Claridge’s Christmas Tree 2019

Every year, I am curious to see who is designing the iconic Christmas tree at Claridge’s Hotel in London. Capturing the glamour, romance and timeless traditions of the festive season, this year’s  tree is the work of legendary designer – and long-time friend and guest of the hotel – Christian Louboutinicon.

This immersive installation invites guests on a journey, transforming the lobby into a frosted forest. At its heart is a traditional tree in gold and red, dressed with fairy lights and gingerbread stilettos – and topped with a gold-leaf crown.

Alongside the tree, The Loubi Express is stationed in the lobby. Passengers are invited to step aboard this enchanting red carriage and take a seat in restful red velvet interiors, where just four tables create an intimate setting. Enjoy a glass – or share a bottle – of Laurent-Perrier, or try one of an exclusive collection of cocktails specially created with Christian Louboutin. Accompanying the drinks are canapés and a selection of Claridge’s Bar sharing dishes – all served to your lamplit table by our Cocktail Conductor.

«I wanted to bring a little bit of Paris to London, and for this year’s design to capture the excitement of journeys, whether to new destinations or homecomings
Christian Louboutin

The unveiling of the 2019 tree heralds the beginning of Christmas in the British capital. Christian Louboutin’s unique installation also marks the 10th year of this creative collaboration between a visionary designer and Claridge’s. In 2018, it was Diane von Furstenberg who designed the Tree of Love. For past installations, click here please.

I will be in London next weekend and cannot wait to see the tree with my own eyes…

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Claridge’s Hotel and Christian Louboutin

Prada Linea Rossa: A Line Through

Streamlined, innovative, technical, real – Prada Linea Rossa is engineered to modern living.
Exploring the metropolitan and urban roots of Linea Rossa – the fusion of overground and underground, of different lives and experiences – on 7 October 2019, Prada Linea Rossa collaborated with the musician and artist Willow Smith, daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, to stage a performance moment. This unprecedented live, raw and spontaneous set staged at a station along the Central Line on London’s Tube, the ‘Linea Rossa’ running through the capital, brought the F/W 2019 Linea Rossa line to life.

This act was designed to make an everyday commute into an extraordinary experience. Completely unannounced to the audience, impossible to plan for, yet documented real-time and instantly shared, this moment was a celebration of the transient nature of our real life experiences, the spontaneous beauty of chance: the performance of our everyday.

In today’s urban world, a ‘Linea Rossa’ – a red line – is universal, a uniting emblem, simple yet complex, coded and deep. Irrespective of nationality, designed to function beyond language, it can be immediately recognized in the context of our major cities – a line through all of them, each ‘Linea Rossa’ represents travel, speed, dynamic energy. These ‘Linea Rossa’ draw individuals together, build communities – the inspiration behind the Willow Smith Linea Rossa performance.

Prada Linea Rossa has always been inspired by reality, by the demands of modern living – bodies and movement, urban reality, metropolitan clothing. Linea Rossa reflects that in clothes engineered for bodies and lives, technologically advanced, active wear designed for outstanding performance, everyday.

Such a cool marketing idea!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Prada and via Instagram

Prêt-à-Portea: The Dior Couture Collection

When you come to London, I don’t want you to miss this season’s Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley, the legendary designer afternoon tea inspired by the world of fashion, that sees the iconic designs of Christian Dior take to the cakewalk for an unprecedented solo show inspired by the exhibition I told you about earlier this week – Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the V&A Museum.

The Dior Couture Collection transforms landmark pieces into exquisite biscuits, bakes and fancies. From the Junon Dress worn by Theo Graham at Le Pré Catalan in Paris 1949 to the Bar Jacket which has been synonymous with Dior since it took to the catwalk in 1947 as part of the «New Look,» each piece this season takes inspiration from Dior’s fashion history.

Your tea also includes a flavoursome collection of miniature savoury skewers, taster spoons, elegant canapés and tea sandwiches. To drink, choose a loose leaf tea from the hotel’s extensive collection.

