Hôtel Plaza Athénée – A Couture Experience

Chic, stylish and fashion-loving, Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris has enjoyed a long love affair with Haute Couture. Favoured by fashionistas, the spirit of couture lives on throughout the hotel in every personalised, hand-tailored detail. The location itself couldn’t be more appropriate, located on the famous Avenue Montaigne, where a century of designers and artists have pursued boldness and passion. On the doorstep you’ll find all the big-name boutiques including Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

The House of Dior has a very special connection with the hotel. Back in 1946, Christian Dior opened his first boutique on Avenue Montaigne, inspired by the idea of attracting elegant customers. In homage to his love of the hotel, his collections included creations called Plaza and Athénée. The legendary Dior Bar suit was even inspired by the chic women who frequented the hotel’s bar. Continuing this long relationship, the spa is a Dior Institut decorated with fashion sketches by Christian Dior and photos of his fashion shoots at the hotel.

«Women, with their intuitive instinct, understood that I dreamed not only of making them more beautiful, but happier too.» – Christian Dior

All of the hotel’s beautifully crafted rooms and suites are amazing but if you are a true fashionista and would like to experience something very special, I recommend a stay at the Haute Couture Suite that is entirely dedicated to Dior, something that’s reflected in its signature grey and pink tones. Subtle details like a mannequin, Dior books and a chocolate treat in a fashionable form, all add to the unique appeal.

The history of Haute Couture speaks of its passions in the charming design of this silken suite. A classical French palace ambience fills the living room, bedroom, dressing and bathroom with a sense of splendour, elaborate moldings and silver-leaf detail.

Paris Fashion Week is undoubtedly among the highlights of the year and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée a great spot to stay. In any case, if if it is designer fashion shopping you’re after, well you know all the best boutiques are just a few steps away.

And very importantly if you travel to Paris, don’t forget to buy one of the must-have luxe travel pieces from the collaboration between Dior and Rimowa. This luggage is to-die-for and just hitting the shelves…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Hôtel Plaza Athénée 

VHS & Chill

Love love love this! Let’s go back to the future this summer and get one of those amazing retro accessories from Louis Vuitton’s S/S 2020 collection. Spotted on the runway, there were bags modeled after VHS cassettes and cases.

Not sure if you are familiar with the DVD’s predecessor – VHS, I definitely am. It was all the rage when I was a kid, finally we were able to tape our favorite TV shows. My mum still has her basement filled with a gazillions of this tapes. Quiet a sentimental memory.

The Louis Vuitton S/S 2020 Video Tape Clutch with its faux magnetic tape strip is my favorite and will range around €4200. Obviously Nicolas Ghesquière will be watching «The Backpack is Back» next season as this is written on the cassette sticker with DIY scrawl. Another quite interesting model is the matching tote bag that looks like a shelf with stacked VHS cassettes. Also a wallet will be part of the collection.

It is not the first time a VHS cassette was the style inspiration for a bag. In 2017, Forever 21, that filed for bankruptcy last year, launched a funny clutch for the price of € 25 with the sticker saying «VHS or Chill». Still, I prefer the Louis Vuitton one…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Louis Vuitton and Forever 21

Dior Lady Art #4

A timeless icon, the Lady Dior never ceases to reinvent itself, like today’s woman. For the fourth edition of Dior Lady Art, eleven artists from around the world have participated in the game of metamorphosis by rendering the iconic Lady Dior as a unique piece of art.

Below you can explore the amazing eleven artists and their breathtaking designs. Honestly, I love every single bag… true pieces of art!

LoL, Sandra

LADY DIOR ART BAG, JOANA VASCONCELOS

Joana Vasconcelos delivers a resolutely futuristic ode to love with her interpretation of the Lady Dior, featuring a beating heart illuminated by 300 LEDs.

€5000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, KOHEI NAWA

Like bubbling magma, Japanese sculptor Kohei Nawa’s kinetic creations for Dior Lady Art change in function of temperature and light. 

