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: Summer Kick-Off

Last week, I was invited by Veuve Cliquot to kick off the summer season with the launch of the new Veuve Clicquot Petit Rich! Those small 20cl bottles are currently available exclusively at Samigo Amusement in Zurich. For more information on the champagne, click here for a previous post.

Black lace is such a hot trend right now and will even be bigger for F/W 2019. Snap up a piece and make the right fashion statement.

My look: Pussy-bow lace blouseicon, and pleated lace midi skirt, both by Christopher Kanewool twill jacketred Janis pumps, and Monogram fringed shoulder bag, all by Saint Laurent, red suede belt iconby Yves Saint Laurentgold-tone Swarovski crystal broochicon by Gucci, and Mitza ring by Dior Fine Jewellery.

LoL, Sandra

Event photos and photos of me at the event: © David Biedert Photography
Photos in garden: © Sandra Bauknecht

My Look: Girl Power

This is my outfit I wore for my speech at the Creative Women Conference. Taking photos outside the newly opened Parklane Luxury Collection Resort & Spa in Limasso was really hard as the wind was blowing in full force. I wanted to show you how beautiful this floral dress looks in the back as it has draping inside that lifts the fabric like a curtain.

My look: Cropped knitted cardigan by Alaïaicongathered floral-print cotton-poplin gown by Alexander McQueen, red suede belt iconby Yves Saint Laurent, platform leather pumps by Gucci, magazine-print leather pouch by Balenciaga, and white camelia sunglasses by Chanel.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknechticon

My Look: Travelling to São Paulo

For this year’s Easter weekend, I flew to São Paulo and I cannot wait to share my experiences from this amazing, vibrant city. Here you see me at Zurich airport stretching a little before the long flight. When I am flying, I love to stay comfortable and in this case, I also went for a shirt with pockets to store the most important things close to my body. Everybody warned me how dangerous São Paulo is going to be but I have to admit I experienced it completely differently. Clean and safe. More to come soon….

My look: Fringed wool-jacquard cardigan by Etro, black oversized jersey dress by Miu Miuoversized cotton military shirt by Balmain, Helda stretch-scuba leggings by The Row, Soho mini textured-leather shoulder bag by Gucci, vintage Muse Large leather toteicon by Yves Saint Laurent, and Triple S sneakers by Balenciaga.

Flying for 3 days to São Paulo and back can be challenging for your skin. My avid readers know my secret weapon: LA MER’s The Concentrate that helps with all sort of skin irritations. If you are shopping on the Swiss website, don’t forget to use the promo code sandralamer that has been extended until April 30, 2019. If you spent more than CHF 150, you will receive a LA MER Pouch with a Deluxe Soft Cream 7ml (CHF 45.00) and a Deluxe Cleansing Foam 30ml (CHF 30.00). PLEASE CLICK HERE TO BE TRANSFERRED TO THE ONLINE SHOP DIRECTLY.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

YSL Beauty Hotel at Manor in Zurich

YSL Beauté inaugurates an ephemeral space in Zurich: the #YSLBEAUTYHOTEL where each room and suite are dedicated to the Parisian brand’s ‘beauty’ pleasures. You can visit this fun pop-up space at MANOR in Zurich until April 13, 2019.

So let me take you through the YSL BEAUTY HOTEL, a true temple for beauty addicts that I visited on Monday before the official launch.

First, guests register in the lobby and receive their key, which opens the door to the extraordinary experience downstairs in the department store. If you are lucky, you can open the vault with your key and win some amazing surprises.

Artistic, intimate and mysterious, at the Beauty Bar you can discover the novelties and the intoxicating Black Opium scent. In the bedroom, you will find the perfect look for your lips and you can engrave your lipstick or perfume bottle as I did. A graffiti artist decorates the YSL products and gift boxes with intrepid colors. A unique personalization service that makes every product or gift unique.

Great news is that you can attend a masterclass where the YSL Beauté make-up artists share their secrets. It is always fun to learn new techniques. I truly enjoyed mine with Jérémy Mahfoud. Alone or with friends, make an appointment today, by calling +41 78 655 27 86.

Last but not least, break your Instagram. Lights, camera, action! Special photo corners invite you to snap the perfect shot and to share them on your social media channels under #YSLBEAUTYHOTEL. The concept reminds me a lot of the Stylenanda Pink Hotel in Seoul, that I visited past October.

Enjoy your stay – Happy Beautolidays!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © David Biedert Photography

Jean Luc Amsler: Zurich

«Sassy, rather rebellious, Jean Luc Amsler will always be there where we least expect him.»

Franco-Swiss fashion designer JEAN LUC AMSLER was born in Switzerland in the mid-1960’s. After his studies, he moved to Antwerp and then to Paris, where he started his fashion career in the mid 1980’s. He gained experience by working at renowned houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Louis Scherrer, Christian Dior and Cartier, just to name a few. By 1992, Jean Luc felt that he had reached the point where he could design for himself, and he started his own eponymous couture brand in Paris.

For us, he shares his insider scoop on the city I live in with us, ZURICH. With the stunning backdrop of the Swiss Alps, the city offers a unique mixture of attractions. Jean Luc’s tips are absolutely great – even I have discovered something I didn’t know about before. Enjoy!

Your favourite city?
ZURICH, because it is my grand father’s city.

Your favourite hotel?
THE DOLDER GRAND, where I presented my first show in 1994.
Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zurich, Phone +41 44 456 60 00

Your favourite restaurant?
KRONENHALLE, I still have great memories there with Gustav Zumsteg in 1995.
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich, Phone +41 44 262 99 00

Zurich, 1979. Yves Saint Laurent with Gustav Zumsteg’s mother Hulda Zumsteg (left) at Kronenhalle.