Email: dining@the-berkeley.co.uk
Call: +44 (0)20 7107 8866
Please note that the Dior Couture Collection will be served until 29 September 2019.

Prêt-à-Portea is priced at £60.00 per person.
Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, £70.00 per person.
Signature Mocktail Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of a refreshing Mango & Rooibos mocktail, £70.00 per person.
Couture Champagne Prêt-à-Portea, with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, Bollinger Rosé or Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, £76.00 per person.

We had such a great time and I hope that you will enjoy it as well!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © 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

My Look: Let’s Play Ballet

This dress is one of my favorites from the S/S 2019 runway collections that I wore to several occasions. It reminds me of a ballet gown and Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic outfits – the way the pleated skirt of this dress moves calls to mind, the famous scene in ’50s film, The Seven Year Itch.  Here you see me shooting it on the terrace of my suite at the COMO The Halkin hotel in London. Located in the city’s Belgravia district, it is an amazing place to stay. The healthy food, the yummy ginger tea infusion (not to be missed!), the service and the beautiful rooms make it an absolute insider tip.

My look: Lace and pleated chiffon maxi dress by Christopher Kane, cropped blazer by Saint Laurentsilver-tone, satin and crystal chokericon by Miu MiuCha Cha crystal-embellished suede pumps by Alexandre Vauthier, printed metallic leather box clutch by Dolce & Gabbana, and cuff by Chanel.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: An Evening with Ballet

On Thursday I flew to London as guest of UBS to watch the UK premiere of «The Mother», a powerful narrative dance production based on Hans Christian Andersen‘s dark tale, choreographed by Arthur Pita and starring super ballerina Natalia Osipova, principal of the Royal Ballet, alongside multi-award winning dancer Jonathan Goddard, that was accompanied by an amazing original live music performance.

My look: Tempest ballet dress by Zimmermann, vintage shocking pink quilted heart-shaped vanity case and key necklace, both by Chanelicon, bow-embellished patent-leather pumps by Saint Laurent and  Limelight Gala watch by Piaget.

With my lovely host Gabriel Cohen, UBS Wealth Management, …

… and with primaballerina Natalia Osipova at the gala dinner.

After the ballet, I was invited by UBS to join the gala dinner at Skylon restaurant in the presence of the two dance superstars. A true pleasure to meet those outstanding talents in person, especially for me as I used to dance ballet professionally when I was younger.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Belgrave Square

After São Paulo, my next stop was London this week. I love being in the British metropole where I stayed again at the COMO The Halkin. On my way to meetings, we took these photos right next to the hotel at Belgrave Square. Karl Lagerfeld said: «Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.» It is probably one of the only quotes, I disagree with. You just have to find the right ones … and who can resist a velvet tracksuit?!

Another trend I like is that headbands are not only back in style, but they’re cooler than ever. And sometimes it is good not to take fashion too seriously. If you don’t like to see me in sweatpants, just pull down your headband!

My look: Embellished velvet top, embroidered velvet trousers, and Rylee leather ankle boots, all by Chloéstudded leather headband by Pradaicon, Oblique Saddle bag, and shoulder strap, both by Dior, necklaces by Chanel, and diamond earrings by Cartier.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week has always been my favorite as it is the least pretentious one, with many of my preferred designers showing such as Mary Katrantzou and Natasha Zinko. Over time, we all became friends and it is wonderful to see how everyone attends each other’s runway presentations.

Love them both: With Natasha Zinko (left) at Mary’s show and with Mary Katrantzou (right) backstage after.

Here you see me in one of Mary’s last fur pieces (since S/S 2018 she is only using fake fur) that almost got me killed. There were protesters outside of the show who started attacking me. It got so violent that the police had to escort me inside. Backstage after the spectacle, I waited almost 30 minutes with my fox jacket wrapped in a garment bag to leave the premises.

Hiding from the protesters.

My look: Nausheen fox fur coaticon, and Faylinn dressicon, both by Mary Katrantzou, Knife suede over-the-knee boots by Balenciagaiconlarge classic flap bag in caviar leather by Chanel, and butterfly crystal earrings by Miu Miu.

