrating 1957 with a new eau de parfum in the LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL collection. 1957: the year of Gabrielle Chanel’s consecration in America, but also 19, like the day of her birth, and 57, like the street number of the biggest CHANEL store in the United States. A creation that builds an olfactory bridge between France and America, joined by that iconic style. A timeless style, the CHANEL style.

«Her special style is compounded from three ingredients: girlishness, comfort, and a generous helping of pearls. In a country where emphasis is on youth and free and easy living, her designs were bound to succeed». With this definition of the CHANEL allure, the New York Times said it all (6). A modern, avant-garde style that gave women freedom to move. An eternally young and modern allure that broke with the codes of the time and shifted the conventions of chic. An art of living with a simplicity that hides a painstakingly crafted complexity, steeped with a luxury that has no need to flaunt or justify itself.

The third LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL creation composed by perfumer-creator Olivier Polge, in cooperation with the CHANEL Laboratory of Fragrance Creation and Development, 1957 illustrates the mystery of the deceptively simple CHANEL style. A balance of creamy softness, enveloping comfort, and light perfused with discreet power. A fragrance one adopts like a clean skin scent that becomes unique and deeply personal on each wearer. «For each fragrance in the LES EXCLUSIFS DE CHANEL collection, we explore a path we have never taken», explains Olivier Polge. «This time, I opted to work with musk, more specifically white musks. Their whiteness hides a great complexity: enveloping, they emit a more or less pronounced light, and vary in their soft and sensual effects. 1957 is a skin scent that, more than others, is revealed fully on the unique chemistry of each person’s skin».

A BALANCE OF CREAMY SOFTNESS, ENVELOPING COMFORT, AND LIGHT PERFUSED WITH DISCREET POWER

An assembly of eight white musks, 1957 is structured like a layered composition of transparent, translucent and opaque veils. An immaculate superposition, comfortable and enveloping, soft, almost cushion-like. One can imagine one of Gabrielle Chanel’s beloved pearls, its delicate contours rendered imperceptible by the changing reflections: the matte whiteness of certain musks blends into the iridescent pearl of others. In this interplay of depths, woody, honeyed, spicy and floral vibrations create a luminous, powerful and sensual prominence. Vanilla and honey notes thus slip into the white musks, some with a hint of cedar, others with pink pepper, coriander seed or orange blossom. The faux simplicity of whiteness is revealed and magnified… The precision of an expertly crafted and yet abstract trail, free to enhance the skin by diffusing a distinctive and singular scent.

Coco Chanel presenting her collection in 1957, the year of her comeback.

«1957 also conjures up a certain idea of America», according to Olivier Polge. «An idea that the country has of fragrance and particularly with respect to CHANEL and N°5, which has become a model of olfactory inspiration, even for hairsprays and soaps. But also a concept that the United States introduced: what is referred to as a «sent-bon», (7) a word that speaks to me especially because it was so dear to Gabrielle Chanel. 1957 is a link: it reinterprets American perfumery with the idea the USA has had about French fragrance since N°5 paved the way». The essence of CHANEL is reunited in its trail, filled with comfort and natural elegance, a presence within a chic, refined, personal and unforgettable discretion.

1957 Eau de Parfum Vaporisateur 75 ml CHF 230.-
1957 Eau de Parfum Vaporisateur 200 ml CHF 410.-

LoL, Sandra

Photos if not stated otherwise: © CHANEL

(1) Paul Morand, The Allure of Chanel, ed. Hermann, 1996, p.183.
(2) WWD, July 27, 1914.
(3) Vogue US, September 29, 1928.
(4) Justine Picardie, CHANEL sa vie, Steidl, 2010, p.330.
(5) The New York Times, January 11, 1971.
(6) Linda Simon, Coco Chanel, Reaktion books, Critical Lives collection, London, 2011 p.157.
(7) A pleasant smell.

