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Patek Philippe adds new watches to its women’s Twenty~4 line for 2021

Stacy Johnson



Patek Philippe adds new watches to its women’s Twenty~4 line for 2021

This year, Patek Philippe expanded its Twenty~4 wardrobe with three new models: two Automatics — one in steel (with an on-trend olive-green sunburst dial) and one in rose gold (also with a rose-gold sunburst dial) — plus a new quartz “manchette” (cuff) version in rose gold (with a chocolate-brown dial), which hearkens back to its original look from 1999.

Back in those days, women’s watches tended to be downscaled versions of men’s models, perhaps with a sprinkling of diamonds on the bezels to up the femininity quotient. Twenty~4 broke that rule as Patek’s first collection designed just for her. It soon became a runaway success — and a modern classic.

Launched in steel and rose gold with a Deco-inspired cambered rectangular case, Twenty~4 sparkled with a light dusting of diamonds on the vertical sides of the bezel. The dial was subtly punctuated by single diamond hour markers, except at 12 and 6 o’clock, which were marked with oversize applied Roman numerals. The smooth and supple link bracelet featured a wide central link, making a bold, contemporary statement. As its name suggests, Twenty~4’s strong identity was aimed at active, modern women who wanted a watch that could pivot from work to weekend to a formal dinner without skipping a beat. A high-precision quartz movement eliminated the need for winding and setting — who had time for that?

Twenty~4 remained a quartz-only collection for almost two decades. But President Thierry Stern eventually felt women deserved a mechanical movement, too. In 2018, the Twenty~4 Automatic launched in the fashion capital of Milan, underscoring the importance of style, even with a substantial movement.

Today’s Twenty~4 lets you have it your way with a choice of case shapes, dials and movements. In all, there are 12 variations, including nine Automatics in stainless steel and rose gold. 

Surprisingly, the Automatic bears little resemblance to the quartz version. The 36 mm case is conventionally round and doesn’t shy away from the razzle-dazzle, with 160 Top Wesselton diamonds set in two staggered rows using a “dentelle” (lacework) technique.

The applied luminous Arabic numerals on the dial are strong and assertive, both day and night, while a date window is framed at 6 o’clock, adding a complication into the mix. The polished metal bracelet, however, is familiar, carrying on the spirit of the original but with a new, patented fold-over clasp. Despite the radical redesign, the Automatic also appears poised for any occasion — equally chic with jeans or a LBD.

Inside, the Caliber 324 S C self-winding movement (which Stern described at the unveiling as “one of the best in the world, the most accurate, most famous and one of the thinnest,”) bears all the hand-finished details one expects from Patek Philippe. And you can admire them all through the clear sapphire crystal case back.

Last year, Patek updated the steel quartz version with applied Arabic numerals replacing the Roman ones at 12 and 6 o’clock, further connecting the two ranges. Applied trapezoid hour indexes also replaced the diamond hour markers, but the sides of the bezel still glitter — particularly on the rose-gold version, which is set with more than half a carat.

Today’s Twenty~4 lets you have it your way with a choice of case shapes, dials and movements. In all, there are 12 variations, including nine Automatics in stainless steel and rose gold. Among them is an iced-out high-jewelry version lavishly frosted with 3,238 randomly set (aka snow-set) diamonds, weighing in at over 17 carats.

The quartz “manchette” offerings include a pair of stainless-steel models along with this year’s 18-k rose-gold model, bringing the collection full circle. While the latest look echoes its ancestor from two decades ago, it rhymes, rather than repeats, for a new generation.

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Claudia Schiffer reveals what supermodel life was really like in the ’90s

Stacy Johnson



Claudia Schiffer reveals what supermodel life was really like in the ’90s

In 1987, Claudia Schiffer was dancing with some family friends in a nightclub in her hometown in Düsseldorf, Germany, when an agent approached the 17-year-old about becoming a model. A few months later, test shots in hand, she headed to Paris and into the exciting, glamorous world of fashion. She nabbed her first cover, for French ELLE, in 1989.

