Visiting the Brunello Cucinelli Manufacture

«I wanted a small part of the company’s profits to go to beautify all of humanity and I wanted people to work a fair amount of hours and be online the right amount of time, so that Technology and Humanism could be harmonised and a healthy balance between mind, soul and body could be restored, because the soul and body also need nourishment every day.» – Brunello Cucinelli

Another highlight of my trip to Umbria with Brunello Cucinelli and my NET-À-PORTERicon and MR PORTER family was visiting the manufacture. The palatial headquarters are modern, clean and providing the employees with a wonderful work environment. Initially established at the castle in Solomeo, the company was relocated to the valley below to completely newly constructed buildings.

The beautiful grounds of the company.

The ancient medieval buildings in the center of Solomeo now host the classrooms of the School of Contemporary Arts and Crafts –  a tuition-free arts school to teach traditional skills like gardening and, of course, tailoring, set up in 2013.

Happily reminded of my own fashion design studies.

Brunello’s wife Federica was born in Solomeo and ran a small clothing shop there in the village. During their early engagement in 1978, Brunello came across the idea to venture into a knitwear business with colorful cashmere sweaters. His first success, he told me, started in the German-speaking market, that showed a huge interest and appreciation for this unprecedented proposition and this allowed his company to quickly emerge. Cucinelli is no ordinary Italian fashion magnate. Today it is a cashmere empire selling luxury goods in the top segment with 7,000 employees and a turnover of €200m, but Cucinelli is also known for his «humanistic» approach to capitalism, based on respect for people and nature. In  the manufacture you can experience this approach fully.

When you enter the main building, you pass by the advertising campaign photo for F/W 2014 in which you see a long table in the Umbrian countryside with all the employees lined up for dinner. It was an actual photo taken during a company’s event. The quote for the picture: «All things come from the Earth.» – Xenophanes. Brunello Cucinelli is one big family!

Every day at midday, the entire staff is invited to the cafeteria for a family-style lunch complete with several courses, wine, and beautiful views of the Umbrian hills. Creating a nourishing work environment for body and soul is something that is very dear to Brunello Cucinelli. Around 5.30pm the power goes off and workers are encouraged not to work long hours and write after-hours e-mails. For Brunello Cucinelli being away from work is an important part of being effective at work.

The fashion designer, a lover of history, philosophy and country life, has also opened the doors to his office for us. A very intimate and welcoming gesture that impressed me. I entered a neat and tidy space, yet full of life. The books in the shelves are not only for decoration, Brunello indulges in them, always on the hunt for a great quote of inspiration. The room is also filled with articles about him and his company. Photos of his beautiful family add the personal touch. The view is spectacular, overlooking the beautiful tranquil Umbrian scenery.

Walking through the manufacture, I experienced the different steps of creating a stunning cashmere piece along with the impressive quality control. Once you see all the craftsmanship that goes into one item, you will appreciate it even more.

Later we went to «The Parco della Bellezza» on the outskirts of the village, at the grandly titled monument «Tribute To Human Dignity», a classically styled exedra with five arches, built from travertine. The creation stems from Brunello Cucinelli’s desire to leave a legacy behind that will stand the test of time, a symbol of his commitment to mankind and to create a park that could give new life to the breathtaking landscape of the valley below Solomeo. It also boasts a multitude of orchards, as well as wheat and sunflower plantations; it comprises a plant nursery, a naturalistic area, an olive grove with an olive oil mill, and a vineyard with a wine cellar that hosts an impressive collection of Italian wines.

Brunello Cucinelli concluded his speech to the World’s Great Leaders on the occasion of the G20 last year with this phrase: «From the time of Plato, through all the medieval scholastic philosophy, and then in the Enlightenment, up to idealism, positivism, existentialism and finally to the present day, the usefulness of contact with something beautiful, be it a painting, a book, or a landscape, is the seed from which the tree of wisdom grows, that wisdom that the human being cannot do without for their best life.»

At the Brunello Cucinelli company, treating people well is at the core of everything, and fostering a beautiful culture is as important as producing the most beautiful clothes. It seems that Italians really do it better or as Giuseppe Verdi said: «You may have the universe, if I may have Italy

TO SHOP BRUNELLO CUCINELLI AT NET-À-PORTER. CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht
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A Weekend in Umbria with Brunello Cucinelli

Being part of the NET-À-PORTERicon family comes with many privileges. It is my favorite online shopping destination, not only because of the great selection and the absolutely wonderful and outstanding personal shopping team, that always takes the best care of me, but also for all the amazing experiences and trips, plus all the wonderful people I met during these journeys.

