Megève 2019 by Quintessence Retreats

Last April, I introduced you for the first time to Quintessence, the luxury boot camp concept  that invites guests to escape, challenge and pamper themselves in luxurious surroundings by experiencing a unique sports-based programme combined with exquisite healthy cuisine (free of gluten, lactose, refined sugar and alcohol). For the previous post, click here please.

The season 2 of Quintessence retreats will take place in the French Alps, between May 25th and June 14th and between August 31st and September 21st.
Willing to offer extraordinary and exclusive locations, Quintessence chooses for its S/S 2019 season to settle in Megève, in a unique early 20th century farmhouse, entirely restored and renovated in an outstanding residence of 650m2. The house has its own spa and indoor swimmingpool, extends over three levels and unveils an extraordinary volume underlining its verticality. Hung on the mountainside, immersed in a verdant area, this cosy cocoon whose original wooden structure has been preserved is unique. An invitation to reconnect your body and mind.

The sports and wellness signature programme DARE TO BE GOOD TO YOURSELF, under the guidance of high qualified trainers, alternates training sessions (cardio and strength), yoga and pilates, hikes, as well as time to relax (relaxation, meditation, spa and massages). Classes are designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of fitness level.

Limited to 12 participants
Short stays from 2 nights, starting at € 685.-

The full programme 6 days/7 nights typically includes:
8x fitness sessions (cardio / strength / core&balance / flexibility / HIIT / circuit training)
6x yoga, pilates, stretching or relaxation sessions
3x hikes
2x fitness assessments (on day 1 and before departure)
2x aquasports sessions
2x free afternoons
1x cooking class
1x 30-minute coaching session

For more information, I kindly invite you to visit the Quintessence homepage here.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Quintessence Retreats and © Sandra Bauknecht

SIHH 2019

Personally speaking, SIHH in Geneva, the famous Swiss watch trade fair, is one of the most enjoyable events of my yearly must-dos. Nevertheless, a lot has changed during the past years. In 2020, the so-called Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie will take place in May right after Baselworld. It makes sense especially for all the visitors from abroad to come only once to Switzerland.

This year, Van Cleef & Arpels decided not to be exhibiting due to the little business the brand has with retailers and distributors. Two other luxury watch brands, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet, are leaving next year for similar reasons. It seems that most of the prestigious watch companies are dealing more and more directly with their consumers.

Happy Sandra after seeing Audemars Piguet’s amazing high jewellery watch Sapphire Orbe (a detailed post to follow).

In the meantime others joined the exhibition for the first time, for example Bovet, known for their handmade watches with artistic finishes and highly complicated movements. In addition, Breitling and Bucherer recently became members of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), which manages SIHH. This might be the first step in replacing Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet for 2020.

Still trending: Colourful straps as seen at Piaget, Cartier and Audemars Piguet.

But most importantly what will we wear in 2019? Cuff watches, tourbillons, dial sets with miniature paintings, skeleton movements, shaped cases and still lots of celestial influences… Below are some of my favorite ladies’ watches revealed during the 29th Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie.

AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak Frosted Gold Double Balance Wheel Openworked
A watch that is brilliant in every way.
White “frosted gold”, 37mm, manual winding manufacture skeleton movement with a rainbow magic of its 32 baguette-cut sapphires (2.24 carats). MY FAVORITE!

RICHARD MILLE RM 37-01 Kiwi
Fancy a little watchmaking sweetness to help you through the winter?
Colored Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT, 34.400 x 52.30mm, self-winding mechanical movement, limited edition (30 pieces)

ROGER DUBUIS Excalibur Shooting Star
The coolest booth for the fastest girls in the world.
Pink gold set with diamonds, 36mm, flying tourbillon, skeleton manual winding movement.

PIAGET Possession Cuff Watch
A booth filled with sand for a little time out at the beach – a perfect backdrop to show the expert application of gold-working, a skill for which the brand is historically famed.
Pink gold set with 162 diamonds, 29mm, gold Milanese mesh strap.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE Rendez-Vous Moon Jewellery
One the sky is the limited. Nature played an important role at Jaeger Le-Coultre.
White gold case with mother-of-pearl dial and polished rhodium-plated appliqués, diamonds ~168 (~3.43 carats), calibre : 925B/1.

CARTIER Baignoire Allongé
Women are in for a treat at Cartier. Part of the Maison since 1912, the Baignoire features an ellipsis-shaped dial and  earned its unusual name in the late 1950s thanks to its strong resemblance to a bathtub.
Extra-large model, pink gold, dial set with brilliant-cut diamonds (293 diamonds,~1.50 carats), dark alligator leather strap, manual movement 1917 MC.

During the next days, I will show you much more as the most distinguished models deserve their own post, don’t you think? Stay tuned!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht, Some Stills: Courtesy of the Brands

My Look: Gstaad, Come Up and Slow Down

Wether there is snow or not, it doesn’t matter… Gstaad has this special energy. You come up and slow down. Here you see me in a comfy outfit strolling through the picturesque village.

