Asmallworld To Manage North Island Resort

Breaking news for all travel lovers: ASMALLWORLD AG announced it will manage the renowned North Island Resort in the Seychelles, that will join Marriott International’s the Luxury Collection brand portfolio in December 2019. This unparalleled island paradise is the first hotel in the newly-created ASMALLWORLD Hotel Collection.

North Island is one of the world’s most iconic holiday destinations: Prince William and Kate spent their honeymoon at this hotel, as did George and Amal Clooney for obvious reason: featuring just eleven private guest villas, the luxury private island resort is offering each guest an unparalleled sense of exclusivity and outstanding service. The accommodations have all been created from local materials, balancing luxury and simplicity to form a signature architectural style they call «barefoot luxury».

Being eco-friendly plays an important role on the small island that is located amongst the inner granitic islands of Seychelles, approximately 30 kilometres northeast of the largest island, called Mahe. Since its opening in 1997, North Island has been a recognized sustainable tourism destination. North Island boasts fertile land and has been referred to as the «laboratories of evolution» due to its rich biodiversity and natural, stunning aesthetics. The tropical retreat is set in 210 hectares of lush vegetation and is home to coconut palms and takamaka trees, all surrounded by pristine beaches and the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. In 2006, the island implemented a conservation and island rehabilitation program to protect endangered and endemic species on the island and to preserve its diverse ecosystem.

Arriving at the property is both simple and tailored for guests, with the site being a 15-minute helicopter transfer or a one-hour boat trip from Mahe Island. Once you step foot on North Island, your experience is completely customised to the holiday you are seeking. The rules are the ones you make yourselves: your schedule is only as full as you wish it to be, and the dress code reflects your own personal style. Your villa will become your own private beach home with colours evoking the marine environment. The fusion of rough and smooth textures and simple and sophisticated forms combined create an entirely authentic, contextual, and sumptuous sanctuary.

North Island features ten 450 sqm private guest villas and one extra large villa of 750 sqm, offering each guest an unparalleled sense of exclusivity and luxury. The island also houses a lounge, dining room and library, health spa and gym, an infinity pool and a sunset bar and restaurant located away on the western side of the island. Rates start around $ 8,000 per night.

Seychelles have been described as the «Galapagos of the Indian Ocean».

ASMALLWORLD takes over management of North Island through its newly incorporated subsidiary ASW Hospitality AG and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the resort and its integration into Marriott International’s Luxury Collection brand portfolio later this year.

The resort will be the first hotel in the portfolio of the newly launched ASMALLWORLD Hotel Collection, that aims to further expand the collection by adding similarly extraordinary hotel properties to its management portfolio and to enlarge its service offering for its global ASW community of travel-savvy members. This announcement comes only weeks after the acquisition of LuxuryBARED, an online luxury travel agency, and will further strengthen the private social network’s position in the luxury travel space. ASMALLWORLD members can surely expect special rates and treatments on North Island.

«We are very excited to launch the ASMALLWORLD Hotel Collection with such a world-renowned hotel as North Island. This first step towards building our very own luxury hotel collection will allow us to offer our travel-savvy members a unique destination, while at the same time increasing the occupancy rate and the profitability of the property», says CEO Jan Luescher.

ASW Hospitality AG will be managing the island resort going forward. Michael Manz, renowned Swiss hotel owner and manager of the only Swiss Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Geneva, is the chairman of the new company. Through a franchise agreement, North Island will become part of Marriott International’s Luxury Collection brand portfolio in December 2019, and will operate as North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort.

«We are excited to further expand The Luxury Collection portfolio across the Middle East and Africa with the addition of our first property in one of the world’s most desirable destinations, the Seychelles», says Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Middle East & Africa for Marriott International. «North Island offers private seclusion along with a truly indigenous experience, making it the ideal destination for global explorers.»

It seems that ASMALLWORLD acquired a piece of paradise…

 LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of North Island Resort

My Look: Amazing Lace

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I adore Alessandra Rich‘s exquisite gowns that are perfect for any black tie event. Not too long, in fabrics that don’t wrinkle, they offer comfort and great fitted shapes. This embroidered one with shimmering beads and Swarovski crystals is one of my favorites as the stretch-tulle panel elegantly references the season’s conceal-and-reveal trend.

My look: Swarovski crystal-embellished lace gown by Alessandra Richwhite «Duffle 6» bag and Janis leather pumps, both by Saint Laurent, Seamaster watch in steel with diamond dial by Omegacrystal-embellished clip-on earrings, both by Miu Miu and diamond rose ring by Piaget.

For the event with George Clooney in Shanghai where the photos were taken, click here please.