As one of NET-À-PORTERicon‘s most loyal clients and someone with a passion for Italian craftsmanship, I was invited to join the team for a one-of-a-kind trip to Solomeo, the homeland of Brunello Cucinelli. Alongside my guest of choice, which was my fiancé, I was invited to an intimate tour of the manufacture and opportunity to explore Solomeo – a beautiful hamlet meticulously restored over the last 20 years. In addition, the MR PORTER Managing Director Fiona Firth co-hosted a dinner with Mr Brunello Cucinelli himself.

A warm welcome in our beautiful hotel room.

We arrived Thursday evening in Florence, where a car was waiting to take us to our hotel in Umbria, the Borgo Dei Conti Resort. After we quickly freshened up, we went down to meet the lovely NET-À-PORTER team for drinks ahead of a wonderful dinner.

Stay tuned for all my amazing experieneces during this trip. We had a private tour of Brunello Cuccinelli’s headquarters and manufacture, and  joined Mr. Brunello Cucinelli himself for an intimate dinner in his home in Solomeo. On Saturday morning, we went on an incredible tour of Assisi, followed shortly afterwards by a lunch. In the evening we had another amazing dinner in the surroundings of Solomeo before departing on Sunday morning.

I am so grateful for all the memories and encounters during this weekend that I will happily share with you during the next days. Thank you, Brunello Cucinelli, MR PORTER and NET-À-PORTER, for this amazing experience!

LoL, Sandra

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

A British Countryside Tradition

Last weekend, I followed NET-A-PORTERicon and Purdey‘s invitation to go to the English countryside for a day of clay shooting – something that I had never done before. Being a very good customer at the online shopping destination means you get invited to very special experiences and this one was one of them.

As you might imagine, I was very excited about this trip and what to dress. I googled «Duchess of Cambridge in the countryside» and this inspired me to this country style look. As my house is still a big construction side, it became pretty challenging to find the boxes with my wellington boots and rain coats in storage. However I managed!

It’s important to dress appropriately, to make sure you stay warm, and dry throughout. You won’t have fun if you’re soaked through on the first drive, nor will you enjoy yourself if your swing is being hindered by your Mackintosh. I really liked my outfit that I put together with many layers that were comfortable and warm. A detailed post will follow.

Founded in England in 1814, James Purdey & Sons, or simply Purdey, is a British gunmaker based in London, specialising in high-end bespoke sporting shotguns and rifles. Purdey holds three Royal Warrants of appointment as gun and rifle makers to the British and other European royal families. The company also produces ready-to-wear and accessories.

Twinning with my lovely Alli from the Net-à-Porter team.

Being always at the forefront of advances in the design and building of guns and rifles, Purdey took out several patents for technical innovations over the years, of which many were adopted by other gunmakers.

In 1882 the company moved from Oxford Street to new premises on the corner of South Audley Street and Mount Street, where the company remains to this day.

Whilst James Purdey & Sons is best known as a maker of shotguns, it also produces rifles, both double-barrelled and bolt-action. The guns are custom-made, largely by hand. They are extremely expensive. A new Purdey shotgun starts at around £89000 and can be customized with special engravings. This one in the photo above costs around £120000.

In 2018, Purdey acquired the Royal Berkshire Shooting Group, which includes also the The Royal Berkshire Shooting School where the event took place. Located around 1.5 hours from Central London, the Shooting School is recognized as the finest facility of its kind, employing eight full time, professional shooting instructors and having one of the most expansive shooting grounds in the country.

As this was my first time shooting, I was accompanied by an instructor who provided me with the safety measures and guided me round the school to make sure I could access the full range of stands that are on offer. Shooting can become very addictive. I hit the clay on my third trial and was over the moon.

I had so much fun with Alli and Harry from my Net-à-Porter family.

Shooting is a sociable sport. It is best shared among friends, old or new. I loved spending the day together with my Net-à-Porter family and getting to know new people.

When the wind turned up, it got pretty chilly and I was very thankful for the warm tea and for the lovely lunch after the clay shooting. A huge thank you to Iona and her team for the great organization.

I had an amazing day filled with unforgettable memories.

