JEANS. THEY WENT FROM TRIVIAL TO TREND. AND THE STORY GOES ON.

Some items were invented for very practical reasons and somehow made it to be style icons. Blue jeans are one of them.

Almost everybody I know possesses at least one pair of jeans. The typical features of  jeans are:

  • Made of blue denim
  • 5 riveted pockets

The first and most famous jeans producer is San Francisco based Levi Strauss & Co.

The Humble Beginnings

Levi Strauss & Co. was founded in 1853 by Levi Strauss, who was born Löb Strauss in Germany, the offspring of a large and poor family. His father died when Löb was just 16 and his mother saw no other option than starting a new life in America. The family arrived at the heyday of the gold rush and young Löb (I guess that was the time he changed his name to Levi as nobody in America could possibly pronounce Löb) became a wholesaler providing soap, tools and other essentials to the gold diggers. He discovered that they needed hard-wearing clothes and started producing overalls and flap trousers made of strong fabric.

The Invention

But blue jeans as we know them were invented by Jacob Davis a tailor from Reno, Nevada who bought denim from Levi Strauss to sew trousers; mostly for labourers. There are two different stories why he came up with the idea to reinforce the pockets with the same type of rivets that were used for the harness of horses.

The first story tells us that Mr Davis had an overweight customer who always had his trousers torn due to his weight and finally the tailor fixed it by means of a rivet.

To me the second version is more convincing: The most vulnerable parts of trousers were the pockets and they frequently needed to be fixed again. This was probably a boring and not very rewarding business. Jacob Davis found the ideal solution by reinforcing the pockets of every pair of trousers he made. Rivets certainly were the least expensive solution and the most practical one.

The Breakthrough

The idea went viral and was soon copied by other tailors. Therefore Jacob Davis wanted to patent his invention. The poor tailor he was he could not afford the cost and turned to Levi Strauss for financial backing on which the latter agreed and they filed for the patent.

As visible in the picture below Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss & Co. were granted patent number 139.121 for “fastening pocket openings” on May 20, 1873.

Jacob Davis worked for Levi Strauss & Co. supervising the production of riveted denim trousers until his death in 1908.

This sounds like a happy end, doesn’t it? Just as far as I can see there is no end.

The Story Continues

Although according to the records I found Levi Strauss’ and Jacob Davis’ patent expired in 1908 they had a large competitive edge and are producing jeans to this day.

Other brands have appeared and jeans are still available in different colours and styles.

The really amazing thing is that jeans provide a feeling of individualism although it is the most uniform-like garment one can own. They made it from a poor man’s outfit to the catwalk. I have no idea how this could happen, maybe it is a question to be clarified (or already clarified) by social scientists.

Or do you happen to know the reason?

INSIGHTS ON SWITZERLAND’S MOST ELEGANT CONTRIBUTION TO POLO.

In spite of the yearly St. Moritz Polo World Cup on Snow, Polo is not the first thought jumping to your mind when you think of Switzerland. I guess you rather dream of chocolate, mountains and watches.

But one specific Swiss swatch is absolutely related to Polo. Bear with me I get to it in a minute.

The United Kingdom is famous for Polo and even some members of the royal family are engaging in this sport. Although Polo has been invented some hundred years ago in Persia from where it spread to Arabia and India it only arrived in the UK in the 19th century. This was the Victorian age and Victoria herself was not only the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland but also the Empress of India. For this reason Great Britain sent business men and military personnel to India. The military officers apparently took pleasure in this sport and brought it to Great Britain.

It also looks as if Polo was and is to this day quite an expensive sport since the rules require that each player has at least two horses in order to protect the animals from harm. I believe that this explains the following watch-story.

Reverso

The British officers that were based in India were the reason for the invention of the watch model “Reverso” by Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Polo is a fast equestrian sport. Nevertheless, the British officers seemed to be quite relaxed about it since they apparently had enough of capacity to constantly watch the time while playing and could not take off their watches. Hence they frequently found the glass of their watches broken after the game and became tired of it.

So in the 1930ies the Swiss watch manufacturer Jaeger-LeCoultre developed the “self-protecting” model “Reverso”. The watch itself sits in a cradle and can be turned to either side. In “normal mode” you can check the time and in “protection mode” the glass is turned inward and you look at the steel bottom of the watch. I have seen models with enamel images on the bottom or just the owner’s name engraved.