Trending F/W 2018: White Ankle Boots

This F/W 2018 season, ankle boots in white are a must! Originally introduced as a low-heeled, mid-calf go-go boot by designer André Courrèges in 1964, and later called the Courrèges boot, it also became famous through the song «These Boots Are Made for Walkin’» in 1966 when Nancy Sinatra performed in a white go-go model, and got credited with further popularising the boot.

Nancy Sinatra wearing the go-go boots in the ’60s.

This season, designers reworked the footwear item of the season by injecting it with allure, a pointed toe, and leg-lengthening thin heels. Style them with monochrome separates for a modern office look.

Here are the best ones available for F/W 2018:

Lace-up leather ankle boots by Miu Miu
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Bow-embellished leather ankle boots by Miu Miu
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Folded cuff leather ankle boots by Givenchy


Banner patent-leather ankle boots by Paul Andrew
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iconTalon Slash leather ankle boots by Balenciaga

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Levy 55 leather ankle boots by Gianvito Rossi

Vania 85 leather ankle boots by Gianvito Rossi
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Fausto leather ankle boots by Jennifer Chamandi


iconEmmet lace-up leather ankle boots by Tabitha Simmons

Millen lace-up leather ankle boots by Alexandre Birman

Palace ruffled leather ankle boots by Aquazzura

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Brands and via Getty
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The Sidonie by Prada – Nineties Nostalgia

For Resort 2019 Miuccia Prada helped to give us the 90’s rebirth we needed after all this ’80s dominance. And let’s be honest, it had to be her to celebrate this nineties nostalgia as she was the designer who had actually invented the «ugly chic» at that time. She looked through the archives, specifically her collections from the 1990s, for references this season.

The PRADA Resort 2019 show took place in New York City.

The outcome? Printed low-slung trousers with matching jackets, amazing leather coats and my favorite looks, belted miniskirts with ruffled detailing combined with cute polo tops. Moreover a new bag shape, that will probably sell out very fast.

Sidonie Bag Resort 2019

Meet the PRADA Sidonie that evokes elements of the archetypal bags presented in S/S 2000: a curvaceous, ergonomic shape, a modern classic rediscovered.

The inspiration behind the new PRADA Resort 2019 Sidonie Bag can be clearly seen in this ad campaign from S/S 2000.

Sidonie Bag Resort 2019

PRADA bags from S/S 2000 that I have in my closet.

A PRADA bag is always a great investment. I went through my closet to dust these S/S 2000 beauties. As I keep on recommending… don’t throw away your designer items, there will always be a time again for them. And those bags have just found their moment again.

Needless to say, I also would like to buy a new Sidonie bag for my own personal PRADA collection. I adore this blue and black version:

Sidonie Bag Resort 2019

The metal hardware details – plaques and buckles – draw on the brand heritage of superlative luggage-making, established by Mario Prada in 1913, juxtaposed with a modern shape, delicately curved and finely-balanced.

Sidonie Bag Resort 2019

The style is proposed in dual models, top-fastening or flap fronted with, respectively, a cross-body strap or haut, curved and shaped handle to be held on the shoulder for a new attitude. Both are offered in an entire wardrobe of fine calfskin and precious leathers.


PRADA Sidonie is a new character of the brand, a heroine, to be discovered. In stores this month.

’90s nostalgia with a modern twist! Bravo, Miuccia Prada!

LoL, Sandra

The PRADA Resort 2019 campaign: retro meets future.

Photos: Courtesy of Prada and © Sandra Bauknecht

Louis Vuitton Catwalk

LOUIS VUITTON CATWALKThe Complete Fashion Collections is the first comprehensive overview of Louis Vuitton’s collections, from their debut in 1998 to today, presented through original runway images.

Louis Vuitton S/S 2003 – Marc Jacobs (Bags in collaboration with Takashi Murakami)

Founded in 1854, Louis Vuitton launched its first fashion collection in 1998. Unprecedented global fame ensued, as did pioneering high-profile collaborations with artists such as Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, and Stephen Sprouse. Louis Vuitton Catwalk records the hugely influential collections designed by artistic directors Marc Jacobs (1998–2013) and Nicolas Ghesquière, who helms the House today. Every ready-to-wear collection is represented from the arrival of Ghesquière onwards.