“It was an extraordinary period,” Schiffer told The Post about being one of the world’s top supermodels. “There was an incredible merging of … fashion, music, art and entertainment that made the era dynamic, exciting. The impossible became possible.”

Schiffer shot to international fame during the 1990s, appearing in a series of sexy and playful ads for Guess jeans, shot by her friend Ellen von Unwerth.

“I remember flying around the US to every major city for signings in department stores,” Schiffer recalled of her first campaign tour for Guess perfume in 1990. “I returned to my apartment in New York near Central Park, and one morning, sleepy-eyed with bed-head hair, I was in the elevator when a person entered and asked, ‘Are you the Guess girl?’ I knew then my life had changed forever.”

Schiffer poses next to an image of her younger self taken for a ’90s Guess campaign.Instagram

Now, Schiffer has shared some of her most famous shoots — plus behind-the- scenes ephemera — in a new exhibit at the Kunstpalast museum in Düsseldorf. “Captivate! Fashion Photography from the 1990s,” up through Jan. 9, 2022, is the model’s curatorial debut, featuring hundreds of pictures that illustrate the heady 1990s fashion scene through Schiffer’s eyes. A book based on the exhibit, edited by Schiffer and also called “Captivate!” [Prestel], will be available in the US on Jan. 25, 2022.

“It took a lot of patience — I mean, there were literally thousands of images to choose from,” said Schiffer. “What made it? What didn’t? I always asked myself, ‘Is this quintessentially ‘90s?’”  

“The 1990s was a watershed period that upturned ideals of beauty and fashion,” she added. “[There was] a huge shift in fashion moving away from the head-to-toe perfectionist glamour of the 1980s, towards a naturalism and minimalism. There was more freedom and individual expression. … I wanted ‘Captivate!’ to capture [that].”

Here, Schiffer tells the stories behind some of these captivating images. 

1989: Guess Jeans ad, shot by Ellen von Unwerth

Ellen von Unwerth

“I met Ellen in Paris, aged 17. We were both starting out and got on like a house on fire, just mucking around next to the Centre Pompidou [while I wore] my own clothes. Not long after, the Guess team saw the pictures and wanted us for the 1989 ad campaign.

We shot [the bicycle photo] with in Pisa, Italy, one glorious summer day. … Ellen really encouraged me to move around and express myself freely rather than hold a pose. Everything was very spontaneous, and I found myself balancing barefoot on the back of a bicycle, riding through the streets in a black swimsuit, as if off to a distant beach.

Those are the best shoots: You can be as silly and naughty as you want, because there’s trust.”

1990: Chanel campaign, shot by Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld

“[Chanel designer] Karl Lagerfeld came into my life when I was just 18. He had seen my first UK Vogue cover … and asked to see me. I entered his studio on the Rue Cambon [in Paris] full of nerves but, within hours I was being fitted for his new collection. We spoke in German and no one around us could understand, which he loved. There was an immediate sense of complicity, and I loved his sharp humor.

The next day, I was driving with the crew to Deauville to shoot my first Chanel campaign. I remember us bonding over the fact that we were the only two people full of energy at 3 in the morning.

The beach resort is part of Coco Chanel’s history, so it felt special to don her signature boater and easy tailoring and pose in front of ‘paparazzi.’

Lagerfeld loved his work. He often said he dreamed collections and he would wake up to sketch in the middle of the night. As a photographer as well, he was prolific and excelled at fashion portraiture. He was incredibly generous when taking photos, sharing his knowledge and his enthusiasm was infectious. What was remarkable is that he was always open to my input.

Karl taught me so much about fashion, culture, photography and he also advised me to remain true to myself and trust my instincts — those wise words remain with me. … What Warhol was to art, he was to fashion.”

1994: Versace post-runway, shot by Michel Comte

Michel Comte

Kirsty Hume (clockwise from left), Nadja ­Auermann, Nadège du Bospertus, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni, Christy Turlington, Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Brandi Quinones

“[This was] a high-energy, classic 1990s Versace moment. We went straight from the catwalk to shoot for Italian Vogue in Versace’s palazzo and on to a party together in the same aqua-toned dresses.

