Tribute to Alber Elbaz and AZ Factory

I am still so in shock. One of my favorite designers, especially because of his amazing character, Alber Elbaz, died Saturday in Paris from Covid-19. He was such a warm-hearted person, always thinking about his employees. Instantly recognisable for his broad smile and distinctive personal uniform of bow ties and thick-rimmed glasses, he was best known for his star turn leading couture house Lanvin. At their peak, sales were as high as €235 million. He definitely died too young, in June he would have turned 60.

Born in Morocco and educated in Israel, Elbaz climbed the ranks of the fashion industry from a small dressmaker’s shop in New York City to serve at the helm of Guy Laroche. Then appointed by Pierre Bergé, Elbaz next worked as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent from 1998 until he was fired after three seasons when Gucci bought the company and put Tom Ford in charge.

Designer Alber Elbaz walks down the runway at the S/S 2004 Lanvin show in Paris.

Elbaz began designing for Lanvin in 2001. He also held a minority stake in the company of nearly 18 percent. During his 14-year tenure, he was credited with the house’s renewed appeal thanks to Elbaz’s «classic with a twist» takes on silk cocktail dresses and other feminine designs, often playing with color or other unusual variations on hallmark elegance.

Alber’s sketches for Lanvin

His humorous sketches of everything from lollipops to his own face became a brand signature, also remember the amazing collaboration he did with Lancôme. Elbaz’s simple, feminine clothing, which has been compared to Lanvin’s 1920s outfits, was lauded by the fashion press. In 2005 Suzy Menkes wrote: «Elbaz is every woman’s darling. And that includes Nicole, Kate, Chloë Sevigny, Sofia Coppola and a slew of rising movie names

In October 2015, Elbaz announced that he had been let go from Lanvin after disagreements with the company’s major shareholder, Shaw-Lan Wang. He then took some time off until he launched a new label together with Swiss luxury group Richemont, AZ Factory, in January.

A tribute to Alber today on the AZ Factory homepage.

The following text has been written months ago but sometimes time flies and I always postponed to post it. It feels so bizarre to show it to you now post mortem. However, it is a tribute to Alber, to his latest venture in fashion, that hopefully will also have a great input how the world consumes fashion. It is all about inclusivity and diversity. I invite you to get your last piece designed by Alber…

In a Zoom call with Alber in January…

So let me introduce you to AZ Factory, the eagerly awaited fashion concept from Alber Elbaz. Launched at Paris Haute Couture Week in January, it had not only marked the comeback of Elbaz but also Richemont’s first foray into launching a fashion label from scratch, a €25 million investment, that is focusing on online distribution.

Described as Elbaz’ «dream factory» and created with «women of our times» in mind, the label is an expansion of the playful, confident pieces that have become his calling card through the years. This is a marvellous fashion moment! Neither a revolution nor an evolution but a refreshing reset! AZ Factory might change the face of luxury fashion as long as we’ve known it and Alber Elbaz might have become the new «Hervé Leger». Over the next few months a six part capsule collection will be launching.

Alber wanted to design for «All Women».

And one of the most exciting elements surrounding this new brand is the diversity in its sizing, with an emphasis placed on the fact that this entire six capsule series is inclusive for «All Women placing importance on body positivity and inclusivity. Sizing ranges from XXS-4XL or FR34 – FR48.

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MyBody
The essence of the MyBody capsule is bodycon styles made from a technical weave fabric that sculpt the female form. The AnatoKnit technology provides hugging tension that shapes your natural curves. The boning at the back supports your posture and the ergonomic design features allow for movement and breathability. The idea behind this is functional fashion that has been made for «women on the move» and Alber wanted to encourage us to wear these with their sneakers. I think they’d look perfectly splendid with heels too.

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MyBody 2.0
The sporty edition of MY BODY. This additional story features colourblock designs paired with matching leggings. It’s the next level of athleisure.

Pijama Valentine printed silk-twill shirticon and Pijama Valentine printed silk-twill wide-leg pantsicon

Switchwear Pyjamas
Uplifting printed silk pyjamas are equally suited for sleep or for styling your look day or night. Made in collaboration with several artists and designers, which Alber found on Instagram due to the pandemic, these touching visuals reflect the emotions of our times and the wish to spread messages of hope, love and togetherness.