What was invented for a practical – maybe a bit snobby – reason became the embodiment of ultimate elegance. Quite rightly so.

See More

The following video clip explains the history of Jaeger-LeCoultre as well as some details on the Reverso.

A NIGHT IN THE WORLD OF FRAGRANCES AND WHY COFFEE IS SO VITAL.

Some weeks ago I promised you a feedback about an event hosted by a leading perfumery in Zurich.

The Venue

The so called “scent night” was hosted in a château-like villa that was originally built for a wealthy family around 1910 and which is now used for a variety of events.

The event took place on a really sunny and warm day and one could enjoy the view and the park that surrounds the villa.

Exquisite refreshments were served to the audience. Some perfumers attended the event and explained the concept behind their products. The latter might be the reasons why some women were wearing stilettos without any training and with even less elegance completing their look with an excessive make-up.

Lengling Perfumes

Although the name sounds very oriental Mr and Mrs Lengling are from the German city of Munich. Their perfume is definitely not a mass product but the company is an exclusive rather small manufacture.

Mrs Lengling explained to us that she always liked to paint and when creating a new scent she is inspired by the images she paints from memories of special moments.

The brand is quite young and at the moment they have 8 different creations.

The thing that I remember best is the cap of the bottles. It is an exact copy of a real pebble-stone from the river Isar that flows through Munich.

Vilhelm

New York is the home of the Perfumerie Vilhelm. Also these fragrances are based on the founder’s (Jan Ahlgren) memories. The same goes for the name itself. Vilhelm was Jan’s grandfather. The bottles are very modern and I much appreciate Vilhelm’s signature colour: yellow.

At the moment my favourite scent is called “Basilico & Fellini” and – at least according to my nose – it is full of summer and freshly mown grass.

Roja Dove

Mr Dove was of course the star of the evening. The maestro worked many years for the House of Guerlin before setting up his own shop. Just for the record; he has a shop in Harrods London.

Since I know many of his fragrances – out of his collection “Danger” is my preferred scent – and a lot of people surrounded him I did not test more perfumes but instead marvelled at the master perfumer’s exquisite attire.

Apart from an extravagant blue blazer made of a material which looked like brocade with a baroque pattern he wore striking shoes. (Yes, you know that I am crazy for shoes). I am not entirely sure about the material; it looked like black velvet but I am absolutely sure about the decoration. The shoes were star-studded. Just that the “stars” were crystals.

Mr Dove does not create a brand. He IS a brand.

Montale Paris

The founder Pierre Montale has a proclivity for the Orient. The House Montale offers more than 80 fragrances; traditional, yet modern.

The bottles are most striking. They are made of aluminium, reminding of hairspray and bearing an unbeatable advantage: the content never changes since it is protected from light and other environmental conditions.

The Longing for Coffee Beans

I am sure you can picture how many different fragrances my nose had been exposed to at this state. It was more or less unconscious. How to give it a quick recovery? Well, coffee beans are magic not only for espresso but also to neutralize scents and to give your nose a break. Unfortunately among all this luxury coffee had been forgotten.

Although this prevented me from testing the other scents too I very much enjoyed the event and learned a lot of interesting facts about the art of perfume creation.

5 QUESTIONS TO A FITNESS PRO. 24CLUB.

FÜR DIE DEUTSCHE ORIGINALVERSION KLICKEN SIE BITTE HIER.

1. Your training sessions only take 12 minutes. Of course this is handy but is it also effective?

Yes, absolutely. A good and effective training never depends on its duration but on its intensity and quality. To achieve this you need coaches with know-how and a training programme that suits the purpose. In the 24club, the set of exercises is comparable to the ingredients of a meal is for a chef. The important question is: “How much of what?”. In the twelve minutes of training there are exercises one does standing, sitting or jumping while others require full body tension. We combine the exercises in a way that fits everybody. Everybody will benefit; no matter if you are a professional athlete or just the opposite.

In a personal training like the one we offer in the 24club there are always coaches that point out and help you correct mistakes and who make sure you keep up your motivation. A training must be fun and it also has to offer highest quality and effectivity.