My look: White snow jacket with fur gilet by Ralph Lauren Blue Label, longsleeved camouflage hoodieicon and matching sweat pants, both by Natasha Zinko, skull print scarf by Alexander McQueen, vintage aviator sunglasses by Balenciagaicon, Flashtrek logo-appliquéd suede, leather and canvas ankle boots by Gucciicon and shearling bag by Saint Laurent.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht 

My Look: Winter Wonderland

Finally, the weather in Gstaad got colder and I saw the drops of snow falling, so it was time to cuddle up on top of the mountain in this warm, winter wonderland inspired, layered outfit.

My look: Floral oversized down jacket by Balenciaga, reversible intarsia wool-blend and jacquard jacket by Etroicon, wool turtleneck bodysuit by Alaïa, printed low-rise skinny jeans by Givenchy, embroidered brocade drawstring backpack and studded wool-silk shawlicon, both by Gucci, Croco Tail sunglasses by Fendi, and black fur snow boots by Prada Linea Rossa.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Wasserngrat Lunch

A must-do while visiting Gstaad is having lunch at Wasserngrat Restaurant on a beautiful sunny day. It is always Saturday’s highlight during the ASW Winter Weekend in December. Once you are on the sun deck, you will understand the Swiss ski resort’s slogan: «Come up and slow down».

My look: White mink coat with floral intarsia, intarsia jacquard flowers cardiganicon, and rose print silk shirt, all by Guccipaneled leather and jersey leggings by Givenchyicon, vintage white mink ear muffs and 2.55 quilted bag with attached hanger, both by Chanel, fur snow boots by Prada Linea Rossa, white leather gloves by Prada and Audrey wayfarer sunglasses by Céline.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography

Hermès Celebrates in Gstaad

Last Friday, HERMÈS celebrated the reopening of its store in Gstaad with a cocktail inside the retail space followed by an after party at the Tennisclub.

After 6 months of renovation and expansion, the shop, that was first opened in 1974 in the internationally renowned Swiss Alpine ski resort, offers a brighter and larger retail space of 165 m² with a new entrance and a second floor. Designed by RDAI, a Parisian interior design firm, the team was particularly concerned with preserving the uniqueness of the typical mountain architecture and selecting exceptional materials that emphasize the natural character of its surroundings.

A newly positioned entrance and four large windows along the facade create a sunlight filled interior and offer a beautiful view of the pedestrian area of ​​Gstaad.

On the ground floor you will find the silk collections for women and accessories, while the ties and perfumes for men are arranged on both sides of the main entrance. Moreover there is a spacious area dedicated to leather goods, watches and equestrian collections.

The second floor, which plays with the design codes of the traditional chalet interior, is dedicated to the ready-to-wear and shoe collections for men and women as well as the collections for the home.

Gstaad – come up and slow down – and shop at HERMÈS.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of HERMÈS and © Sandra Bauknecht

Hosting an Event with Prada for Resort 2019

On Tuesday, I hosted a lovely event with Prada at their Zurich store on Bahnhofstrasse to explore the new Resort 2019 collection. In a previous post, I already wrote about the beautiful pieces and how pioneering Miuccia Prada‘s designs for the new season are. In case you have missed it, I invite you to click here for more information.

Enjoying a glass of bubbly while indulging in fashion among friends, do I have to say more? Everything was just perfect. I put together some of my favorite looks and explained how I would style the looks to achieve this interesting kind of twist. Below you can enjoy some impressions and more details about the must-have pieces.

I adore these new shirts so much. It seems to be a traditional striped classic, but if you look closer, you will be surprised by its updated look with brocade ruffles and a zipper.

The new mini suede skirts come with a ruffled hem and are surely among the bestselling pieces.

Here is a look I styled with everything I love from this collection: the ruffled leather skirts, brocade fabrics, knitted loafers and the fun mix of colours.

The knitted footwear also comes as a pointed toe version with a high heel in several colour combinations. To die for!

Everyone loved the headpieces in silk that are available in several colours.

I am also a big fan of the patterns – something Miuccia Prada is famous for.

These trapper hats are the perfect way to stay warm and stylish at once.

The new Sidonie bags – a curvaceous, ergonomic shape, a modern classic rediscovered.
For a previous post, click here please.

A pair of brocade pants will spice up every look.

The new jewellery pieces that I also wore that night are extremely beautiful and easy to wear.

Thank you everyone for coming and Prada for having me!
Everything you see in this post is available now in the Zurich store, pass by… it is worth the visit!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography
Photos in collage: Courtesy of Prada, © David Biedert Photography © Sandra Bauknecht

Ljuba Manz: Russian Soul – Viennese Heart

We all have this girlfriend that inspires us constantly and that we admire. Mine is Ljuba Manz.

A life full of stories. Her mother’s family lost their hotel and country estate during the revolution in Russia. The father, an Austrian, fled from the Nazis to Kharkov in Ukraine, where Ljuba Manz-Lurje was born in the middle of World War II. She experiences occupied Vienna and the hardships of the previous years of war – and wants only one thing: to leave this poverty behind her.

Today, Ljuba Manz-Lurje is the most famous hotel entrepreneur in Switzerland and leads in third generation othe Manz Privacy Hotels, which also include the «Hotel St. Gotthard» in Zurich.