Group compositions are complex, and the skill is in directing everyone to work together. Michel Comte made it look spontaneous but there were numerous variations made over many hours before he arrived at the perfect shot. We shot this directly after the Versace show and from the moment of walking the runway right through to the end of the shoot, there was such great adrenaline, and that euphoric feeling stayed with us all throughout the shoot.

“It was a dream working with Gianni, Donatella and the Versace family. They were all so welcoming and Gianni had such a big heart and so much warmth. He turned his runway into a live show with choreography, great lighting effects and theatrical staging. I remember walking in one of his shows to a Prince track only to see Prince himself sitting in the front row … the atmosphere was electric.”

1993: US Vogue shoot, shot by Herb Ritts

Herb Ritts

“This group image of [clockwise from top left] Helena Christensen, Stephanie Seymour, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and myself is quintessential 1990s. It was from a US Vogue cover shoot by photographer Herb Ritts, who was a master at capturing natural moments and the camaraderie between us all.

I recall Helena [Christensen] and I discussing different types of licorice on the set. Denmark [where Helena is from] makes the best and fresh, and I remember asking her to bring some for me next time she went home.”

1994: “Captivate! Fashion Photography from the ’90s” book cover, shot by Richard Avedon for Versace

Nadja Auermann (from left), Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Stephanie Seymour 

”This Versace campaign, photographed by Richard Avedon, is iconic 1990s in its beauty, dynamism and glamour. … It embodies the fun and artistry of the supermodel era. On set, Avedon would bring in a choreographer who would teach us how to move. His practice was also to shoot alongside a mirror turned toward you, so that you could see yourself as he did. In that way you could truly collaborate in the creation of the shot, by getting a good idea of what was working, what wasn’t, and what you could change to make it better.”

“Captivate! Fashion Photography From the ’90s” edited by Claudia Schiffer is published by Prestel in hardback and available from Jan. 25, 2022, $69.95.  The exhibition curated by Claudia Schiffer will be at Kunstpalast Düsseldorf through Jan. 9, 2022. For more information, please visit

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Christian Dior’s sister was a WWII hero — and famous scent’s inspiration

Stacy Johnson



Christian Dior’s sister was a WWII hero — and famous scent’s inspiration

In 1947, Paris was still struggling after World War II, and the city was starved for beauty. And a 41-year-old designer named Christian Dior provided it, with his first fashion collection. 

As Dior’s elegant models strolled through his salon in extravagantly voluminous skirts and impossibly wasp-waisted jackets, they left a heady scent of rose and jasmine in their wake. 

That scent was the designer’s debut perfume, Miss Dior — named after his little sister, Catherine, sitting in the audience that day. Yet the real-life Miss Dior was no fashionista. A discreet, independent woman, she was happier mucking about in her garden in casual pants and button-downs than attending fashion shows in glamorous gowns. 

But a new book, “Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), out Nov. 9, reveals that the mysterious Catherine had quite a sensational life of her own. A member of the Resistance during World War II, Catherine was arrested by the Nazis, tortured and shipped off to various concentration camps before her liberation by Soviet soldiers. When she finally made it back to Paris — nearly a year after her capture — the 27-year-old was so emaciated that her brother didn’t even recognize her. 

Catherine Dior preferred life in the garden to fashion shows.

Even more remarkable: Catherine ended up rebuilding her life. She moved in with her married lover, started a cut-flower business and cultivated blooms for her brother’s perfumes until she died in 2008, at the age of 90. The Croix de Guerre she received for her bravery during the war praised her “great valour and admirable spirit.” 

“She didn’t want to be pitied,” one of her friends told author Justine Picardie. “She was the captain of her own soul.” 

Ginette Marie Catherine Dior was born in 1917, the youngest of five children of a prosperous Normandy family. Yet by the time Catherine was a teen, their father Maurice, a fertilizer manufacturer who had made some bad real-estate investments, had fallen on hard times. A few months after the death of her mother from sepsis, an 18-year-old Catherine moved with Maurice and her former governess, Marthe, to a rundown farmhouse in a remote region of Provence until her older brother, Christian — who had started selling fashion illustrations — sent for her to come live with him in his Paris apartment. 