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Switchwear
From bed, Zoom, to yoga, to the supermarket, to couch, to date night – Switchwear takes you from cozy to couture (and back!) in under 60 seconds. Upgrade your supremely soft Switchwear Prime-layers with the iridescent, satin-like Switchwear Duchesse Add Ons.

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Pointy Sneakers
Hybrid footwear that combines the comfort and function of a sneaker with the elongating benefits of a pointy-toe shoes. Performance sneaker construction so you don’t have to trade off all-day comfort and stability.

In light of this, I was invited by Alber Elbaz and NET-A-PORTER to a live launch celebration for AZ Factory in the end of January. I also received a spectacle in a box to open during the event that included sweets, a puzzle, ….

Alber is such a sweet human being. He told us that he started his new venture by thinking: «How can I hug women? Who’s my customer? Is she an architect, who’s her mother, does she have kids?» He went on: «I wanted to create something for all of them. I never had one muse. I have never understood how to design for only one woman. It is the variety that counts. The world doesn’t exist of one song, one book or just one woman. Life is not black and white. I wanted to find something in the middle without being mediocre. I thought due to my own body shape that you have to hide who you are if you are a plus size. And the tiny women are sent to the children’s department. I wanted to change that. I also created the long zip opener so that women are not dependent on a man to open their dress. My sneakers are hybrid footwear, pointed like pumps to elongate the legs with all-day comfort. SwitchWear plays a key role for me. For example you wear leggings for travel and once you arrive, you just put a skirt over it. It’s modular dressing and also includes pyjamas. It is comfort, technology and a couture dream in one

Creativity? «The moment I feel and don’t be asked…» Az Lazy, Az Crazy

Thank you, Alber, for your creativity, your positivity and for making us dream… you will never be forgotten!

TO SHOP AZ FACTORY, CLICK HERE PLEASEicon.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © AZ Factory, Net-à-Porter, © Sandra Bauknecht
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise.

Victoria’s Secret x Mary Katrantzou

Everything that Victoria’s Secret creates is about a woman feeling confident and empowered—and also having fun with what she is wearing, This collaboration is going to be bold, fun and playful.” – Mary Katrantzou

Consider it THE collaboration of the season: my beloved Mary Katrantzou has teamed up with Victoria’s Secret for a capsule collection that will make its debut on the runway at this year’s VS Fashion Show, which is returning to New York City on November 8, 2018 after previously holding shows in Shanghai and Paris. Immediately after the show airs, the Mary Katrantzou-designed pieces will be available to shop both online and in stores for holiday.

The collaboration marks the second time Victoria’s Secret has partnered with a luxury fashion brand for its annual show. The first was last year’s capsule collection with Olivier Rousteing of Balmain. I adore Mary’s colorful, feminine designs and out-of-this-world floral prints, perfect pieces to be worn under and over!

At this year’s VS Fashion Show, it is said that at least 18 new models will make their debut in the show, including Winnie Harlow, Duckie Thot, and Sadie Newman. It will also be the first Victoria’s Secret show in 17 years without Alessandra Ambrosio, who retired from the runway last year.

The most important question is still: who will wear the million-dollar Fantasy Bra this year? Mmh… I am thinking who needs a million-dollar bra if you can have one by Mary Katrantzou?!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Mary Katrantzou
AP Photo/Kristian Dowling

My Look: Hiking in Gstaad

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Right now I am in Gstaad, situated in the Berner Oberland. Long known for its walking and hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty, the mountain air and ambiance is just lovely, especially when the sun is shining. Today I went for a hike around Lake Lauenen, which is the epitome of a perfect mountain idyll as you can see.

My look: Black cotton parka by Balmainstretch-jersey leggings by Splendidwashed-silk camisoleicon by Equipment, long grey belted cotton shirt by Prada, zebra-print calfskin hiking boots by Prada Sport, Twilly silk scarf by Hermès, sunglasses «Sidereal 2» in pink by Dior and rose diamond necklace by Piaget.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Contest: Vote Your Colour

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Great news! FOGAL gives its customers the opportunity to vote on the colour range for their most popular style OPAQUE. Choose your top 5 favourite hues among 60. The shades that receive the most votes will be added to the OPAQUE leggings and pantyhose assortment.