LoL, Sandra

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Alessandra Rich Close

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Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

With George Clooney in Shanghai

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I am writing you today from Milan where I am guest of OMEGA for a very special experience with Nicole Kidman whom I met already two years ago in Vienna at the Swiss watchmaker’s “La Nuit Enchantée“. When OMEGA invites you, you are always spoilt to something very special.

Shanghai

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Last year, I flew to Shanghai for just one night to meet OMEGA’s long-time brand ambassador George Clooney (since 2007) for an evening of celebration. The award-winning actor and producer was part of a star-studded event where OMEGA showcased its new Seamaster Aqua Terra timepieces.

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Le Jardin Secret” – or the secret garden – was set up in Shanghai specifically for the event, providing the perfect atmosphere for the exclusive celebration. And the stars were not only the dazzling OMEGA timepieces on display and the celebrities on the guest list. An innovative, transparent roof on the venue allowed us a clear view of the celestial stars in the night sky.

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During the night, George Clooney spoke about how his relationship with OMEGA began: “My father wore an OMEGA watch for many years. When I began working with the brand, I called my father to tell him the great news. He told me his OMEGA was in the attic and after finding it, he wound it up and it still worked. I gave it to OMEGA and they were nice enough to fix it up for me and I was able to give it to him for his birthday. I have a long, long history with the brand.

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Shortly after a welcome speech by Stephen Urquhart, President OMEGA, the lights dimmed and a short but powerful film was screened, focusing on the remarkable work done around the world by Orbis International, an organization supported by OMEGA and which is committed, with its Flying Eye Hospital, to delivering high-quality eye care to some of the world’s remotest regions.

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Later in the evening, Dr. Hairong Cai, an ophthalmologist who works for ORBIS, talked about some of the medical treatments the organization had provided to two Chinese children. To the delight of the audience, the youngsters were escorted to the stage by George Clooney.

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After granting her wish and dancing with the younger of the two girls, George Clooney removed the OMEGA De Ville Hour Vision Annual Calendar he had been wearing and autographed its strap and its presentation box. The watch was auctioned off later in the year and all of the money raised went to Orbis to support the remarkable work it does.

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The evening concluded with a performance by popular French singer France Owlle.

Enjoy some more of my favorite moments of the night:

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A warm welcome by lovely Raynald AeschlimannVice President and International Director of Sales, Retail and Distribution at Omega.

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Sandra Bauknecht in Alessandra Rich at Omega Shanghai Event 2

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A funny anecdote. OMEGA’s photographer looked like a copy of George Clooney…!

Stay tuned for more coming up! I am truly looking forward to tomorrow’s celebration with Nicole Kidman.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Omega and © Sandra Bauknecht

Met Gala 2015

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The Met Gala is an annual fundraising event for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Costume Institute in New York City and marks the grand opening of its annual fashion exhibit. Celebrating this year’s theme “China, Through The Looking Glass”, it seems to be one of the most challenging yet. See below who honored China’s heritage and its present culture on the red carpet best.

This year’s award to best dressed of the night goes to:

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Rihanna wearing Chinese designer Guo Pei

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The butt girls:

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Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West in Roberto Cavalli

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Donatella Versace and Jennifer Lopez, both in Atelier Versace.

Best Chinese inspirations:

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Zendaya Coleman in Fausto Puglisi

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Karolina Kurkova in Tommy Hilfiger

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I am always looking forward to seeing Sarah Jessica Parker‘s outfit because she has never let us down in pulling off the best looks. And let’s just say the headpiece combined with her H&M dress is divine.

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Georgia May Jagger in Gucci and Alessandro Michele

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Chloë Sevigny in J.W. Anderson

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Very sophisticated: Tom Ford and Rita Ora in his design.

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Alexa Chung in Erdem

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George Clooney and Amal Clooney in Maison Margiela

Not so inspired by the Chinese theme… but great to watch:

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Jeremy Scott kissing Kate Perry‘s hand who is wearing Moschino.

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Also Madonna wore Moschino.

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Stella McCartney framed by Cara Delevingne, Sofia Richie, and Zhu Zhu, all dressed in her designs.

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Alexander Wang kissed by Lady Gaga in Balenciaga

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Miley Cyrus and Zoë Kravitz dressed in Alexander Wang.

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Kendall Jenner in Calvin Klein Collection

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Robert Pattinson and FKA twigs in Christopher Kane (definitely not my favorite gown of the night).

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Supermodel Joan Smalls arrived at the Met Gala in a black tulle and purple silk one-sleeved Roberto Cavalli gown with cutouts and sheer paneling. Her date was the newly appointed designer of the Italian fashion house Peter Dundas. Isn’t this gown to die for?!

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Anna Wintour in Chanel

LoL, Sandra

Photos via: Alessandro Garofalo / Indigitalimages.com, Moschino, Vogue and Style.com

Happy 5th Birthday, Sandra’s Closet!