(Gustav Zumsteg was the owner of the restaurant Kronenhalle until his death in 2005. Moreover, he had worked his way up from the level of apprentice to chief designer at the traditional silk company Abraham, which he later acquired. Zumsteg collaborated with renowned Parisian fashion houses, such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and most of all Yves Saint Laurent, with whom he became very close.)

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
TINA BAR, for its selective cocktail menu and the cosy atmosphere. It’s also in the middle of the old town, a great area to walk around and get lost during the night.
Niederdorfstr. 10, 8001 Zurich, Phone +41  44 250 76 80

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
LINDENHOF HILL, because there you can admire the whole city and also read a book in the park. A quiet spot in the heart of the city.
Lindenhof, 8001 Zurich

(The Lindenhof is a moraine hill and a public square in the historic center of Zurich. It is the site of the Roman and Carolingian era Kaiserpfalz around which the city has historically grown. The hilltop area -including its prehistoric, Roman, and medieval remains – is listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance.)

Your favourite park?
The BRUNO WEBER PARK. It’s like entering in a fairytale, a mix of art and fantasy.
Zur Weinrebe 3, 8953 Dietikon, Phone +41 44 740 02 71

Your favourite beach ?
COCOA BEACH, the perfect place for a drink when the sun goes down. It’s a little island on the roof of the city.
Förrlibuckstrasse 115, 8005 Zurich, Phone +41 43 444 40 50

Your favourite shop?
MARKENTUSSI in Zurich’s North, it is a heaven for vintage clothes and furniture. They carry Chanel, Louboutin… many Parisian brands.
Kornhausstrasse 43, 8037 Zurich, Phone +41 43 557 63 93

Your must-have accessory?
My glasses from VIU, I discovered this new Swiss designed eyewear brand and I love it!
Viu Flaghsip Store Zurich, Grüngasse 4, 8004 Zurich, +41 44 508 79 04

The best soundtrack for this destination?
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM composed by Clint Mansell for the eponymous movie, it represents dream and drama…

Annemarie Schwarzenbach (23 May 1908 – 15 November 1942)

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
LA QUÊTE DU RÉEL by Anne Marie Schwarzenbach, it means the quest of reality.

(Born in Zurich, Annemarie Schwarzenbach was a homosexual Swiss writer, journalist, photographer and traveler. Her father, Alfred, was a wealthy businessman in the silk industry. From an early age she began to dress and act like a boy, a behaviour not discouraged by her parents, and which she retained all her life. In fact in later life she was often mistaken for a young man.)

Thank you, Jean Luc Amsler, for sharing your insider scoop on Zurich with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Jean Luc Amsler, © Marianne Feilchenfeldt-Breslauer († 2001), © Richard Emler and courtesy of the different locations

My Look: Grecian Goddess in Provence

Mary Katrantzou has referenced her heritage for the first time for her S/S 2017 collection and I definitely couldn’t resist this «Hemera» dress which is printed with Grecian gods and has classic Cretan pottery patterns embroidered onto the shoulder straps. I teamed mine with a statement necklace and a striped cardigan on vacation in France.

My look: Hemera printed silk-georgette dressicon by Mary Katrantzou (40% off), floral-appliqué striped wool-blend cardiganicon by Gucci, gold-tone, tassel and stone necklace (50% off) by Etroicon, Elephant striped leather shoulder bag by Loewe, and vintage suede pumps by Yves Saint Laurent.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

YSL Volupté Tint-In-Balm

Two formulas; double the benefits. With Yves Saint Laurent‘s new VOLUPTÉ TINT-IN-BALM, sheer glowing color conspires with melt-on-the-mouth nourishing care, leaving a kiss of tint as the clue.

The texture is so buttery soft and its moisturizing effect also lasts a good few hours. It’s a great product for an effortless pout that leaves your lips nicely stained. Available in 12 shades:

N°1 Cream Me Nude, N°2 Tease Me Pink, N°3 Call Me Rose, N°4 Desire Me Pink, N°5 Dare Me Plum and N°6 Touch Me Red

N°7 Flirt Me Coral, N°8 Catch Me Orange, N°9 Tempt Me Pink, N°10 Seduce Me Pink, N°11 Play Me Fuchsia and N°12 Try Me Berry.

In stores now for CHF 48.00 each.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of YSL Beauty
#YSLBeauty #NotInnocent

My Look: In NYC for Kenzo x H&M

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Yesterday, before the big launch party at Pier 36 in NYC, I went to the H&M Showroom on Fifth Avenue for the press conference where I was able to explore the Kenzo x H&M collection and to speak with amazing Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. The interview and the report from the party last night will be coming up shortly.

My look: Blouse by Chloépleated brocade mini skirt iconand tiger-embroidered leather shoulder bag, both iconby Kenzo, multi colored suede sandals by Yves Saint Laurent, mirrored sunglasses by Chanel and diamond ring by Vainard Fine Jewellery.

LoL, Sandra

sandra_bauknecht_kenzoxhm_look_day1_carol_lim_humberto_leon-2In the showroom with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, Kenzo’s Creative Directors.

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Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

The Showstopper

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This is the ultimate showstopper. My object of desire. The everything. The heart shaped cape that Hedi Slimane presented as a tribute to the late designer at his last show (F/W 2016) for the brand. Yves Saint Laurent had reinvented endlessly the symbol of the heart and created endless love stories with it.

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TO SHOP THE HEART SHAPED FUR CAPE, VISIT LUISAVIAROMA OR MYTHERESA.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: Courtesy of Saint Laurent and Vogue.com