€6000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, WANG GUANGLE

Inspired by his ‘Coffin Paint’ series, Chinese conceptual artist Wang Guangle creates relief effects and textured movement in rainbow stripes on leather for Dior Lady Art.

€5500

LADY DIOR ART BAG, RINA BANERJEE

Sculptor Rina Banerjee transforms the Lady Dior into a spiritual message evoking universal peace. Her designs bring together organic materials to create a “cabinet of curiosities” for the fourth edition of Lady Dior Art.

€10.000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, JIA LEE

Korean painter Jia Lee transforms the Lady Dior into a pristine canvas imbued with her poetic, emotional vision of nature.

€6000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, RAQIB SHAW

The melancholic beauty of London-based Indian artist Raqib Shaw’s imaginary paradise is transposed onto leather and embellished with dazzling enamel charms for Lady Dior Art. 

€7000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, EDUARDO TERRAZAS

Eduardo Terrazas offers up a precious tribute to Christian Dior, who dreamed of being an architect before becoming a couturier. The Mexican architect drew on Amerindian folk art techniques for his intricate, graphic reinterpretation of the Lady Dior.

€ 4000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, ATHI-PATRA RUGA

African artist Athi-Patra Ruga explores society through the prism of art, crafts and pop culture. In this video, see how he transformed the Lady Dior into a self-portrait, with a spectacular play of embroidery and textured beading.

€12.000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, MARIA NEPOMUCENO

Evoking the joyful atmosphere of Carnival, Brazil-born artist Maria Nepomuceno painstakingly embroidered a heady mix of flowers and mouths on her sensual creation for Lady Dior Art. 

€ 8000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, MICKALENE THOMAS

For Lady Dior Art, American artist Mickalene Thomas creates a graphic landscape evoking Monet’s garden at Giverny. Take a closer look at her vibrant collage and discover how she conceived this dazzling patchwork of embroidered leather and intricate beadwork.

€14.000

LADY DIOR ART BAG, MARGUERITE HUMEAU

French contemporary artist Marguerite Humeau merges hi-tech and tradition with her 3D-printed interpretation of the Lady Dior for her sensual, wave-like work.

€5500

Photos: © Dior

Balenciaga’s Koala for a Good Cause

In response to Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis and in addition to the Kering Group‘s $1 million AUD donation, Balenciaga has decided to release T-shirts and hoodies that feature an image of the vulnerable Australian Koala.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of these pieces will be donated to the most appropriate local conservation organization selected by the Kering Group and Balenciaga sustainability experts.

Balenciaga’s unisex Australia Bushfire Disaster Koala Hoodie and T-shirt are set to be sold exclusively from today on Balenciaga’s website.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Balenciaga and Canva

Clarins and the Generation S

Last month, I attended the CLARINS press conference at 1904 Designed by Lagonda, a new restaurant in Zurich that combines design with Haute Cuisine. In the lounge area, that is open already in the morning for business meetings or to just have a coffee, a red wall catches your eye. The perfect backdrop for CLARINS that are famous for the red thread in their logo.

 Among several novelties one seems really outstanding to me. While everyone is thinking about Millenials or Generation ZCLARINS is working on the Silver Generation, people that are now 60 years or older. The reason is actually pretty obvious. It’s a fast growing population, with 775 M in 2015, 1.2 B in 2030 and a predicted 1.6 B in 2050.

What are women at the age of 60 plus most concerned of? Mature skin is weakend. The skin gets drier due to changes in the lipid structure and there is a lack of radiance and firmness. The glow is missing as micro circulation and vascular reactivity is diminished – around minus 44% at the age of 60. The skin’s fibroblasts are aging and that causes a decrease of micronutrient supply.

CLARINS did clinical tests with several women and divided them in two groups, one half with ladies that looked younger for their actual age and the other half with participants that looked older than they were. The reason for this phenomenon was found in the radiance of the skin. Therefore CLARINS focused on achieving a more luminous skin and developed the luminance index with an inside/outside effect.