Louis Vuitton S/S 2012 – Marc Jacobs

Louis Vuitton Catwalk is completed with an introduction by Jo Ellison and designer profiles and collection texts by Louise Rytter.

Louis Vuitton S/S 2013 – Marc Jacobs

With over 1,350 images, this treasure trove of inspiration will be the musthave reference for all fashion professionals and Louis Vuitton fans.

Launch in store, worldwide, in July 2018.

LoL, Sandra

Louis Vuitton Resort 2017 in Rio de Janeiro – Nicolas Ghesquière

Louis Vuitton Resort 2018 in Japan – Nicolas Ghesquière

Photos: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Tribute to Christian Lacroix from Arles

While visiting Arles yesterday, I passed by a Christian Lacroix store (photo at the end of this post) which immediately caught my eye as I had completely forgotten about the fashion house after it had been sold by LVMH to duty-free retailer Falic Fashion Group in 2005.

Visiting Arles yesterday – an inspiration for today’s post.

I had been a big fan of flamboyant Lacroix’s designs and even got married in one of his couture dresses. Personally speaking, when Christian opened his Maison, I started actively being interested in fashion and his creations inspired me a lot of what I do today.

The story of Christian Lacroix

Christian Lacroix was born in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône in Southern France. At a young age he began already sketching historical costumes and fashions. In April 1987, his dream came true and he founded his own fashion house in a private mansion at 73 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in the heart of Paris. The House of Christian Lacroix was created by the Arlesian couturier and press agent Jean-Jacques Picart, with support from Bernard Arnault. Word quickly spread throughout Paris and Christian Lacroix’s name was on everyone’s lips.

A look from Lacroix’s F/W 1987 haute couture collection.

The following 26 July, Christian Lacroix unveiled his first Haute Couture collection for F/W 1987. This first collection was a radiant, opulent, virtuosic homage to the couturier’s roots; each look was infused with Mediterranean influences. The designer revisited traditional Arlesian outfits, drawing inspiration from the toreador’s cape. He highlighted southern France’s beauty, from the Camargue to Provence, in this 60-piece collection.

This first flamboyant fashion show was wildly successful, blowing the dust off the subdued world of 1980s high fashion and turning Parisian fashion of the day on its head. It was a departure from the minimalistic look of the influential Japanese designers en vogue at that time.

Christian Lacroix F/W 2004 Haute Couture collection

At a time when fashion was focused on simplicity, Christian Lacroix chose exuberance. When black became the standard, he opted for blood red, fuchsia pink and bright yellow.

With each new collection, Christian Lacroix designed pieces that combined unusual materials and colours, adorning looks with luxurious baroque touches. He brought back touches of folklore, history and theatre, infusing them with elegance and sophistication.

Very «Like a Prayer»: Anna Wintour chose for her first Vogue cover a Christian Lacroix couture jacket combined with a pair of jeans. It was photographed by Peter Lindbergh and  featured Israeli Model Michaela Bercu – US Vogue Nov 1988

Anna Wintour chose a Christian Lacroix Haute Couture jacket with a simple pair of jeans for her first American Vogue cover, photographed by Peter Lindberg in 1988. This look broke all the high fashion rules, pushing it into a younger and more liberated future.

After a spectacular debut, the Lacroix phenomenon spread as if propelled by the Mistral wind, and was soon featured prominently in all the most prestigious fashion magazines around the world.

Shalom Harlow in Christian Lacroix Haute Couture photographed by Bruce Weber for Vogue US, March 1995.

Throughout the 1990s, the brand continued to grow, diversifying its portfolio with household linen, tableware and more. This diversification continued to pick up speed in the following decade.

Between 2002-2005, Lacroix served also as the Creative Director for the Italian fashion house Emilio Pucci. He left on agreeable terms as he and the house believed that since he had other pursuits, it would be unfair to the house to not put in the energy required for future collections along with his other work.