LoL, Sandra

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

Jimmy Choo x Mugler

A collaborative fusion of two house styles founded on visions of powerful femininity and daring glamour. Since it was announced, there has been a lot of buzz about Jimmy Choo joining forces with Mugler. The exclusive collection reveals a confident sensuality through a mix of strong colours, streamlined silhouettes and daring details.

YOU CAN SHOP THE COLLABORATION ONLINE HERE or AT JIMMYCHOO.COM.

Personally speaking I love these Mugler embellished leather pumpsicon

… and am completely obsessed with these Mugler sock ankle boots.

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LoL, Sandraiconicon

Photos: © Jimmy Choo / Mugler
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise. 

NET-A-PORTER Teams Up with Klarna

Great news for all shopaholics: NET-A-PORTER has partnered with Klarna to bring their customers new ways to pay at checkout.

Klarna spreads the cost into 4 interest-free instalments. Only pay for what you keep. Pay up to 30 days later. No interest. No fees. No impact to your credit score. Paying after delivery allows you to try before you buy and is the easiest way to shop online.

For your security, with Klarna, you are always covered through Klarna’s Buyer Protection policy. Modern safeguards protect your information to prevent unauthorised purchases.

START SHOPPING AT NET-A-PORTER WITH KLARNA HEREicon!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © NET-A-PORTER and © Sandra Bauknecht
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise. Please spend responsibly. Borrowing more than you can afford could seriously affect your financial status. Make sure you can afford to make your monthly repayments on time.

25 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for beauty enthusiasts and skincare aficionados this festive season, then look no further than NET-A-PORTER’s ’25 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar’. Expertly curated and valued at over €1500.00, every drawer is packed with full-size and mini versions of best-selling products, from party-ready makeup by Charlotte Tilbury and Victoria Beckham Beauty, to cult lotions, serums and masks from Omorovicza, Sunday Riley and Oribe.

Available for only €295.00 from October 11, 2021 in the UK, all other European countries from Mid October. Mark your calendar and CLICK HERE TO SHOP IT THEN.

LoL, Sandra


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

Gucci Resort Exclusive Shoppers

In recent times, traveling has become something special. We are not taking it for granted anymore. Luxury is a way of life. This GUCCI knows very well, that is why the Italian brand has created a tote bag inspired by different summer hot spots in the world.

Crafted in the style of a retro postcard, each shopper is personalized with colors, trims and a leather tag unique to the location it represents. A bag as unique as the memories of that place and your way of showing where you have been besides your Instagram account. My mantra? Bags speaks louder than photos… haha!

Those shoppers are all exclusive editions, there are only a few pieces available of each model, which can only be purchased, of course, in the destination in which they are inspired. The exclusivity and uniqueness of each bag is aligned with its distinguished design, with beachy and somewhat vintage airs. Just a few models can be purchased on the GUCCI website along with some other limited edition ready-to-wear pieces and shoes as well as on NET-A-PORTER.

Cannes, Capri, Ibiza, Mykonos, Phuket, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, Hawaii, among others, GUCCI’s new tote bag travels the world, embodying the essence of different destinations; one of them, Saint Tropez where I have been spending part of my summer. This is the only model that doesn’t carry the main motif of the design, the name of the destination engraved in gold on leather in the center. The sales person at the GUCCI store in Saint-Tropez explained to me that they didn’t get permission of the city to use it. I found this one the most special beause of the exclusion and also because of the stunning color combination of pink and orange which I love.

Summer has been and always will be that invitation to enjoy the little things: enjoy the rays of the sun that become energy for our spirit or a breeze that refreshes our soul. Now you can carry a bag that was part of a summer that will hopefully always be worth remembering.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Gucci and © Sandra Bauknecht
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise.

New Watch Addiction: Maillon de Cartier

Time is the most valuable asset, which is not the only reason I am investing in watches. I am such a watch aficionado. Even with the rise of iPhones and other digital devices that are better suited to record time, I prefer wearing analogue watches and their sales continue to spike year over year.

Watches were originally seen as a status symbol for men, a way to express their personal style. Now that gender tropes have become passé, women are breaking down the doors of the all-boys club. And I am loving it! When it comes to watches, I like buying across sectors, from diamond-encrusted smaller-case sizes, to mechanical masculine watches. I think of them as investments for every day: wearing beautiful outfits plus the kind of timeless-with-a-twist watch that goes wherever you do.