Catherine was 12 years younger than Christian, but the two were kindred spirits. Christian used his connections to get his little sister a job selling gloves at a fashionable store, and in their free time Catherine served as a model for his first sewing projects. 

Christian Dior was 12 years older than his sister, but they were kindred spirits.AFP via Getty Images

“My brother loved designing costumes,” Catherine later told Dior biographer Marie-France Pochna, about these early years in Paris. “I remember a Neptune costume he made for me, with a raffia skirt covered with shells, and another skirt painted with a Scottish motif.” 

After the war broke out, Catherine went back to her father’s place in Provence, which at the time was safer than Paris, and she made a meager living selling vegetables she grew in their garden in nearby Cannes. That’s where, in 1941, she met Hervé des Charbonneries while shopping for a radio so she could listen to banned broadcasts from the exiled General de Galle on the BBC. 

It was love at first sight, or as the French called it, “un coup de foudre,” a stroke of lightning. 

Hervé was a member of the F2 Resistance Network, one of the largest resistance groups in Europe, and he soon enlisted Catherine to join their cause. 

She biked up and down the coast of Southern France gathering and delivering intelligence on the movements of German troops to other F2 agents. She drew maps with details of German infrastructure and landmines and typed up reports to send to British operatives. Though Hervé was married with three children, the two began an affair: Catherine even worked with his mother and his wife, Lucie, in the Resistance. (According to Picardie, after Hervé met Catherine, “his separation from Lucie was ‘en bonne entente,’ in other words: cordial,” though the Catholic couple never officially divorced.) 

Hervé des Charbonneries became Catherine’s lover — and he enlisted her in the Resistance.

In 1944, Catherine moved back to Paris and continued her Resistance activities there. She stayed with her brother and hid her friends in his attic — making Dior’s fashionable acquaintances nervous. The musician Henri Sauguet “was perturbed” to see Catherine and other members of the Resistance going in and out of Dior’s apartment, Picardie writes. “He subsequently admitted in his memoir that he was beset with anxiety as to how he might explain this to the Gestapo, if they were ever to question him.” 

In Paris, Catherine helped provide intelligence for the planned Allied invasion of France, or D-Day. But then, on the afternoon of July 6, 1944, a group of four men approached her on the street, took her bicycle and handbag and drove her blindfolded to Rue de la Pompe, where French police working with the Nazis interrogated her, punched her, kicked her and slapped her. When she wouldn’t talk, they undressed her, bound her hands, and repeatedly plunged her into icy water. At one point she came close to drowning. 

“I lied to them as much as I could,” Catherine later told war crimes investigators. 

The authorities eventually shipped her off to the notorious women’s concentration camp Ravensbruck — just 10 days before the liberation of Paris. 

From left: Hervé, Catherine, Christian and Marthe after Catherine was freed from a concentration camp in 1945.

Catherine was later transferred to three labor camps, where prisoners worked 12-plus-hour shifts dipping shell cases into trays of acid or putting together parts of aircraft engines. (Catherine and her compatriots would deliberately make mistakes so the machinery would break down.) As the Allies got close, the prisoners were sent on a grueling death march — and anyone who fell behind or tried to escape was beaten or shot. Catherine walked in bloodied wooden shoes for a week before Soviet troops liberated her in Dresden on April 21. 

Catherine’s family and friends had not heard a word about her since August of 1944, and many thought she had probably died, particularly after reports of the camps began appearing in early 1945. 

Catherine inspired the “Miss Dior” dress from her brother’s spring/summer 1949 collection.Lillian Bassman for Harper’s Bazaar

“We thought she would never come back,” recalled Hervé’s son. “The family heard nothing from her for nine months.” 

Catherine Dior finally arrived in Paris that May, along with hundreds of other French women freed from the camps, but when Dior went to meet her at the train station, he walked right by her. His 27-year-old sister looked like an emaciated old woman. 

Eventually Dior found his sister and took her to his apartment, “where he had lovingly prepared a celebratory dinner for her, but she was too sick to eat it.” 