The plant discovery for the new formulation was horse chestnut, a symbol for spring and rebirth. In Geneva’s old town, there is a horse chestnut tree whose first bud marks the official arrival of spring on the Promenade de la Treille (Marronnier Officiel). Standing in full new bloom, something we all wish for when we grow older.

Two ingredients of this tree are combined, fruit and organic flower extract, to help the skin to reactivate its micronutrient network and revive its full luminosity. After one month of using the Crème Nutri-Lumière Jour, the skin’s luminance index of 30 women tested increased 12 %. All 4 new textures are based on plant-powered formulas (17 plants of which 10 are organic) for a complete anti-aging action.

CLARINS Nutri-Lumière JourNourishing, Revitalizing Day Cream – CHF 162.00
oil-infused – fresh texture
CLARINS Nutri-Lumière Jour  – Nourishing, Revitalizing Day Emulsion – CHF 162.00
lighter version of the day cream – comforable texture
CLARINS Nutri-Lumière Nuit – Nourishing, Rejuvenating Night Cream – CHF 172.00
night cream oil-infused balm – not greasy at all
CLARINS Nutri-LumièreRenewing Treatment Essence – CHF 73.00
smooth and gentle lotion – toning texture

All four new products are available now online or at the Clarins Boutique & Spa at Gerbergasse 6 in Zurich. The official launch date will be January 27, 2020.

The face of the campaign, Brazilian born Claudia Maria Ferreira da Costa, was with us in Zurich. I spotted her immediately when I came in. A beautiful, confident woman of almost 60 that truly looks much younger than her birth age.

Claudia Maria, can you tell us a little about your career path?

I started modeling around 36 years ago, a long time ago. I worked with Saint Laurent, Dior to name a few and travelled to place such as Paris, and Japan for business. I did that for around 12-14 years. Then I got married and had my two kids. Years later, I discovered this one model, this gorgeous girl where I lived, Arizona Muse. I got her career started and while I did this, the agency got also interested in me as all of a sudden an interest for mature faces came up. That was an amazing opportunity for me at the age of 50. Not many people get to do that. I just went for it and my confidence built up. Now, I take full ownership of that and I find it my mission to represent women of my age group. Also we should take in consideration that at 60, many women start to reinvent themselves.

How did you get into fencing?

I started fencing at the age of 43. My father was a fencer and I always had the curiosity about this sport but as he died a pretty long time ago, I never got to see him practice. Funnily enough, my ex-husband told me once about this fencing club and suggested to give it a try. My kids were little and I lived in this small town of Santa Fe in the US and I just went for it. Just after a few months, I had my first competition and I got hooked. It totally sparked something that I didn’t know I had in me. It showed me first of all how competitive I was and that anything is possible.

«Still learning. Still resilient. Still radiant.» – Claudia Maria Ferreira da Costa

Are you afraid of aging?

I am not afraid of the number 60. I tell people my age. The alternative of not getting older is not being alive, let’s face it. I don’t want to go back to a younger me. For me the sense of vitality is in your mind, your impulse lets you enjoy life. When you turn 60, you know more about yourself, you can embark in newer things and challenges. I feel a certain ownership of my life, much more than I used to feel when I was younger.

What are your tricks to look so amazing?

The basics to feel and look great are the following:
– use sun screen and protect your skin from the sun as much as you can
– drink a lot of water and less wine
– don’t smoke
– and don’t forget that the expression of your inner self, of who you are, transmits on the outside

An advice you would like to share?

Take two words out of your vocabulary and you will be shocked. First, «hope», it doesn’t convey power, it is just a thought of waiting for something. I am not waiting, I am making it happen. Second, «worry». If you have power, than you don’t need to worry. You just make things happen for yourself.

Say yes – that is your operative word. When I stand up, I say to myself, I do whatever it takes. 