My newest addition to my watch wardrobe is this beautiful Maillon de Cartier 16mm 18-karat white gold diamond watchicon that I ordered at Net-à-Porter. Subtly feminine, the beautiful watch bracelet is like a piece of jewelry lending modern edge to just about anything you wear them it. I love to combine it with the Clash de Cartier bracelet MM in white gold which is finally available in size 14. It is all about duality, contradictions, and when it comes to the best timepiece, remember it is always time to invest.

More watches to come soon …

LoL, Sandra

iconPhotos: © David Biedert Photography, © Rian Davidson and © DaydreamStudio
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise.

International Women’s Day

After a year like no other, supporting and celebrating feels more important than ever for NET-A-PORTER that showcase their #PowerToChange commitment by collaborating with incredible female designers to create an exclusive INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EDITicon, reflecting the designers’ personal interpretation of female empowerment. 13 exclusive pieces across ready-to-wear, lifestyle and jewelry, with 100 percent of the NET-A-PORTER profits donated to Women for Women International, helping women living in war-torn countries rebuild their lives and creating lasting change in their communities.

To showcase these 13 exclusive fabulous pieces, some incredible women have been invited to wear these T-shirts with pride, among them supermodel, mother, writer and activist Coco Rocha, Interior designer, culinary storyteller and entertaining expert Athena Calderone and Model, student and co-author of Mixed Feelings, Naomi Shimada, just to name a few.

The exclusive collection consists of nine T-shirts, designed by Stella McCartney, Emilia Wickstead, Westman Atelier, Tove, Anya Hindmarch, Jennifer Fisher, Simone Rocha, Amina Muaddi and Ninety Percent; jewelry by Roxanne Assoulin and Alighieri, and homeware by Anissa Kermiche.

Model and LGBTQ+ campaigner Teddy Quinlivan sports Westman Atelier’s FORCE FEMININE’ T-shirt.

«Nothing is more powerful than women connecting, inspiring and advocating for
each other which is why I’m so honored to be supporting Women for Women International. We have to invest in those who are held back by social, cultural and economic inequality. Women are the driving force of change.» – Gucci Westman / Wetsman Atelier

Author, writer and founder of Gal-Dem – the award-winning media company committed to sharing the perspectives of people of color from marginalized communities – Liv Little is wearing the Tove ‘Womanhood’ embroidered T-shirticon.

In addition to the donation of 100 percent of profits from the sales within this collection, for every public post tagged #PowerToChange, @womenforwomen and @netaporter on TikTok or Instagram, between now to March 8, 2021, NET-A-PORTER will donate $1 to Women for Women International.  I encourage you to take part in this, so please do share your posts and pledges!

TO SHOP THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EDIT, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

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

Best Pieces on Sale at Net-à-Porter

Net-à-Porter has some amazing pieces on sale at the moment, up to 60% off. I put together a list of the must-haves I got for myself as I know I will treasure them for many seasons to come and so will you…

To shop, just click on the highlighted product description.

LoL, Sandra

A beautiful and classic coat for many years to keep:
Eliona belted hooded merino wool-blend coat by The Row (50%off)

Eye-catching and vibrant, this jacket will be your favorite this spring:
Double-breasted leather coat by Valentino (50% off)


iconBe prepared for the next Christmas celebration in style and any other party of course:
Lace-up satin mini dressicon by Dolce & Gabbana (50% off)

This piece will elevate every outfit to another level of style:
Grosgrain-trimmed wool-blend felt cap
 by Saint Laurent (30% off)

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Classic polka dots are always a great choice:
Ruffled polka-dot silk-georgette mini skirt by Balmain (60% off)


iconThe perfect pair of black boots:
Suede knee boots by The Attico (30% off)

A vintage-inspired dress is a great option for your next luncheon:
iconRuffled polka-dot silk midi dress by Alessandra Rich (50% off)


The perfect pair of heels:icon
Aria 105 suede pumps by Aquazzura (40% off)

Get a pair of statement earrings for your next black tie event:
 Impatiens silver-tone crystal clip earrings by Oscar de la Renta (30% off)

Try this trend now on sale (for the previous post, click here):
Tie-detailed leather tapered pants 
by Dolce & Gabbana (50% off)
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Photos: Courtesy of the Brands
DISCLOSURE: We may earn commission from links on this page, but I only recommend products I love. Promise.