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But you are not only influencing the colour rang but your participation also qualifies you for a chance to win: 5 pantyhose & 5 leggings of style OPAQUE in the colour of your choice.

Vote your colour

To enter, please click HERE or visit the nearest FOGAL store.
Entry valid from now through June 17th 2015. One entry per person – winner will be notified personally. No cash or other prize substitution permitted.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Fogal

My Look, Rodeo Drive, Jewelry and Art

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On my last day in Los Angeles, I had a little time to walk down Rodeo Drive and to meet with my Beverly Hills girlfriends at the Beverly Wilshire for a drink before heading to the airport.

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Bonnie Star (to the left) is a famous American jewelry designer, who made the wonderful cuff that I am wearing on the photo, modeled after nineteenth-century French lace.
(For a previous post on Bonnie, please click here).
Claudia Deutsch (to the right) is the owner of the Artspace Warehouse gallery in Los Angeles that offers high quality original artworks from established and emerging international artists at affordable prices for every budget. She brought this new concept also to Zurich, check out the Kunstwarenhaus.

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My look: Striped glossed rayure-effect blazer and iconflat tote bag, both by Saint Laurentclassic white tee iconby Burberry Londonstretch leggings iconby Stoulslong tank top iconby Rick Owensskull silk scarf iconby Alexander McQueen, boots by Balmaingold lace cuff by Bonnie Star and 4810 hoop earrings in pink gold with diamonds by Montblanc.

LoL, Sandra

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Balmain_BootsPhotos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Cozy and Sexy with Lounge Lover

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Two years ago I wrote about Lounge Lover for the first time (for the previous post, please click here). Today, I would like to show you their newly launched website. The London based brand was created by Sylvie Gabriel in 2005 as a response to the growing need of sophisticated women for clothing in which they could feel comfortable and look beautiful while taking back those precious moments of relaxation, without giving in on style.

Lounge Lover is an affordable luxury collection of wearable classics and minimalist styles which transport the wearer from their busy lives, allowing them to embrace life in a more relaxed way. Not just an easy chic lifestyle label, more a relaxed state of mind, Lounge Lover creates urban and luxury clothing with a subtle fashion content and an emphasis on softness. Everything you need for the beach, travelling, your yoga practise or for just being comfy at home.

Below you can find some of my favourites. To shop, click here or on the banner at the end of this post and enjoy global free shipping until June 6, 2012.

LoL, Sandra

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Lounge Lover



A Hiking Tour in Southern Bavaria

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Here are some photos of the beautiful hiking tour I did last week. I love Bavaria and wanted to share those very picturesque photos with you. Religious symbols (see below) are everywhere in the South of Germany, even in the woods.

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My hiking outfit: Leggings and top by American Apparel, cotton parka by Balmain, zebra-print calfskin hiking boots by Prada, watch by Roger Dubuis and sunglasses by Marni.

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My foreign readers might understand why the dirndl (traditional costume in Bavaria) is very popular here. It just fits in so perfectly with the landscape and the cozy way of living.

LoL, Sandra

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Hiking6Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Trend S/S 2010: Focus on Legs

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The focus is on legs for summer, tons of mini skirts and hot pants paraded down the runways. According to the remarkable decrease in the length of the hemlines, the lower part of the body seemed to become the main attraction for decoration. Tights, along with other types of legwear like leggings, legwarmers or socks, made a sizzling fashion statement.

As nylons had always been a no-go in sandals, the trend of the open toe booties posed a real dilemma to me this winter especially that I hate cold feet. I am always admiring the French journalists during the fashion weeks showing-up effortlessly bare-legged whatever the weather. So honestly, I am curious if French ladies are going to adapt to the new trend. They have that nonchalant way of looking elegantly stylish that I truly so adore.

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Fact is that there were also many Parisian designers like John Galliano for Christian Dior or Jean-Paul Gaultier who sent their models in sandals combined with sweet little socks down the runway.

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The photos give you a taste of what is to come. Do not be shocked by those, they might show the look in an extreme way. Get inspired by those tendencies and interpret them in your very own way. Remove taboos and stimulate your spirits!

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Plus if you do not have those perfectly tanned marvellous legs, tights will be the perfect alternative to go mini. I am totally in love with those laced-up ones below from the Chanel S/S 2010 show. Wolford has a similiar version for sale on their website at the moment. Enjoy this young look!

LoL, Sandra