She did not stay in Paris long, and by the summer she was back in Provence, recovering with the help of Marthe and Hervé, who rushed to Maurice Dior’s farmhouse as soon as he heard of her arrival. 

He later told his son that Catherine was “unrecognizable” when he first saw her, and wept when speaking of their reunion. Yet, by July, Catherine wrote in a letter that she was “benefiting from the sun and the calm of this beautiful region” where she and Hervé spent their time gardening and talking politics. 

The two never married or had children — the torture she endured during the war left her barren, according to her godson — but he never left her side again. 

Catherine Dior (with lover Hervé des Charbonneries) ran a cut flower business in Paris after she survived Nazi labor camps.

Hervé and Catherine harvest flowers at Les Naÿssès.

The couple in the garden and rose meadows of Les Naÿssès.

Catherine rarely spoke about her time in Germany and the horrors she endured there. (Her godson told Picardie that Catherine revealed one thing about Ravensbruck: “that she would never fall to the ground to pick up a piece of food that an SS guard had thrown there. She said that if you did that, then your life was over.”) She suffered from insomnia, nightmares, memory loss, anxiety, depression and PTSD. “She could not bear to hear German voices, and even the sight of cars bearing German number plates on the roads in France would make her angry and upset,” Picardie writes. 

Still, Catherine did not let her war experience break her. In the fall of 1945, she got a license to sell cut flowers at the Paris markets, hawking blooms that she and Hervé grew back in Provence. In 1946, as he was getting ready to launch his own fashion label, Dior began developing a perfume that “smelled of love.” He and a friend were discussing a name for it when Catherine walked into the room: “That’s it: Miss Dior!” his friend exclaimed. It was perfect: a perfume that smelled of love dedicated to the person he loved most in the world. 

Catherine went on to inspire several more of her brother’s creations.

Catherine went on to inspire several more of her brother’s creations, including the iconic “Miss Dior” gown, a strapless dress embroidered with more than 1,000 silk flowers. When Dior died of a heart attack in 1957, at the age of 52, Catherine gave up her cut flower business in Paris and moved permanently to the country with Hervé, where the two of them spent the rest of their lives cultivating roses and jasmines for Miss Dior perfume. 

Hervé died in 1989, but Catherine continued to work in her garden every day until her own passing. 

Near the end of her life, a young veteran who saw her speak at a memorial for members of the Resistance approached her and asked for advice. 

“Aime la vie,” she told him: Love life.

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Tick-Talk: 2021 watch-buying advice from expert collectors

Stacy Johnson



Tick-Talk: 2021 watch-buying advice from expert collectors

“A Man & His Watch” author Matt Hranek and Classic Watch Club founder Henry Flores talk about their favorite timepieces — and what to buy now.

Omega Speedmaster (left), $24,600; Rolex Submariner, $9,500NY Post photo composite

My first watch: A Sears Winnie the Pooh watch given to me by my grandmother when I was about 5 years old. I still have it, but sadly it’s way too small, even for my tiny wrist.

Why wearing a great watch matters: It reveals to the world a little bit about how you want to be seen.

Advice for first-time buyers: Buy the best thing you can afford, don’t compromise.

Best watch to gift: I always seem to gift my wife watches that I want to wear as well, like Cartier Santos from the 1980s, and Rolex Datejusts from the same period.

Best watch to start a collection: My first watches were Swatch and I still have them, but my first “serious watch” was a Rolex left to me when my father died. Just collect what you like, if that happens to be expensive Swiss watches or inexpensive plastic Japanese watches.

Celebrity watch icon: Jerry Lewis [inset above], who had an epic Cartier collection.

Watch you’re coveting: I love watches that were designed with purpose: Rolex Submariners, made for divers, or Omega Speedmasters because they were on the wrists of astronauts and race-car drivers.

Best watch screen cameo: The watches in “Apocalypse Now.” You have Martin Sheen in a very cool military-style Seiko, and Brando is wearing a Rolex GMT, which are two iconic watches of the period. 

Favorite watch book: I’m sure my publisher wants me to say “A Man & His Watch.”

