My Look: Pulp Fiction

Last weekend, I was invited to a birthday party in Fribourg with the dress code «Choose a Quentin Tarantino Movie Character». The possibilities are versatile but one that I truly liked and that looks great in daily life is the style of Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction. The 1994 movie is known for its many twists, but most poignant of all is her dance with Vincent Vega (John Travolta). It’s in that scene that Mia sports the outfit that has inspired one of the most popular Halloween costumes of the last two decades, with a white button down shirt as the quintessential piece combined with black cropped pants.

My look: Bandage flared pantsicon by Hervé Léger, cotton-poplin shirt, sequined gun shoulder bag, and Janis suede platform pumps, all by Saint Laurent, Petit Jardin embroidered stretch-tulle underwired bra by La Perlaicon, and diamond ring by Vainard Fine Jewellery.

You’ll never watch that scene the same way again when I tell you what else made it so iconic for a fashion lover. It was the nail polish on Mia’s fingers. First debuted at the F/W 1994 CHANEL show, Le Vernis Rouge Noir made its screen debut in Pulp Fiction 25 years ago. Until today, the hue is still one of the most coveted—and questionably duped—color in both fashion and beauty history.

I really like this hair style (the wig is from atop.ch). What do you think? Time to get a new hair cut?

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht 

The Prada Bowling Bag

Revised for the Resort 2020 collection, the Prada Bowling Bag is a 21st century classic.
An archive style originally presented as part of S/S 2000 «Sincere Chic» Collection, in turn, it is an echo of the mid-twentieth century Accessories: A memory of memories.

Prada S/S 2000 runway (isn’t the quality of the photos hilarious)

I remember buying it during my first year as an editor at Marie Claire magazine (I cannot believe this was almost 20 years ago) and of course it is still in my closet soon to be worn again.

Reminiscent of the aesthetics of modern design in its straightforward contours, automobile chassis in their reliefs contrast similar materials in vibrant colors to evoke the visual vocabulary of fashion and a broader design vocabulary. Miuccia Prada always combines architecture, art and fashion in perfection.

Prada Resort 2020

It was represented on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the debut of this then iconic and today archetypal model in New York on May 2, 2019 as part of the Prada Resort Runway Show.

The reinterpreted bowling bag is a symbolic Prada silhouette made of fine, soft calf leather offered in four hyperclassic color combinations: white with black, cinnamon with white, white with red and black with white (what a pity the pink and white one is not produced). The Prada Bowling Bag is available from on November in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Thank God, I still have it in my closet, like this I am ahead of the game… therefore you should always keep your pieces until their time has come again.

LoL, Sandra

My Prada bowling bag and lip print skirt, both from the S/S 2000 runway collection.
I love the perforated leather detail….

Photos: © Prada, © Sandra Bauknecht

Rest in Peace Peter Lindbergh

Yesterday, another big name in the world of fashion left us. Esteemed fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh died at the age of 74, as announced in a post on his official Instagram account Wednesday with the above picture.

«It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Peter Lindbergh on September 3rd 2019, at the age of 74,» the post on his Instagram read. «He is survived by his wife Petra, his first wife Astrid, his four sons Benjamin, Jérémy, Simon, Joseph and seven grandchildren. He leaves a big void

Born in Poland in 1944, Lindbergh grew up in Duisburg, Germany, where he made his first steps as a photographer before moving to Paris in 1978 to pursue his career. I was lucky to work with Peter Lindbergh at an early stage in my career. Being a young editor at German MARIE CLAIRE magazine, he shot a lot for us under the creative helmet of our fashion director Florentine Pabst. Thanks to her, I was able to meet and observe the work of such amazing talented people, like him or Karl Lagerfeld.

This cover shoot for British VOGUE in January 1990 was one the reasons why I wanted to become a fashion editor. I was 14 at that time and was dreaming to pursue this career that thankfully became true. Thank you, Peter!