2. The next 12 minutes your clients use for relaxation. Why is this so important?

The term relaxation is not easy to understand. When I am talking about relaxation I do not only mean to relax physically but also mentally. About 60 000 thought per day are buzzing in our heads. We think of the past, of the future and also ponder on problems. The relaxation included in our programme is designed to give you a break from all this. To simply let go is a challenge for many people; especially in times of “burnout” or “chronical stress”. With our relax boxes we created some space for this kind of relaxation. In just twelve minutes.

3. How did you come up with this idea?

After many years of competitive sports, the pressure to perform and several injuries I asked myself: “How long do you want to carry on with this?”

Besides I already worked in the fitness industry where I could pass all my know-how to various people within the industry. But I wanted more. What I wanted is to have my very own fitness concept that is a 100% me.

Fast forward..

When I sat in a coffee shop in New York I pondered on the most important questions about the health of modern people. Quickly I realized that there were three important factors:

  • the time issue
  • the shortage of physical activity
  • relaxation

Hence I wanted to create a fitness programme that would solve all three problems at once. Moreover, it should be accessible and feasible for all people. In my head the 24club was born. A year and a half later I opened the first club in Zurich.

4. You see your club not as another training centre but as a life style location. What audience do you address?

When I developed this concept in 2015 in New York people frequently asked this question. It was difficult to answer as the training should be feasible for everybody. Now after more than a year of experience in my own club all I can is confirm this hypothesis. Our youngest member is 13 years old and the oldest one is 76. Also, very active people and top athletes are training with us. In a nutshell: Mangers, students and even people who are curing their burnout are train regularly in the 24club.

The 24club is the right place for everybody who does not go for crowded fitness centres. Our place is manageable, the training is effective and it can be integrated in your everyday-life. You as a client are carefully looked after.

5. At the moment there is one Club in Zurich. Will there be more?

This concept is designed to be multiplied and to be rolled-out to different locations. At the moment we are in Zurich. But maybe also in other places. How knows? It is an exciting journey and maybe one day we can open a studio at the place where the idea was born.


The Action of 24 Minutes Explained in 60 Seconds.


PORTRAIT. STEFAN SCHWITTER. 24CLUB.

Stefan Schwitter was a professional wrestler for many years. All his knowledge on sports, health and nutrition is in the concept of the 24club. This means all his clients can benefit from this.

 

This week another article about the 24club has been published (Geman only). Please click here if you want to read it.

5 QUESTIONS TO AN ONLINE EXPERT. WORLDSERVICE.

Last week I promised you interviews. This is the first of them. Let’s be specific. It is the translation of the first interview.

FALLS SIE DEN ARTIKEL AUF DEUTSCH LESEN WOLLEN KLICKEN SIE BITTE HIER..

1. You have been developing web-applications and websites since 1996 and are constantly watching the trends. What has proved the most important change on the web within the last 5 years?

The most important trend by far is the so called responsive design? In Switzerland more than 85% of the users surf the web on their mobile devices; foremost smartphones. For that reason a correct display of a website has become even more important since it determines the first impression. As you know there is no second chance for a first impression.

2. What is responsive design really and when is it a good one?

The adaptation to the respective screen size must be seamless. No matter if the user is surfing the web by smartphone, tablet or PC the site must always look aesthetic and legible. Even images must adapt according to the total screen size.

A simple and clear navigation has always been important. Yet it has become even more important due to the limited space on a smartphone screen. It still must be easy to handle.

The content of the pages – especially texts – should be short and clear. Epic information will not be read on a smart phone.

3. You are programming software solution. Where do you specialise?

I have been focusing on online solutions for years. It is another trend that software solutions are going online. The advantages are obvious. Online solutions do not require specific hardware, operating systems or the installation of additional applications because they are accessible on your browser from anywhere you like. An online software offers more than just the administration of your data but also builds the interface to your customers. Let’s take the example of an online-shop. The shopper enters his or her data which will serve to establish an invoice or a delivery note automatically. No data transfer to another system is required.

I specialise in the development of individual solutions which are an exact match to my customer’s requirements. Thanks to many years of experience in various industries I can offer support already in the conception phase.