Ad Campaign F/W 1997 featuring Karen Elson photographed by Paolo Roversi

In 2005, LVMH sold the House to its current owners, the Falic family, giving it new momentum as it explored other niches while continuing the House’s previous activities. In 2009, the fashion house put the business into administration and laid off all but 12 workers. Lacroix’s F/W 2009 Haute Couture was privately financed by Lacroix and each model was paid €50.

Final finale: Christian Lacroix and Vlada Roslyakova – Haute Couture F/W 2009

As Vogue editor Sarah Mower wrote: «It was one of the most poignant and emotionally fraught haute couture shows ever: a collection produced on a shoestring at the last minute, and only made possible by the collective will and donated time and skills of the seamstresses, embroiderers, jewelers, milliners, and shoemakers loyal to Christian Lacroix

«I didn’t want to cry,» said Lacroix «I want to continue, maybe in a different way, with a small atelier. What I really care about is the women who do this.» Lacroix said about his last Haute Couture collection. Throughout its history, the house never turned a profit and reported a €10 million loss in 2008.

When Christian Lacroix left his position as the House’s Artistic Director in late 2009, Sacha Walckhoff, who had worked at the House since 1992, was named Creative Director. Sacha continued the House’s transformation alongside President Nicolas Topiol, extending the creative focus to decoration and lifestyle collections.

Lacroix in 2018: Designing for Desigual

Lacroix, himself, started collaborating in 2011 with the Barcelona-based clothing brand Desigual. This year, he will launch 5 mini collections for the house.

Lacroix x Nymphenburg

He also collaborated with Nymphenburg for a limited edition collection of design objects.

Interior design by Christian Lacroix: Hotel Le Bellechasse in Paris 

Moreover, Christian Lacroix has completed interior design work at several landmark hotels, including the Hotel Le Petit Moulin in Spring, 2005; the Hotel Bellechasse, right in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris), in 2007 (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World); and in 2010 Le Notre Dame hotel just a step from the cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Paris.

The newest hotel design project by Lacroix: Julius Caesar in Arles.

In 2014, formerly a 17th century Carmelite Convent, Julius Caesar in Arles opened its doors as a boutique hotel featuring décor designed by Christian Lacroix.

The Christian Lacroix store in Arles.

Lacroix without Lacroix… the House’s Studio still produces collections in men’s fashion, accessories (scarves, sunglasses, handbags, jewellery, watches and mobile phone accessories) and lifestyle (fabrics, wallpapers, cushions, rugs, tableware, candles and stationery). But unfortunately no women’s fashion… but to be honest that is also hard to imagine without Lacroix being there himself!

Lacroix, Sweetie, Lacroix! Your are a genius…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Christian Lacroix, via Vogue and © Sandra Bauknecht

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

“There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much. I love English traditions, English politeness, English architecture. I even love English cooking.”
Christian Dior

 In February 2019, the V&A will open the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior – the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. Spanning 1947 to the present day, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him, to explore the enduring influence of the fashion house. 

Christian Dior with model Sylvie, circa 1948. Courtesy of Christian Dior.

Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the exhibition will be reimagined for the V&A. A brand-new section will, for the first time, explore the designer’s fascination with British culture. Dior admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary. He also had a preference for Savile Row suits. In 1947, he hosted his first UK fashion show at London’s Savoy Hotel, and in 1952 established Christian Dior London.

Princess Margaret (left), with the Duchess of Marlborough behind, presents Christian Dior with a scroll entitling him to Honorary Life Membership of the British Red Cross
© Popperphoto, Getty Images

This exhibition will investigate Dior’s creative collaborations with influential British manufacturers, and his most notable British clients, from author Nancy Mitford to ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, generously on loan from the Museum of London. It will also bring to life Dior’s spectacular fashion shows staged in the UK’s most luxurious stately homes, including Blenheim Palace in 1954. 

Left: Sketch by Christian Dior for model Londres, F/W 1950 Haute Couture collection.
Right: Sketch by Christian Dior for model Oxford, S/S 1947 Haute Couture collection.
© Christian Dior.