Renowned for his cinematic, elegant style, his iconic January 1990 cover shoot for British Vogue, featuring Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford, Lindbergh is considered to have launched the phenomenon of the supermodel. The creative photographer was also known for his firm stance against re-touching, something that is hard to imagine in today’s world of filters and photoshop.

Peter Lindbergh, IWC Schaffhausen campaign, 2011

Other high-profile works of his include the three Pirelli calendars, in 1996, 2002 and 2017, the advertising campaigns for IWC Schaffhausen and the portraits of actresses such as Lupita Nyong’o, Helen Mirren and Uma Thurman.

British Vogue’s September 2019 issue shares «Forces for Change» covers by Peter Lindbergh.

Before working on Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s guest-edited edition of British Vogue, he photographed her for the cover of Vanity Fair in 2017. Earlier this year, he shot musician Rosalía for the cover of Vogue España, as well as model Gigi Hadid for Vogue Arabia.

In the introduction to his 2018 photography book «Shadows on the Wall,» he wrote, «It should be a duty for every photographer working today to use his creativity and influence to free women and everyone from the terror of youth and perfection.» Amen to that!

Rest in peace, Peter! You will be missed…

LoL, Sandra

Peter Lindbergh, Vogue 1991

Peter Lindbergh, Vogue, August 1988

Iconic: Anna Winter’s first VOGUE cover photographed by Peter Lindbergh, November, 1988

One of my favorite photos: Nadja Auermann photographed by Peter Lindbergh for German MARIE CLAIRE, June 1996

Devon Aoki photographed by Peter Lindbergh for German MARIE CLAIRE, April 2001

Meghan Markte photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vanity Fair, October 2017

Photos: Peter Lindbergh / Courtesy of Peter Lindbergh, Paris / Gagosian Gallery
Via VOGUE, © Sandra Bauknecht

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

Astro Dior

Yesterday, I spotted the new jewelry collection by DIOR Joaillerie at the Zurich boutique and fell immediately in love. Named ASTRO DIOR, it is a celebration of the superstitious character of Christian Dior and consists of 12 necklaces in gold and mother of pearl, allowing you to now wear your astrological sign.

Christian Dior at a feast of St. Catherine, circa 1950

Christian Dior loved astrology. Therefore he visited Madame Delahaye, his clairvoyant, before opening his eponymous Maison in 1946. After the consultation, she confirmed to him that the launch of his brand was written in the stars.

Over the years, many references to the designer’s beliefs in astrology and mysticism appeared as he created certain pieces with a nickname deriving from those fields: Bonne étoile (lucky star), Horoscope, Tour de cartes (card trick) and Cartomancienne (cartomancer).

Astrological references on the DIOR runways

The House’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri continued this legacy by embroidering zodiac signs and celestial motifs on cashmere sweaters, bags and more.

Making of ASTRO DIOR 

Victoire de Castellane also celebrates this fascination with astrology now with the launch of these beautiful 12 necklaces that are available in stores now.

LoL, Sandra

ASTRO DIOR – Aries

ASTRO DIOR – Taurus

ASTRO DIOR – Gemini

ASTRO DIOR – Cancer

ASTRO DIOR – Leo

ASTRO DIOR – Viergo

ASTRO DIOR – Libra

ASTRO DIOR – Scorpio

ASTRO DIOR – Sagittarius

ASTRO DIOR – Capricorn

ASTRO DIOR – Aquarius

ASTRO DIOR – Pisces

 Photos: Courtesy of DIOR and © Sandra Bauknecht

Gabrielle Chanel Ballet at Bolshoi Theater

A must for every fashion and ballet lover. This upcoming Saturday and Sunday will see the performance of Svetlana Zakharova’s program MODANSE of two one-act ballets: «Come Un Respiro» (Like Breath) and the premiere of «Gabrielle Chanel» at the Bolshoi Theatre on the famous historic stage in Moscow.

Inside the famous Bolshoi Theater.