The photos were taken before leaving to the show in front of my hotel, COMO The Halkin, located perfectly in the city’s Belgravia district on Halkin Street.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Mary Katrantzou 10 Year Anniversary Party

Today is MARY KATRANTZOU‘s birthday and with this post I want to congratulate my dear friend who also happens to be one of my favorite designers. From her first presentation, I have been collecting her outstanding designs and I am proud of my extensive collection. It’s hard to believe that it’s a decade since her designs made their catwalk debut as part of the annual Central Saint Martins MA graduate show. Her digital trompe-l’oeil prints of oversized jewellery placed on colour-block dresses were an instant hit and her label is one of London’s most loved. Since then, she has constantly evolved. The so-called «Queen of Prints» surprises me each season how she masters print and plays with proportions.

Princess Beatrice of York, Mary Katrantzou, my humble self and Federica Fanari

On top of her talent, Mary is an amazing woman, so warm-hearted – it is always so much fun spending time with her. Therefore, I hopped on the plane in the beginning of October to attend her 10 Year Anniversary Party at MATCHESFASHIONicon‘s newly opened retail space at 5 Carlos Place in London.

To celebrate the occasion, a limited edition collection was exclusively launched on MATCHESFASHION.COMicon. The capsule features 10 iconic looks from past collections, all reissued for this exclusive collaboration. And needless to say, I have most of the featured pieces in my closet. Here are a few examples:

Left: Caramolengo jewel-print silk dress (click here for the post from September 2011)
Right: Serendipity print crepe and chiffon mini dress icon(click here for the post from June 2011)icon

Left: Harp Hazzard printed silk-satin gown (click here for the previous post from May 2012)
iconRight: Powdy printed silk mini dress (click here for the previous post from December 2012)

Part of the exhibition: my beloved Jewel Tree dress from Mary’s F/W 2011 collection that I wore to her launch event with Longchamp at Collette in January 2012.

So divine: Mary Katrantzou S/S 2019

Also Mary’s S/S 2019 collection is celebrating 10 years of her eponymous label. It explores the urge to collect, catalogue and organise, infused with themes and motifs from Mary’s decade of designing. A collection of collections! Among the highlights is a dress inspired by her perfume-bottle dress from her first London fashion week collection.

Below you can enjoy some of my impressions from this amazing event. Amazing people gathered together from the world of art and fashion to celebrate our beloved Mary.

Favorite editor: Sarah Mower

With my lovely Federica Fanari

With another great designer Mira Mikati

Mary Katrantzou framed by Jasmine Hemsley and Candice Lake

With Mary Katranzou and jewellery designer Eugenie Niarchos (Venyx)

Girls in Mary: Magdalena Gabriel and me

Sandra Choi of Jimmy Choo

With Juliet Angus

The beautiful night ended at Annabel’s which is my favorite club in London… here with my gorgeous Brazilian friend Polyana Santos.

A little thank you note with lots of memories I made for Mary!

«The next decade,» Mary said, «is about taking the brand DNA and allowing men and women to buy into it in different ways, whether it’s homeware, jewellery or accessories.» No matter the medium, I am looking forward to having more Mary in my life!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of MATCHESFASHION and © Sandra Bauknechticon

At the Breitling Summit in London

Monday morning, I took the early flight to London to attend the first Breitling Summit, where the brand’s new Premier collection and additional distinguished products in all of their four universes, Air, Land, Sea, and Professional were introduced. The day started already beautiful with a breathtaking landing over the city in full sunshine.

A brand with a rich heritage

Breitling was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling with the mission to create toolwatches with optimum functionality. Based in the Swiss Jura, he specialized in chronographs and precision timers. Until today, the watch company has been famous for its pilot-themed chronographs.
In 2017, Breitling, one of the last family-owned watch brands of note, was sold to one of the biggest private equity firm in Europe, CVC Capital Partners. I was curious how the watch company had evolved during the past 12 months after Georges Kern took over the helmet as CEO and also as an investor.