Sandra's Closet 5th Birthday November 2014

OMG! This week had been so busy, that I have almost forgotten a very special day. On November 23, five years ago, the probably biggest adventure of my life has started, I published my first post and Sandra’s Closet was born. I am so grateful for all the amazing things that have happened since then. I travelled to the most distinguished places, met many celebrities and fashion designers (click here to see most of them) and appeared in many publications (check out the press section here).

Below I put together some of my personal highlights over the last five years:

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Being the face of the Closed F/W 2011 campaign.

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Walking a runway show during New York Fashion Week F/W 2012.

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I designed this limited edition “Zurich” tee in collaboration with Closed.

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I went with Montblanc for the ultimate Oscar experience to Los Angeles in February 2013.

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I became the ambassador for Piaget.

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Being at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles with Piaget was an amazing experience.

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In August 2013, we shot a fun social media campaign with MCM in Berlin to celebrate the limited edition collection: Craig & Karl – EYES ON THE HORIZON.

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I hosted a fun event with MCM to celebrate the launch of their new backpacks in November 2013 in Zurich.

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In December 2013, I hosted the Goldenized event at Patrizia Pepe‘s Zurich store.

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Before becoming the editor in chief of L’Officiel Switzerland, I had for three years, from 2011-2014, a monthly column in SI Style magazine.

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Being invited by Omega for a dinner with George Clooney in Shanghai in May 2014 (post coming up soon).

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Hosting a lunch with IWC and star guest top model Karolina Kurkova during the Zurich Film Festival 2014 (post coming up soon).

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Being an ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger’s BHI campaign in October 2014 made me very proud.

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Designing a Samsung tablet during the Mercedez-Benz Fashion Days Zurich 2014 that we will be raffled off soon here on my blog was an extremely fun project.

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And last but not least something I am really proud of: I am in a book that was launched recently in German during Berlin Fashion Week and in English during London Fashion Week (a detailed post will be published shortly). Fashion Germany, the new coffee-table 208-page tome presents the country’s most important people in the world of fashion.

My blog has taken me on such a beautiful adventure and I would like to thank you all for following me and supporting my work. Without you, the success wouldn’t have been possible. Stay tuned during the next weeks as some amazing raffles will be coming up to thank you for all your time that you are spending on Sandra’s Closet.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Brands, © David Biedert Photography, © Christoph Schemel and © Sandra Bauknecht

Oscar de la Renta Is Dead at 82

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Sad news not only for the fashion world! OSCAR DE LA RENTA, the famous fashion designer, died yesterday on October 20, 2014 at his home in Kent, Connecticut at the age of 82, surrounded by family and friends and “more than a few dogs,” according to a statement signed by two of his company’s executives, stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolen and her husband, Alex Bolen. De la Renta gave up the title of chief executive of his company in 2004, handing over business duties to the two of them, but remained active on the design end, continuing to show his collections during New York Fashion Week.

His death comes one week after it was announced that former Nina Ricci designer Peter Copping had been appointed as creative director of the Oscar de la Renta label. De la Renta is survived by an adopted son, Moises, a designer at the company.

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The fashion designer after his show at New York Fashion Week on September 9 with Karlie Kloss (left) and Daria Strokous (right).

He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and said at that time, “The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.”

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Most recently, Amal Alamuddin wore a de la Renta-designed wedding dress when she married George Clooney. Here, he is pictured with the bride in a photo shoot for Vogue.

Fern Mallis, Executive Director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) from 1991-2001, called him once “The Sultan of Suave.” De la Renta himself served as President of the CFDA from 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988. Óscar Arístides de la Renta Fiallo was born on July 22, 1932 in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo, he became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers to dress Jacqueline Kennedy. The award-winning designer also worked for Lanvin and spearheaded the Pierre Balmain collection from 1993-2002, marking the first time an American designed for a French couture house. His eponymous fashion house is famous for its red carpet gowns, bridal and evening wear that has been loved by leading figures, from film stars to royalty, over decades until today.

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Sarah Jessica Parker in Oscar de la Renta at this year’s Met Gala in NYC.

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Stunningly beautiful: this gold bullion embroidered ball gown from the F/W 2013 runway.

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First lady Laura Bush wore an icy blue gown by de la Renta to the 2005 inaugural ball and Hillary Clinton wore a gold de la Renta in 1997.

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In 2006 Oscar de la Renta designed Tortuga Bay, a Leading Small Hotel of the World boutique hotel at PUNTACANA Resort and Club.

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Oscar de la Renta was definitely one of the last great American couture fashion designers. If you want to own a piece of his last collection, I invite you to have a look HERE. I will absolutely get this two-tone silk-satin gown, as I love its cocoon-like cut.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Anne Leibovitz/Vogue, © Getty Images