4. There is quite some competition in this field. What makes yous services unique?

I do not use standard products; not for web shops nor for other solutions or websites. My emphasis lies on an easy handling of the CMS systems. This is possible because they really offer exactly those functions the respective customer needs which is not the case for standard solutions.

WorldService delivers everything from one single source. Our products and solutions are developed in house at attractive prices and within the agreed timeline. This also provides the client with a high investment protection. Since I coded the solutions it is easy to programme additional features and functions if the client needs them.

5. If you could give one advice to companies or private owners who need an online solution; what would it be?

Get an expert on board right already in the conception phase of your solution. The concept determines the success of your online-solution which happens long before the coding begins. Write down a clear definition of your goals and describe your project. I happily support you.

Portrait. WorldService.

Daniel Haug is the founder and owner of WorldService and an expert for online solutions. His expertise goes back to 1996. Among others he created software solutions for the following industries:

  • Scuba diving
  • Catering
  • Automotive
  • Retail

WorldService also offers online-services to companies or individuals. All services are available on demand at very attractive conditions. Please click on the links below if you want to know more you  want to try them for free.

P.S. All websites are in German. No worries, call Daniel, he speaks English, too.

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A CHARMING WOMAN IS A BUSY WOMAN.
AN OUTLOOK.

I let others decide on my charm but I certainly can tell about my busy schedule. This time I will just give you an outlook of what you can expect and on what I am working right now.

People. Their Businesses & Careers.

Pure Lifestyle

In June I will visit a so called “scent night”. This is an event hosted by one of Zurich’s leading perfume shops. Some big names such as Roja Dove himself will appear personally. Of course I will tell you about it.

Me, Myself & I

I will give you some details on my CV and on how I can support retailers going digital.

On Charm. Loretta Young Speaks for Herself

BREAKFAST AT (THE OTHER) TIFFANY’S.
A SURPRISING STORY.

Louis Comfort Tiffany

The jewellery shop Tiffany & Co. has been founded by Carl Lewis Tiffany in 1837. We will talk about the famous Tiffany Glass Company that was founded by Carl’s son named Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) in 1885.

The elegant and colourful lamps that were manufactured in the ateliers of the Tiffany Glass Company should become famous and sought after all over the world shortly after their invention.

The design was a mixture of aestheticism of the 19th century and Art Nouveau. The lamp shades had a similar construction as the glass windows in churches. Coloured glass had to be cut accurately and put together to flowers, dragonflies or abstract designs. Finally, the pieces were soldered with copper strips.

Tiffany’s lamps required a special kind of glass for which the company held the patent.

Clara Driscoll. Surprise!

To the world it was clear that the designer of this lamps was Mr Tiffany himself.  After his death in 1933 the company’s files were destroyed and only in 2005 researchers discovered letters with detailed descriptions of how to manufacture the famous Tiffany models “Peony”, “Dragonfly” and “Wisteria”.

Surprisingly, the writer of these letters was not Louis Comfort Tiffany but someone hitherto unknown to the rest of the world. The author was a designer by the name of Clara Driscoll (1861-1944). She completed her studies at the Design school in Cleveland (Ohio) and at the Metropolitan Museum Art School. Around 1888 she started working at Tiffany’s and stayed in the company for more than 20 years.

Not only did she have a key role in the design and development of Tiffany’s finest lamps but also she managed an entire group of women working as glass cutters. Remember, these lamps have always been very precious since they were handmade.

As it seems Clara created light but she and the glass ladies were never in the spot light.

A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls

 

5 STEPS TO INGENIOUS DESIGN.

Probably to most people (me included) tend to make the following equation: Design = Brand/Label. Nevertheless, I believe that this is wrong since literally everything we see has a design. I tend to look at design as a plan or a concept. In other words: design is something beyond individual taste.

The Math of Nature

Living creatures such as plants, animals and humans have been designed by nature’s evolution. Already in 1202, the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci released a mathematical model describing the system nature builds leaves, flowers, shells and other things. This sequence is called “Fibonacci numbers”.

The Evolution of Cities

I agree that most cities and even many houses are products of an evolution. Wars and natural disasters destroyed them and people rebuild them “organically”. Modern architects have to plan around these structures. Still, they now have a design. After all it is a planned decision (whatever the reasons) which part of the city or buildings remain “old-style” and which ones have to be replaced by a newly planned addition.