Breitling CEO Georges Kern

The day started with a presentation about Breitling’s journey over the past year and its vision for the future by Kern himself. For me, he is a marketing genius. In this short amount of time, he managed that Breitling is on everyone’s lips and he is proud of this achievement himself. His mission and energy to create a #legendaryfuture seems well on its way. With him in charge, the brand has a great chance to live up to its own spirit and to be flying high again.

Let’s take for example the #squadonamission campaign that is throughly thought through, celebrating the collective spirit of squads united in pursuit of their mission and featuring leading figures from the worlds of aviation, exploration, cinema, and sport. It was a pleasure listening to iconic photographer Peter Lindbergh who appeared on screen to tell us how much fun he had shooting Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and Adam Driver for Breitling’s Cinema Squad campaign.

Kern said that «this clearly differentiates Breitling from the rest of the industry as Breitling is communicating with teams instead of individuals.» In a round table discussion he also wheeled out his top team.

My favorite: the new B01 Chronograph in Bentley Racing Green

His first steps to turn the brand around was to simplify the product range to four categories of Land, Air, Sea and Professionals and to speak to a broader customer base. On Monday, Breitling also announced new watches in each segment. One presented during the summit will be launched in partnership with Bentley, a collaboration that has been running since 2003, and that will be renewed in 2018 with the new B01 Chronograph in Bentley Racing Green – my favorite watch seen this Monday in London.

Combining purpose with style, the new Premier collections are worthy of Breitling’s legacy.

It is part of the probably most important launch, the elegant and stylish Breitling Premier collection that will be available from the end of October 2018. A reintroduced name that has a special significance for the brand as it was in the 1940s, when Breitling introduced its first collection of truly elegant watches, which were defined by their fash­ionable flair. Willy Breitling wanted to attract a new customer base and Kern wants to achieve the same with these new watches. Kern is clear about the role the Premier watches play in the brand’s product portfolio: «This is the first modern Breitling collection dedicated to everyday elegance. With outstanding quality and performance, these watches bear our unmistakable brand DNA, but they have been created with a focus on style that beautifully complements their purpose.»

Breitling’s new Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown

Going with the zeitgeist and focusing on the sustainability aspect, Breitling’s new Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown celebrates the brand’s partnership with Outerknown, a sustainable clothing company committed to improving environmental conditions for the entire planet. The watch features a first for Breitling: the strap is crafted from ECONYL® yarn, an innovative materi­al created from nylon waste, one source of which is fishing nets from oceans around the world.

Preview at the summit: Navitimer 8 inspired by Curtiss will be launched in 2019

Another very cool model that will hit the shelves in 2019 is for Breitlings’ aviation watch enthusiasts and «flying tigers»: the Navitimer 8 camouflage green dial will be produced in conjunction with Curtiss, an aircraft company best known for its WWII P-40 Warhawk fighter jet that is painted with a shark’s mouth under its nose.

Breitling Boutique in Zurich

During the round table Kern explained a little more about his sales strategy. He will increase their own retail and decrease wholesale. He closed most of the stores in South America and opened new ones in Asia and the US. In Paris, Breitling will open a flagship store in the next weeks featuring the new very masculine look, imagine a loft apartment with a pool table and a living room area with leather sofas, brick and concrete walls. «We call it modern retro,» Mr Kern said. Through their interior design, all stores offer an outstanding buying experience. Something that is key for Kern.

His biggest advantage in his new challenge? The independency of Breitling which gives him the capability to act faster than in a conglomerate. Kern is involved in every little step, even the design process of the watches.

Trying the new Premier Chronograph 42 with blue dial and brown alligator leather strap

An outlook for the upcoming year: Ladies, great news is that 2019 will mark the launch of a designated women’s watch collection. Stay tuned!

To a legendary future… I am wishing the whole Breitling team good luck for this thrilling journey!

LoL, Sandra

Photo: Courtesy of Breitling
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images for Breitling
@Breitling #breitling #squadonamission #legendaryfuture #premierstyle