Drawn from the extensive Dior Archives, the exhibition will also showcase highlights from the V&A’s world-class Couture collections, including the iconic Bar Suit, gifted to the museum by the House of Dior in 1960. The exhibition will present over 500 objects, with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions. 

Diorling perfume, 1963. Photo © Laziz Hamani

The exhibition will highlight Dior’s vision of femininity, encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture House 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. 

Yves Saint Laurent in front of Christian Dior London, 11th November 1958.
© Popperfoto, Getty Images

From horticulture to global travel and 18th century decorative arts, the show will reveal the sources of inspiration that defined the House of Dior’s aesthetic. From the daring designs of Yves Saint Laurent to the rational style of Marc Bohan, the flamboyance of Gianfranco Ferré, the exuberance of John Galliano, the minimalism of Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s feminist vision of fashion, the exhibition will show how each successive artistic director has stayed true to Dior’s vision of Haute Couture, while bringing their own creative sensibilities to the House. 

Soirée de décembre evening dress, F/W 1954 Haute Couture collection, H line. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Gift of Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Photo © Laziz Hamani

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and COO of the V&A, said: “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams celebrates one of the most ingenious and iconic designers in fashion history. Reimagining this hugely popular exhibition from Paris – as the largest fashion exhibition the V&A has undertaken since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – will shed new light on Dior’s fascination with Britain. The V&A holds one of the largest and most important fashion collections in the world, and we are delighted to be able to reveal highlights from our outstanding collection alongside those from the remarkable archive of the House of Dior, for this spectacular exhibition.” 

Oriole Cullen, Fashion and Textiles Curator at the V&A, said: “In 1947, Christian Dior changed the face of fashion with his ‘New Look’, which redefined the female silhouette and reinvigorated the post-War Parisian fashion industry. The V&A recognised Dior’s important contribution to design history early-on in his career, acquiring his sketches and garments from the 1950s onwards. The influence of Christian Dior’s design was all-pervasive and helped to define an era. In their own individual ways, each of the House’s successive artistic directors have referenced and reinterpreted Dior’s own designs and continued the legacy of the founder, ensuring that the House of Christian Dior is at the forefront of fashion today. More than seventy years after its founding, the V&A’s exhibition will celebrate the enduring influence of the House of Dior and uncover Dior’s relationship with Britain.” 

Écarlate afternoon dress, F/W 1955 Haute Couture collection, Y line. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo © Laziz Hamani

The exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from 2 February – 14 July 2019. Tickets will go on sale in Fall 2018 and will be available soon here.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Dior

Bottega Veneta Has a New Designer

This week, Kering announced that Tomas Maier, who has been creative director of Bottega Veneta since 2001, is leaving the Italian brand.

Tomas Maier with Lauren Hutton

The reason? Kering has been dissatisfied for quite some time as Bottega Veneta’s sales have struggled and younger consumers are not interested enough in the brand that focuses extremely on craftsmanship. Compared to another label of the luxury conglomerate, Gucci, Bottega Veneta has been all about understated luxury and still lives up to its motto from the 1970s: «When Your Own Initials Are Enough.»

On the S/S 2017 runway: Gigi Hadid arm in arm with Lauren Hutton

Lately, Tomas Maier made headlines with the model casting for his S/S 2017 runway show. He sent out 73-year-old Lauren Hutton together with 21-year-old Gigi Hadid, confirming that beauty has no age. The same year, the brand reissued the iconic intrecciato clutch worn by Hutton in the 1980 film American Gigolo.

Lauren Hutton carries a Bottega Veneta clutch in American Gigolo.

Reissued: Lauren 1980 intrecciato leather clutch by Bottega Veneta
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In a statement, Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, thanked Tomas for his work in the past 17 years: «It is largely due to Tomas’ high-level creative demands that Bottega Veneta became the house it is today. He put it back on the luxury scene and made it an undisputed reference. With his creative vision, he magnificently showcased the expertise of the house’s artisansI am deeply grateful to him and I personally thank him for the work he accomplished, and for the exceptional success he helped to achieve.»