Thank you, Claudia Maria, for sparking up our day!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the city of Geneva, © Clarins and © Sandra Bauknecht

The Thousand-In-One-Ways Top

Worn five ways and in three go-with-everything shades, Rosie Assoulin‘s «Thousand-In-One-Ways» top is your new hero knit. Now that’s outfit repeating made fun.

As featured in the New York based designer’s Pre-Fall 2020 lookbook, this versatile cable-knit piece is designed to be styled a myriad of ways; Cut for a slim fit, with a cropped silhouette, a square neck, sleeveless, a removable bolero, and a ribbed trim.

You may have gasped at the price, but think about it – for $680/€760, you get, like, a trillion knits. Calculate the cost per twist, now that’s outfit repeating made fun.

TO PRE-ORDER THE THOUSAND-IN-ONE-WAYS TOP, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Rosie Assoulin
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The Modern Sneaker Sole of 2020

This season, when it comes to sneakerstransparent air bubble-infused soles are the latest hype. Transparency as a striking design detail has been trending now for a while but this year various fashion designers have been experimenting with the modern sole, releasing their own footwear renditions featuring trend, along with Nike who kickstarted the movement with its iconic Air Max silhouettes.

Air Max 98 mesh and faux leather sneakers by Nike (50% off)

Personally speaking, I find Alexander McQueen‘s version the most appealing. The brand has released different silhouettes featuring the «bounce» sole in many versatile color combinations – the minimal silhouette with this bold detailing looks fabulous.

Leather exaggerated-sole sneakers by Alexander McQueen

Below are other sneakers models you might like as well, enjoy and happy weekend!

LoL, Sandra


iconTriple S Clear Sole logo-embroidered leather, nubuck and mesh sneakersicon by Balenciaga

Diamond metallic leather sneakers by Jimmy Choo (40% off)


iconValentino Garavani Bounce logo-print leather and mesh sneakericon by Valentino (30% off)

Bump Air faux leather, mesh and neoprene sneakers by Shoes 53045
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Photos: Courtesy of the Brands

My Look: Can’t Stop the Feeling

«I can’t stop the feelin’
So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feelin’
So just dance, dance, dance, come on»

Whenever I go clubbing, I prefer wearing some tight pants to be able to move easily and have all my valuables on me with the help of a small crossover bag, a phone holder around my neck and this fantastic lipstick case.

My look: Short sleeved pullover with frills, leggings with monogram elastic belt, vintage long coat with gold piping and leopard collar (Look 14 from the F/W 2005 collection), Petite Malle bag in Monogram Canvas, lipstick case, Louise phone holder, all by Louis Vuitton, and Kangaroo wrap around bow tie lace high heel boots in black (F/W 2016) by CHANEL.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

CHANEL S/S 2020 Pre-Collection

To embody the most beautiful S/S 2020 pre-collection, Virginie Viard has chosen Caroline de Maigret, ambassador of the House. She was shot by photographer Leila Smara at the legendary CHANEL address at 31 rue Cambon in Paris.

For this pre-collection, Virginie Viard has imagined a very Parisian silhouette, with a cool and chic allure that lights up everyday life. The soft, comfortable lines emphasise the masculine-feminine spirit characteristic of CHANEL, further illustrated by the choice of materials such as tweed, denim, leather, satin and cotton poplin.

A yellow and gold tweed jacket with four pockets is worn naturally with faded jeans. Tweed also comes as a black and white checked blazer whose rigour is softened by an ethereal jabot blouse and a pair of diaphanous shorts in cotton poplin.

Tweed is feminised as a sensual and graphic bustier top accompanied by trousers in quilted leather. Leather, again, is printed with silver pinstripes for a straight-cut jacket and trouser ensemble.


Ease and freedom of movement are at the heart of the CHANEL silhouette. A tweed trouser suit with an ultra-fluid cut worn over a jersey top, a very soft long coat in cotton tweed combined with white jeans, and a casual chic ensemble in printed satin all perfectly correspond with this philosophy.

