Hoshinoya Hotel Tokyo – a brand new old-style Ryokan

The Hoshinoya opened in 2016

Today’s post is once again influenced by my love for Japan, Tokyo and the amazing buildings that you can find there.

Riddle me this: You do construction work in a multi-million people city and find a natural hot spring. What do you do with it?

Answer: You do some more construction work and put a multi-million-yen building on top of it, call it a traditional-yet-modern Japanese Inn and connect the hot-spring up to the 17th floor.

This is very close to what really happened in downtown Tokyo very recently. The result is the magnificent Hoshinoya Hotel right smack in the middle of Tokyo’s business district Otemachi – a 5-star treat with a real Japanese flair.

The Telegraph describes the interiors:

“A clever addition to Tokyo’s hotel scene, the city’s first luxury ryokan fuses contemporary design and traditional craftsmanship with high-tech touches. The tower is encased in a black metal grid repeating a traditional Japanese kimono motif.

Inside, there is a dramatic double-height genkan entrance with a seasonal flower display, indigo walls, sliding paper screens, expanses of aromatic Japanese wood and modern-style cotton jersey kimono outfits for guests.

The 84 guestrooms are split into groups of six on 14 floors – with each floor resembling a self-contained ryokan inn, with its own Ochanoma lounge. Here, at a communal wooden table or on low sofas, staff serve o nigiri rice balls, coffee, tea or seasonal sakes.”



Hoshinoya is good at hospitality and excellent service, because that is what Japan is good at. In the style of a tradition al Ryokan (Guesthouse or Inn) the staff takes care of the guest and makes sure that he or she longs for nothing. This concept is known as “omotenashi” in Japanese and it is truly lived to its fullest potential.

Omotenashi - long-for-nothing at the Hoshinoya.

Omotenashi – long-for-nothing at the Hoshinoya.


What does it cost to whatch your dreams on a fluffy futon, after soaking in the Onsen, enjoying a dinner delight of the most delicious traditional Japanese cuisine and staff bringing you tea and slippers before bed time? It will be in the region of $590 to $1000, depending on season and room options. But remember: When you are there, you must take off your shoes at the entrance and show your best manners.

Sliding washi screens and tatami mats with soft futon beds make up the standard room at the Hoshinoya Hotel.

Sliding washi screens and tatami mats with soft futon beds make up the standard room at the Hoshinoya Hotel.


Shoe x Floor competition

Good evening guys and dolls!

This post is going to be about foot-candy: SHOES! I’ve been following an amazing guy on Instagram who photographs incredibly beautiful Parisian floors and his two feet in funky shoes standing just at the edge of them.

This week he is doing a competition to win some Net-a-Porter shoes where you have to do a similar shot of shoes and an interesting floor. So here is my go at it. Let me know what you think! I will try to post some more in the following days, just because this is great fun.

I have already spotted a few interesting textures whilst strolling through Munich today….

Olga xx


1) Prada sparkly mules


2) My beloved golden Coccinelle Roman sandals which I bought in Milano a long time ago.


3) These are my brand-new Repetto ballet flats, the famous “Cendrillon” model in patent “Flamingo” pink!


Sad news: Sonia Rykiel has passed away


What sad news! Sonia Rykiel has passed away today in Paris at the age of 86.

Her daughter Nathalie Rykiel stated to the press:

«Ma mère est décédée cette nuit à Paris, chez elle, à 5 heures du matin, des suites de la maladie de Parkinson». This means that she has passed on at her home, at 5 am, from the effects of Parkinson’s disease.

Although 86 is a ripe age that anyone can wish to see, it is terribly sad to see a huge talent, innovator and inspiring person leave. Sonia Rykiel catered to – as Vogue just wrote – Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Hepburn. Her influence on fashion was so immense that in 2009, she was awarded The Order of Légion d’Honneur in recognition of her 40 years of service in the French fashion industry.

The milestones of her career included the Poor Boy Sweater, which was conceived during her pregnancy (pun intended!). In 1962, unable to find soft sweaters to wear during her pregnancy, she began to design her own sweaters. Rykiel then created her first maternity dresses and a tiny sweater, called the Poor Boy Sweater which made the cover of ELLE fashion magazine, and brought Rykiel fame.

She was also one of the first fashionistas who put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on them. Her designs featured long clinging sweaters or small cropped pullovers along with long scarves.

Sonia Rykiel is also one of the most famous Jewish designers of high fashion, as Haaretz has reported. She was responsible for the colourful stripes and colour-blocking in her quirky yet romantic and typically French designs. She is also forever remembered for her flaming red coif which she wore until her old age.