The new creative director has already been named. It is former Céline director of ready-to-wear, Daniel Lee. Until now, Lee has maintained a low profile at a number of historic design houses. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2011, worked at Maison Margiela and Balenciaga, before heading to Céline under Phoebe Philo.

I think that is an interesting choice. Kering has a track record of hiring lesser-known designers to top houses, which worked amazingly in the case of Alessandro Michele and Gucci.

TO SHOP BOTTEGA VENETA ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta, via Grazia Magazine

Kate Spade Dead at 55

Yesterday’s news really got me and my outfit post from Le Dîner en Blanc has to wait another day… Around 10am New York time, fashion designer KATE SPADEicon, 55, was found dead by a housekeeper in her bedroom at her Park Avenue apartment in N.Y.C. Apparently she hang herself with a red scarf from a doorknob. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to The New York Times.

The Spade family

What really gives me chills is the fact that she is survived by her husband of 24 years and her 13-year-old daughter. Being a mum myself, I cannot imagine the pain that has to be inside you to do this to your family. It is said that she left a note behind with messages for them to explain her actions. Her husband Andy was at home while their daughter was in school.

Message on the Kate Spade website 

KATE SPADEicon‘s story is a successful one at least when you read it. Neé Katherine Noel Brosnahan, founded her namesake brand in 1993 with husband Andy Spade after working in the accessories department at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle. While having dinner at a restaurant, both were identifying a market for quality stylish handbags which led to a fashion revolution in the 1990s by establishing one of the first modern accessories brands that did not rely on European roots.

Detachable tag tote by Kate Spade

Spade’s reasonably priced, box-shaped bags, covered in modest fabrics like microfiber and grosgrain, became quickly became popular, and the company expanded into other product lines, such as clothing and shoes.

Kate Spade amongst her handbags in 1999.

In 1999 she sold a 56% stake in KATE SPADE New York to Neiman Marcus Group; in 2006 she sold the rest of her shares, opting to focus on family over fashion as she had her daughter at quite a late age in 2005. «I needed a break and I really wanted to raise my daughter,» she told PEOPLE magazine in 2016. «People asked me, ‘Don’t you miss it?’ I really didn’t. I mean, I loved what I was doing, but I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I might

Pieces from Kate’s new label Frances Valentine 

Two years ago, she began another accessories brand, Frances Valentine, named for her daughter, Frances Beatrix, together with her husband. For this reason, she legally changed her name to Kate Valentine Spade to match her new label. «I thought it was important to distinguish who I am now,» she said. «I’m the same person, but there’s a difference.»

The difference might have killed her. R.I.P. Kate Spade! I am wishing the family a lot of strength to cope with this terrible strategy.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Kate Spade, © Sandra Bauknecht, Getty and People magazine

Fashion and the Catholic Imagination

Last night, fashion’s most anticipated yearly event (yes, hotter than the Oscar’s), the MET GALA, offered a breathtaking red carpet that I will tell you all about today. It always takes place on the first Monday in May. But if you’re not an industry expert, you might be wondering why on earth there should be so much hype about it. First of all, Anna Wintour is hosting the night along some well-known co-hosts, which are all much-worshiped by the paparazzi: Amal Clooney, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace. But there is more… many stars, models and fashion designers attend the night in showstopping outfits worthy of unforgettable photos.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, right, designer Donatella Versace, left, and Vogue US Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour  in Rome last February.

It is a huge night for fashion fundraising as it is dedicated to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute – formally named The Anna Wintour Costume Center, in homage to the American Vogue’s editor-in-chief, who has been a chair member of the museum’s gala since 1995. It also celebrates the opening of the newest exhibition of which its theme sets the tone for the event and invitees have to dress accordingly. Personally speaking, I find this year’s motto extremely interesting, instead of being dedicated to the work of one designer, it is inspired by the dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art: «Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination».