Ljuba signing her book at the cocktail reception.

This month, her multifaceted biography hit the shelves and we celebrated it with a cocktail reception two weeks ago. It is a good and inspiring read reflecting on her life in all its details, a great gift for a dear friend for Christmas. You can order the book, published by Stämpfli Verlag, by clicking  here.

With Ljuba at the ASW Winter Weekend in 2016.

It shows a woman who first stands on her own feet as a vedette dancer, then becomes a businesswoman in a male-dominated world, marries the Zurich hotelier Caspar E. Manz and fulfills a legacy after his death: to retain and increase the family-owned hotels. Social splendor and human abysses tend to be close together. The great conductor Paul Sacher brings musicians from all over the world to the «Hotel St. Gotthard». At the same time a plot is hatched against the landlord – she is reported to the authorities as a presumably Russian spy.

Pure joie de vivre: Ljuba on stage at the book presentation with her husband since 2014 Marco Conte and presenter Silvia Affolter.

I am proud of my friend, a strong woman full of energy and joie de vivre, who always did it her way. An entrepreneur and a mother of twin brothers who knew how to combine work and private life during times when the term «work-life balance» was still a foreign word. A woman, we can all learn from. Thank you, Ljuba, for being my friend!

LoL, Sandra

So proud to be in her book! What an honour!

Fashion cannot be missing: An Emilio Pucci outfit on display that she once wore to a gala.

What an experience! I was Ljuba’s guest at the famous Vienna Opera Ball this year.

Many famous people came to celebrate Ljuba, here you see her with Alt Bundesrat Merz of the Swiss Federal Council.

With Raquel Marquard at the book premiere.

On display many memories from Ljuba’s past.

Sabine Hirsch-Avram also joined this wonderful occasion.

Proof that Ljuba counts many fashionable ladies among her friends: those Gucci, Dior and Marco de Vincenzo shoes had to be photographed.

Photos: Courtesy of Ljuba Manz, © Zuza Speckert, © David Biedert, © Sabine Hirsch-Avram and Sandra Bauknecht

Terrazas de los Andes: Wintergrill at the Park

If you are living in Switzerland, you will know that fondue and raclette are traditionally served during the holiday season. As these dishes are quite filling and heavy, there comes a time when I am petrified of eating one more portion of melted cheese. Therefore I was positively surprised by this unique winter barbecue experience I had with Terrazas de los Andes, which is part of the Moët Hennessy Wine Division, on Monday at the Park Hyatt Zürich Hotel.

The so-called «Wintergrill at the Park» is an extraordinary culinary winter experience created by Executive Chef Frank Widmer in a specially designed chalet on the terrace of the well known 5-star hotel, right in the heart of the Limmat city. All dishes are paired with selected wines from Terrazas de los Andes, such as Terrazas Torrontés, served in the form of a cocktail with ginger, honey and thyme (so delicious), the classic Terrazas Malbec and the Single Vineyard Las Compuertas Malbec. The winery is located in the heart of Perdriel and at the foot of the impressive Andes mountain range in Argentina.

What can you expect? In the Terrazas chalet, meat and fish are grilled «asado style» according to the motto «rough luxury» and are accompanied by either a delicious winter salad and corn chutney or with pickled pumpkin, hazelnut polenta and Brussels sprouts. For dessert, Frank Widmer pays homage to Swiss apples. A manzana or a dulce de leche with canned and grilled fruit is waiting for you.

The «Wintergrill at the Park» is open until the 22nd of December 2018 for lunch or dinner. Please note that there are only 8 places available in the chalet. Reservations of 6 or more is possible, the dinner experience starts at CHF 150.- per person. Choose between two exquisite selected menus during the Christmas season accompanied by the unique Argentine Terrazas wines.

I loved it and find it a great alternative to fondue for a dinner invitation among friends during the advent season.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Park Hyatt and © Sandra Bauknecht

La Mer Event with Sandra’s Closet at Jelmoli


Celebrating my 9th blog anniversary with LA MER at Jelmoli in Zurich last week was absolutely amazing and I truly would like to thank everyone who came and made it so special, also for the many amazing gifts I got. A big and heartfelt «thank you» goes also to the very professional LA MER team, that is so much fun to work with and to PERRIER-JOUËT for the lovely champagne.

I have been blogging for a long time now, and that evening made me acknowledge just how much happened all these years, and the fact that it all happened because I created a space online to share my love for fashion and beauty, my ideas, inspiration and advice with others. I always believed in being authentic and that staying true to myself would gain success in the long run.

Some of you have been reading Sandra’s Closet since I pressed publish on my very first blog post. I hate the word following. Why? If you see my readers you know they are not followers, they are leading ladies! This was such a rewarding feeling. Seeing all these beautiful, smart women who came from all over Switzerland, from Geneva, Chur, or Basel to Zurich to join me on this occasion. Together we indulged into the luxury world of LA MER and each guest could take home her personally engraved lip gloss.

There were friends who became blog readers and blog readers that became friends. Everyone had a big smile on their face and I was the happiest girl that night! Thank you!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography and © Sandra Bauknecht