The latter is the creative work of the congenial trio of Yuri Posokhov (choreography), Ilya Demutsky (composition) and Alexey Frandetti (director and writer) who created an homage to the life and work of Coco Chanel, her role as a revolutionist in the industry and her rise to become the queen of fashion. The main role of the late designer was created especially for the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater and the Milan Scala, Svetlana Zakharova by the production company MuzArts and is tailor-made for her. Among the dancers are Denis Savin, Jacopo Tissi, Mikhail Lobukhin, Vyacheslav Lopatin, and Ana Turazashvili.

Hotel Metropol Moscow, seen from the Bolshoi Theater.

If you want to visit the ballet in Moscow, I recommend staying at the Metropol Hotel that is located on the opposite side of Teatralnaya Ploshchad (Theatre Square) from the main building of the Bolshoi Theatre. Following the traditions of the founder of the hotel, the patron of art Savva Mamontov, the Metropol Hotel Moscow supports another world premiere of the MODANSE series and hotel guests have the unique opportunity to buy tickets for the best seats.

Inside the newly renovated Metropol Hotel Moscow.

Reading the last autobiography of Coco Chanel, I got to know that she was a true philanthropist by providing significant financial support to the Diaghilev ballet. Like this, she truly showed her admiration for talent and art.

Coco Chanel with Ballets Russes dancer Serge Lifar.

The new ballet about Coco Chanel will be performed not only at the Bolshoi Theatre, but also in Paris, the city that cherishes the memory of the legendary Frenchwoman.

Two dancers of the Ballets Russes in costumes by Coco Chanel, from 1928. 

While you are reading this, I am on my way to London to see «The Mother», a powerful narrative dance production based on Hans Christian Andersen‘s dark tale, choreographed by Arthur Pita and starring Natalia Osipova, the famous Russian ballerina, who is currently performing as a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet in London. So excited…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Hotel Metropol, Bolshoi, CHANEL and Sasha/V&A Images

Meet the New CHANEL 19 Bag

First seen on the runway of the F/W 2019 ready-to-wear collection created by Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard, CHANEL presents a new bag: the CHANEL 19. An important number for the House, an echo of famous creations, but also a birth year.

CHANEL 19 for 2019, a baptismal name that pays tribute to its elder, the 2.55 bag, created in February 1955 by Mademoiselle Chanel.

The CHANEL 19 bag bears the essence of the House and all of its codes. Available in three sizes, this rectangular flap bag is swathed with large diamond quilting on leather or on tweed. A metal chain interlaced with leather comes in a trio of finishes, its links passing successively from silver to aged gold to ruthenium. A signature of the CHANEL bags, it also features another code of recognition: the double C fastener, in an XL format on all the designs.

With an ultra-supple structure, the CHANEL 19 adopts a resolutely modern attitude: the length of its chain means it can be worn in two ways, straight or cross body. There’s also a large curb chain in gold metal to be held in the hand. A belt bag version allows the CHANEL 19 to be worn around the waist. A practicality in the pure spirit of CHANEL: natural, elegant and functional, appropriated according to one’s movements.

For its first season, the CHANEL 19 takes on the dominant colours of the F/W 2019 ready-to-wear: added to the leather in its timeless colours of black, beige and white are turquoise blue, green, deep red and dark pink, while the tweed comes in eight variations to match the silhouettes of the collection.

The CHANEL 19 bag weaves a veritable link between the past, the present and the future. Immediately identifiable but without ostentation, rich in detail with masculine/feminine accents, multiple ways of being worn, it is instantly seductive thanks to an allure that is both sophisticated and relaxed. The obvious way to carry it, combined with its elegant, practical and comfortable line make it a day-to-day companion. An ally to be taken everywhere, one that liberates movement, tout simplement.

Below you can enjoy a preview of the CHANEL 19 bags for Cruise 2020… so many beautiful options!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © CHANEL – #handbagCHANEL19

Les Eaux de CHANEL Paris – Riviera

«PARIS-RIVIERA is a floral and luminous fragrance that reflects the joyful, sunny spirit of the Côte d’Azur in the 1920s.» – Olivier Polge

Launched in 2018, the LES EAUX DE CHANEL collection opened a whole new realm of olfactory sensations in the world of CHANEL fragrances : one of freshness and elegance in any situation. Woven with Sicilian and Calabrian citrus, these eaux de toilette invite you to travel, to escape without reason and sail away. With LES EAUX DE CHANEL, there is no need to go anywhere to savor the scent of faraway places on the skin.