In Anna’s recent «Letter of the Editor» in the May 2018 edition of US Vogue, she writes: «The exhibition itself has been years in the making, and it will be not only the largest Costume Institue show to date but the biggest show ever at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s hard to not sound hyperbolic about it, but it is going to be an absolutely magnificent experience – spanning some 26 galleries and including work from the likes of Valentino, Gaultier, and Dolce & Gabbana along with more than 40 extraordinarily opulent liturgical garments and accessories on loan from the Vatican.

For curator Andrew Bolton, it required endless hours of patience dealing with the Vatican, given the labyrinthine way that it operates.»

Central to the conversation will be the papal garb on loan from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican, even in the 1983 Met blockbuster, «The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art».

An enduring influence of religion on fashion: for F/W 2010, church elements played a huge role on the catwalks. Have a look at this previous post: The Nun’s Story.

The display of these extraordinary ecclesiastical pieces will highlight the enduring influence of religion and liturgical vestments on fashion. Among the 150 or so ensembles that will be on display are pieces by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, who was educated by nuns, and John Galliano, whose transgressive F/W 2000 Couture collection for Christian Dior opened with a mitred, incense-swinging pope-like figure who proceeded down the runway to a voice intoning: «Understand the concept of love.»

First look of Christian Dior Couture F/W 2000

Fashion is a way to express yourself and by placing clothes within the context of religion, you realize how much power the looks of Christianity have and that fashion has supported the way we feel the Catholic imagination.

Part of the exhibition
Left: Fragment of a floor mosaic with a personification of Ktisis, Byzantine, 500–550, with modern restoration, marble, and glass; right: Ensemble, Dolce & Gabbana, F/W 2013

Me in a Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 look: A Byzantine Moment

«Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination» is on view May 10–October 8, 2018. A catalog with photographs by Katerina Jebb will accompany the exhibition.

Below you can enjoy some of my favorite looks of last night.

My personal winner: Blake Lively in Atelier Versace
She needed to arrive in a party bus to have enough space for her amazing gown!

Love this look as well: Jennifer Lopez in Balmain, Jimmy Choo shoes and clutch.

Rare moment: The host of the night, Anna Wintour, caught smiling in Chanel.

Angel of the night: Katy Perry in Versace.

Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier

Co-host perfection: Rihanna in custom Maison Margiela by John Galliano, Christian Louboutin shoes, Maria Tash jewelry, Cartier jewelry, and a custom Judith Leiber Couture clutch.


Always an eye-catcher: Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana and Jennifer Fisher.

Heavenly: Anne Hathaway in a stunning red Valentino gown.

Icon: Lily Collins in Givenchy


Cara Delevingne in Dior Haute Couture

Simple and elegant, matching the theme:
Andreea Diaconu in Michael Kors Collection and Chopard jewelry

Beautiful print: Ariana Grande in Vera Wang.

Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto, both in Gucci

Curvy and beautiful: Kate Upton in Zac Posen

Rita Ora in Prada

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in custom Ralph Lauren Collection

So cute: Cardi B shows off her baby bump in Moschino next to designer Jeremy Scott.

Kate Bosworth recreated her bridal look in Oscar de la Renta and Tacori jewelry.

Beautiful in velvet: Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren.

Definitely not the most sexy look, but matching the theme well: Greta Gerwig in The Row.

Stella Maxwell in Moschino and David Yurman

Sexy interpretation: Taylor Hill in Diane von Furstenberg

Best dressed man of the night: Chadwick Boseman in Versace.

I personally didn’t like this look at all, not matching the theme (as a co-host you would expect better) and the cut is not pleasing her beautiful shape: Amal Clooney in Richard Quinn.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Via Vogue.com, © Sandra Bauknecht, © Melanie Galea, (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Photos: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harris Brisbane DickFund and Fletcher Fund, 1998; Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Dodge Fund, and Rogers Fund, 1999 (1998.69; 1999.99) / © Metropolitan Museum of Art; Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana / Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb, Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX/Shutterstock