In 2010, she collaborated with H&M and brought out a youthful and funk collection.


Although I was struck down with flu, my friend dragged me along to Bahnhofstrasse in downtown Zurich, insisting I should buy a few pieces of the collection before it is completely sold out. Below is a memory of that day, with me wearing the sweater and beret, whilst sitting in the kitchen. Thank you Sonia for your hard work all these years! May you rest in peace.



rs_634x821-160107082145-634.Crawford-Campbell-Schiffer-Balmain-Kf.1716Image source here.


After a shockwave of “fashion in the wake of Brexit” articles were posted by practically all fashion news sites, I am happy to pick up on some good news, on the European mainland mind you.

Balmain oh so French, is now Balmain-bin-Nasser. On 22nd of June, my favourite Arab business woman and former queen, or as her full title goes Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, has purchased 100% of Balmain.

This comes after a very successful takeover of Valentino a few years ago, through her investment firm Mayhoola.

Mr Valentino Garavani

Mr Valentino Garavani – image source here.

Now for the case of Valentino, Sheikha Mozah saved the company from huge losses, because private equity firm Permira didn’t seem to know the difference between some chiffon and a chignon.


Permira was – just as any private equity money shark – in it for a quick fix, a profit after taking a company over for a few years and then selling it on. Although highly successful with other business endeavours, they became the laughing stock of the fashion industry.




The royal Quatari however, brought Valentino back to life, because she understood the importance of the creative vision and the intricacies of a luxury fashion house. It was under her supervision that superstar designer duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli.

Damon Buffini, Social Business Trust

Damon Buffini, founder of Permira private equity firm, taking a guess. Image source here.

Take a guess: Which one is the chiffon and which one the chignon?

Which one is the chiffon and which one the chignon?In this context I am really excited to see what the royal style queen will do with Balmain and how the company might grow and thrive under her supervision. I am also curious to see if she will wear Balmain as much as she wears Valentino!

Sheikha bint Nasser in a Velentino dress.

The stunning Sheikha bint Nasser in a Velentino dress. Image source and more images of her amazing style here.


If you are keen to read some more about this, please sse below an article which appeared on Fashion United:

Mayhoola, the Qatar’s sovereign fun has just acquired the French fashion house Balmain, The group already own Italian luxury powerhouse Valentino.

“After completing this transaction Mayhoola for Investments will hold 100 percent of Balmain’s capital,” said the merger and acquisitions company Bucephale Finance, reported Reuters.

As published by ‘Les Echos’, the Qatari fund would have reportedly offered 485 million euros for Balmain, which to date was mostly (70 percent) in the hands of the heirs of the former CEO, Alain Hivelin, who died in December 2014. The remaining 30 percent of the company’s capital is held by management.

Market sources have explained that the reported Qatari offer was higher than sale estimates of 300 to 400 million euros. Under the terms of the agreement, Mayhoola agreed to finance Balmain’s international expansion as well as the development of an accessories line, add sources close to the matter.

Qatari fund Mayhoola buys Balmain from former CEO’s heirs

The transactions puts an end to months of negotiation between the Qatari sovereign fund –supported by the emir of Qatar – and the fashion label current investors, who include Sanofi co-founder Jean-Francois Dehecq and the family of former chief executive and controlling shareholder Alain Hivelin, who passed away in 2014.

Founded in 1945 by designer Pierre Balmain, his namesake brand has gone through various creative and financial crisis, lately enjoying added momentum following the leadership of Pierre Decarnin, a former stylist at Paco Rabanne, came on board in 2006 and relaunched the brand, catching the attention of several Hollywood stars.

Hivelin revived Balmain, which was near bankruptcy in 2004. It’s noteworthy that Balmain remains one of the very few remaining major independent fashion labels In France, along with Lanvin and Hermès.

Sources quoted by Reuters estimate that Balmain generated around 130 million euros in sales in 2015, with sales growing by 25 percent.

The final price, which is unlikely to be disclosed, will depend on how much cash the existing shareholders will take out of the company, highlights ‘The Guardian’.

Market sources have pointed out that, being the final price tag 460 million euros, the Qataris would be valuing Balmain at around 14 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda)

Mayhoola is an investment vehicle supported by Sheikha Mozah, the second wife of the former emir, which already owns Valentino and holds controlling stakes in Italian tailor Pal Zileri and British fashion brand Anya Hindmarch.

Original source: https://fashionunited.com/executive/management/valentino-s-owner-buys-balmain-for-485-million-euros/2016062211774




Who is at Jean-Paul Gaultier’s fashion show?