Inspired by destinations dear to Gabrielle Chanel, and created by Olivier Polge in cooperation with the CHANEL Laboratory of Fragrance Creation and Development, LES EAUX DE CHANEL are adds a new destination: PARIS-RIVIERA. Rare and exclusive, the new motionless escape will be available for one year starting June 1, 2019.

Gabrielle Coco Chanel and Misia Sert

The mere mention of its name conjures up images of a coastline winding its way between the Alps and the Mediterranean. Bringing the promise of azure blue and dancing sunlight, the Riviera evokes an enveloping softness and the lazy days of summer. From the far south bordering Italy and Monte Carlo to the Var, artists and creators from around the world were drawn to this Mediterranean coast as early as the 1920s. Thanks to her friend Misia Sert who introduced her to Venice, the gateway to the Orient, Gabrielle Chanel began sojourning on the Riviera in 1920.

Gabrielle Chanel and Count Sala at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco.

She loved driving to Monaco with the Grand Duke Dimitri or travelling south on the Train Bleu, a means of transport made famous by Serge de Diaghilev who wrote a ballet by the same name and entrusted the costume design to Mademoiselle Chanel. She could often be found on the Côte d’Azur during the Roaring Twenties, one day on the Duke of Westminster’s yacht in Monte Carlo, another at her regular haunt, the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco, or at the Société des Bains de Mer resort
known for its legendary parties. Gabrielle Chanel also frequented Cannes, where she opened a boutique, and joined the painters and writers who flocked to Saint-Tropez, which was but a fishing port at the time.

Gabrielle Chanel at her villa «La Pausa»

But a little to the East, on the heights of Roquebrune, is where she chose to point her compass and have her villa «La Pausa» built. Mademoiselle oversaw every last architectural detail, and had olive groves and fields of lavender planted. She made it her permanent vacation home, where she entertained a number of celebrities such as Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dalí. There in her beloved southern France, Gabrielle Chanel wove a tapestry of moments suspended in time and joyful memories.

Her bathroom inside «La Pausa»

The fantasy-filled world of the Riviera inspired perfumer-creator Olivier Polge to compose a luminous and elegant fragrance. «The dream Côte d’Azur of the 1920s is what guided the development of this new fragrance,» explains Olivier Polge. «A sun-filled Eden that was a magnet
for artists. The flawless architecture of the villas in those days. The
bright and happy atmosphere of party nights…»

The perfumer noticed a remarkable lightheartedness in the pictures of Gabrielle Chanel surrounded by friends, her face upturned to the sun, and incarnated it with a fragrance of Mediterranean flowers bathed in fresh citrus. He teamed jasmine with a unique quality of neroli from the orange
blossoms found in the South of France. «For years, we have worked with a cooperative in Vallauris that distills orange blossoms grown in the region’s private gardens», recounts Olivier Polge. «The owners of bitter orange groves bring the petals picked from their trees to this cooperative to be processed on location. The local climate yields an extremely pure essence.»

Les Eaux de CHANEL collection: Paris-Deauville, Paris-Venise and Paris-Biarritz

The airy signature scent of the LES EAUX DE CHANEL collection is instantly recognizable on the skin: a refreshing veil of orange peel and petit grain. Then emerges the pairing of jasmine and neroli with enveloping fullness. Over time, an irresistible softness fuses with the floral impression : it is the work of benzoin balm and sandalwood. The PARIS-RIVIERA eau de toilette creates a snapshot of summer with a single spray. A promise of azure blue and sun on the skin. A one-way trip to a legendary Mediterranean coast.

Available in limited edition from June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020 at CHANEL stores and on chanel.com. Paris-Riviera Eau de Toilette Vaporisateur 125 ml for CHF 155.00.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © CHANEL, © Monte-Carlo SBM archives

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.