To walk, move, to come and go in the utmost comfort, the shoes are flat or have a small square heel: derby shoes in patent leather, slingback pumps in fishnet, flat sandals trimmed with chains and loafers in crêpe and grosgrain embellished with a rhinestone comet. A small tote bag in quilted leather has integrated handles and a strap allowing for two ways of wearing it. Finally, couture jewelry – multi-strand sautoirs, pearl necklaces, cuff bracelets, curb chains and XL chain belts – punctuates all the silhouettes.

With the S/S 2020 pre-collection, Virginie Viard reinvents the essence of the Parisienne and her nonchalant elegance. She infuses her with a youthfulness that reflects the eternal and contemporary allure of the CHANEL woman. Discover the collection in boutiques from January 2020.

Just so beautiful…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © CHANEL
#CHANELPreCollection

La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich

Opening tomorrow, under the impetus of La Réserve and the vision of excellence upheld by its owner Michel Reybier, the Eden au Lac hotel is reinventing itself as La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich. A new 5-star establishment in Zurich, the hotel has been completely redesigned to provide an elegant and timeless experience in the heart of an imaginary yacht club dreamed up by creator Philippe Starck.

Thanks to its unique location in the city and on the waterfront, the hotel provides a unique lifestyle
perspective on Zurich with 40 rooms and suites in eight categories, ranging from 22sqm to 79sqm, as well as two bars and restaurants that offer spectacular views of the city and the lake. To be enjoyed as a family or among friends, La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich is an atypical and highly modern place that is both majestic and sophisticated.

Guests are now welcomed via the side entrance for enhanced comfort and privacy. The wooden staircase leading from the reception area to the upper floors has been preserved. A large elevator set in a fine glass shaft enables guests to admire the stained-glass windows by artist Ara Starck, who creates «moving landscapes that are perpetually morphing throughout the day as the light pours through

The rooms are all located on the upper floors overlooking the lake. Created by Philippe Starck like onshore sailors’ cabins, they invite their guests to dream of regattas, adventures, light breezes and indulge in the soft light from the terraces or private balconies.

A bar restaurant adjoining the lobby, a smoking lounge with a treasure cellar and a rooftop restaurantLa Réserve Eden au Lac is changing the culinary scene in Zurich. On the ground floor, with its large bay windows opening onto the outside, Eden Kitchen & Bar promises to be an essential meeting point in the city. Light-colored floors, red wood and boat oars and hulls are just some of the design cues that create a warm and relaxed atmosphere and serve as reminders of the hotel’s attachment to the lake. The large open kitchen stages a non-stop show, in which everyone can admire the expert touch and creativity of the teams headed by Italian chef Marco Ortolani.

«Eden Kitchen & Bar evokes the memory of the yacht clubs where young people used to gather for regattas canoe, skiff, kayak or sailing races. Joyful places where everyone had a lot of fun, drinking and dancing around the large bar.» – Philippe Starck

Perched on the sixth floor and accessible directly via the glass elevator in the lobby, La Muña overlooks the city from its tree-lined roof terrace and has taken over the former attic beneath the hotel’s spectacular dome. La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich’s second restaurant is a treasure chest, mingling imaginary memories of moments spent on the lake with extraordinary objects found in the city and around the world.

The furniture also looks as if it has always been here, in this imaginary «harbor-master’s office»: with comfortable light-colored leather or slightly old-fashioned floral fabric upholstery, and rugs picked up during trips to Persia and Asia. Two outdoor terraces are accessible, one of which can be entirely privatized. Whether on a sofa or at a table, under the huge parasols, guests can enjoy a relaxed and festive atmosphere while sharing the Japanese Peruvian specialties of chef Tomoko Gunji Hangartner (Miya).

La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich
Utoquai 45, CH-8008, Zürich
Phone: +41 44 266 25 25
E-mail: info@lareserve-zurich.com

Cannot wait to experience this new hot spot in Zurich myself…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of La Réserve Eden au Lac Zurich / © Grégoire Gardette