I have not written in a while and my excuse is the mountain of work which accompanies my academic life at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love the work I do, but it is very time comsuming so that bloggig needs its own time window. Which is NOW!


In January, I got to visit the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition “From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” in the Kunsthalle Munich which incidentally was its last stop during a long journey accross the world. There are many amazing creations which I took pictures of and will share with you. But let me begin with the front row. It was recreated in a room that featured a life-size catwalk. Jean-Paul Gaultier’s first row of course, consists of the most important names of the fashion world – and they are all dressed in his designs. The famous first row guests were spectacular because they had a blank face without any features and were still recognizable by their hairstyle, dress and posture. So who IS at JPG’s fashion?

Can you guess from looking at the image? The answer is just below each picture!


Emmanuelle Alt

Emmanuelle Alt


Grace Coddington

Grace Coddington


Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve


Carine Roitfeld

Carine Roitfeld


Christiane Arp

Christiane Arp


Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour


Babeth Djian

Babeth Djian


Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian and dress detail



Kim Kardashian's dress - pocket detail



Nana Mouskouri

Nana Mouskouri


Franca Sozzani

Franca Sozzani


Suzy Menkes

Suzy Menkes

A reversible business suit from the Saint Martins Days

This post is a blast from the past when I was a student at Central Saint Martins in London! In 2004, my wonderful and talented friend and fellow-student Fred (now head buyer at Layers London) created a capsule collection for the modern working woman.

Beautiful pattern on the inside of the jacket.

Beautiful pattern on the inside of the jacket.


His concept was to create immaculate tailoring, the sort of outfit one would wear to work in the office, with a hidden gem on the iside: All the garments would have speacial linings, features and prints which would make them suitable garments for a night out! The woman in Fred’s clothes would be able to use the same outfit for the day and night, looking fabulous on every occasion. All she’d have to do is reverse the outfit.

He asked me to model the clothes for him, so here you can see photos of me about 11 years ago! We did the photo shoot on the premises of the CSM building in Southampton row which has since closed down when CSM moved to a brand new campus. Enjoy the blast from the past (click on the images to enlarge) and feel free to leave your valuable comments! Olga xx

A Hierarchy of Needs for the Fashion Design Student

Dear Readers! Below is an article which I wrote for http://www.wornthrough.com, an academic blog on fashion, where I am a regular contributor. Please let me know your thoughts! Thanx. XXX


Recently I was asked to hold a speech in academic circles on the needs of a fashion design student and speak about what a modern fashion design program should offer.


I am a great admirer of Abraham Maslow, the psychologist who is famous for inventing the hierarchy of needs for humans and I took inspiration from him to prepare my speech.

Acording to the original structure by Maslow, our needs are arranged in a pyramid, starting with the most essential ones at the bottom.

If you do not have air to breathe, water and food, then you cannot exist.

Only after this need has been fullfilled you can move on to the next step and worry about clothing and shelter.

After this you can think about family, friends and being part of society.

If this need has been met you might worry about your self-esteem needs.

Ultimately and only after all other needs have been met, you can self-actualize and become what you really want to be. This might include art and design, or travel, be creative and engage in personal development.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

But for fashion design, I turned the pyramid upside down. I believe that any artist or designer has to self-actualize as a basis.

The fashion designer has to be a creative and artistic person first and foremost, always ready to express him or herself. Only if this basic need is met, the individual can embark on a fashion design program and grow into a successful designer. If someone is not creative by nature, not interested in making, shaping, drawing, collaging, sewing, experimenting, expressing oneself and striving for personal growth – he or she might not be suitable to study fashion design.

My pyramid thus looks like this:

My Hierarchy of Needs for Fashion Design Student

My Hierarchy of Needs for Fashion Design Student

It begins with an artistic nature, creativity and self-expression,

moves up to technical design skills and craftsmanship (which is so vital to be able to thrive in the fashion world),

and then moves on to the understanding of the industry. This includes understanding of vital industy elements such as sourcing, textile productions, supply-chains, buying and retailing, fashion promotion, trend forecasting, branding etc…These are the types of jobs a fashion design graduate might also work in, apart from pure design. If the graduate remains in a pure design role – whether its the very own brand or a larger company – he or she must comprehend the scope and interconnections of this particular industry.

These are the three basic steps that I believe are vital for a fashion design student.

The next two levels are optional: Research, topped by lecturing may well be an act of self-actualization by an accomplished designer who is ready to give back to the next generations and share the secrets of his or her success!

Have you ever considered what the needs of a fashion design student might be and how they build up on each other? Do you have similar or different views? Please share your opinion!