Grand Seiko (left), $4,550; TAG Heuer Carrera 1964 Heuer Re-Edition chronographNY Post photo composite

My first watch: A TAG Heuer Carrera 1964 Heuer Re-Edition chronograph [left]. I have always been a car fanatic and was fascinated by all things racing. The Carrera is named after one of the deadliest races, the Carrera Panamericana. 

Why wearing a great watch matters: It can be enjoyed for a lifetime and passed down to the next generation.

Advice for first-time buyers: Buy something that you’ll enjoy and won’t be too obsessed with keeping pristine in case you hit a door jam. Stick to modern, because the vintage watch world can be tricky to navigate.

Best watch to gift: The usual suspects such as Rolex Submariner, Rolex GMT, Omega Speedmaster, Seamaster or even a Grand Seiko would be great.

Best watch to start a collection: A manually wound watch, because it establishes a more personal connection with its owner.

Celebrity watch icon: Steve McQueen [inset above] would look cool in any watch — but the fact he wore a Rolex 1655 Explorer II, Rolex 5512 Submariner and a Heuer Monaco made those watches cooler by association.

Watch you’re coveting: An Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in 41 mm.

Best watch screen cameo: The pieces worn in “Ford v Ferrari”: Matt Damon’s character in a Heuer 30 Reference 7753 SN while Christian Bale’s character wears a Heuer Autavia Reference 2446. I loved that they were period-correct pieces.

Favorite watch book: “History of the Swiss Watch Industry” by Pierre-Yves Donzé.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie watch, price upon requestNY Post photo composite

An Italian financier who hops between Milan and Miami, this famed collector posts updates on his ultra-rare pieces to 104,000 followers.

Personal style: In Miami? Lululemon joggers, Balmain T-shirts and Air Jordan 1 Retro High Dior [sneakers]. In Milan? Jeans, shirts and classic shoes. 

First watch: When I was 16 years old, I did deliveries for a grocery store to buy a Bulova, which was very similar to a popular watch at the time, the Breitling Chronomat.

Watch count: I’ve always focused on quality rather than quantity. Today, I have a few Rolex, a few Patek Philippe and a few others.

Favorite complication: I’m in love with the grande sonnerie.

Watch icon: Gérald Genta [inset above] was truly one of the greatest watch designers of all time, the genius behind several of the most famous and enduring models that have become the foundation for success for several brands including Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Cartier.

Recent purchase: A Rolex Day-Date made in 1984 for Qaboos, the late Sultan of Oman. It’s amazing, with a rainbow bezel, and on the back, there’s the Khanjar [crest of the Omani royal family]. It’s one of the rarest Rolexes ever produced.

Favorite travel watch: Sorry to disappoint you, but I never wear my watches.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Lady-Datejust watch in 18-k yellow gold (left), $27,600 ; Cartier Tank Française watch in steel and yellow gold, $6,500 NY Post photo composite

The former Sotheby’s staffer launched Dimepiece — focused on female collectors — seven months ago, and has already drawn 16,000 Instagram followers.

Personal style: I love the prep school, “Gossip Girl” look. I rarely wear a lot of designer clothes, but when I do, it’s all sourced secondhand. I love my mom’s double-breasted Chanel jacket from the 1980s.

First watch: To celebrate my 31st birthday last May, I just got my first luxury watch: a small steel Cartier Tank Française.

Watch count: Six, including that Cartier. Not bad for a gal who just got into collecting, right?

Favorite complication: Who wants to take me in their sports car to see a Rolex Daytona in action on the raceway?

Watch icon: Mary-Kate Olsen [inset above] — I feel like I’ve grown up with her. In the early aughts the Olsens were known for popularizing big men’s watches, and now she’s taking a more polished route with a yellow-gold Rolex Day-Date on a “President” bracelet — she even wears it while competing in horse races. I’m obsessed.

Most recent purchase: The Rolex Lady-Datejust.

Travel watch: I’m in LA right now, and I’ve heard there’s been a lot of watch theft. I’m trying to keep a low profile, so I like my steel Cartier because it’s the most low-key

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