Other cities like Brasilia, Chandigarh (India), Manhattan or Canberra have been planned from scratch by urban designers. The streets are numbered and mostly in a rectangular order.

Plans and Maps

If we think of maps – especially of European ones – “design” or “plan” are not the first notions jumping in our minds. Although the individual roads are planned the entire picture looks very organic. A mountain pass is never rectangular and roads typically run along the topography rather than a ruler.

Genius Is Simplifying Things

Did you ever look at a modern plan of the London Underground or the Métro in Paris or probably any other modern city? I assume you did. Did you notice that they are all designed according to the same system? I take the liberty to assume that subconsciously did but never thought about it.

So did I, until I read of Henry Beck (1902-1974). He worked as a technical designer for the London Transport. While the Tube grew larger and larger Mr Beck noticed that the plans grew more confusing with every station they added to the railway system.

5 Steps to Ingenious Simplicity

Mr Beck was obviously very committed to his job since he searched for remedy to this complication in his spare time.

In 1931 he presented to his bosses a schematic plan with the following changes and features

  1. Instead of drawing the distances between the stations in scale he choose the same distance between each of them
  2. The strokes that marked the lines where either drawn horizontally, vertically or in angles of 45 degrees
  3. He used an individual colour for each line so it was easy to see which line served with station to get the passengers to their destination
  4. Each station appeared as a short stroke on the map
  5. Only the stations with an interchange facility were marked with a diamond shape

The Result Turned Out to Be Contagious

Although a bit reluctant, the management of the London Underground decided to give the new schematic plan a try and printed a small amount to be handed out to passengers.

The echo was overwhelming, people loved the clarity of this plan and it soon took over. Other cities used Beck’s design for their public transport systems.

Harry Beck took care of the update of “his” plan until 1960. If you compare his version from 1931 and the modern London Tube you’ll find little difference concerning the design.

Also the plan for the streetcars and busses in the town of Zurich look the same.

Bottom Line

Not only Beck’s design is ingenious but also it fit the time. Remember, in 1919 the famous Bauhaus where function was “wrapped in design” opened its doors and was very influential until it had to close in 1933. Although Mr Beck says he did not understand much about modern art he had a liking for maps that were as clear as a technical plan.

I’d say he understand that sometimes less is more.

7 INSIGHTS ON HEELS YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED.

I love all shoes under one condition: They must have heels. In other words you won’t find ballerinas in my wardrobe and the only flats I own are sport and running shoes. High heels force one to walk tall and make more of one’s outfit.

Yes, yes, I know that high heels have all sorts of disadvantages but if one is obsessed… Before I dwell about them I will tell you something about the heels’ past.

The History of Heels

From what I read we know very little about the origin of heels but their history started more than 2000 years ago. What seems pretty clear though is that they first were invented for practical (yes, indeed!) reasons.

In ancient Egypt butchers wore shoes with heels to avoid walking in blood and the Mongolian horseman wore boots with heels since it was easier to keep the feet in the stirrups. I am not so sure about the latter since I also learned that the Mongolians did not use saddles at all so why should they need stirrups?

The first record of heels of being a fashionable accessory is is 1553 when Catherine de’ Medici married the Duke of Orléans. She wanted to look taller and therefore brought high heels from her hometown Florence to France where they quickly found a lot of fans. During the following century women wore 12-centimetre-heels. Unfortunately they were so uncomfortably “shaky” that these ladies depended on a walking stick to keep the balance. Along with the doom of the French monarchy these heels also vanished. I am not surprised. This takes me to the next chapter

7 Rules to Wear High Heels Right

If it comes to heels I have quite something to tell. In order to avoid bad buy I recommend the following:

  1. Stilettos with 12 centimetre (or more) heels are for special occasions.
    Period.
  2. Watch the anatomy of your foot.
    The French ladies could not walk in their shoes because as I suspect the streets were not what they are today and the shoes were anatomically wrong. All shoes should be comfortable but with high heels it is even more important. Make sure you feel the inner sole of the shoe on your entire foot. Often I observe “hollow space” between heel and toes. This puts far too much pressure on your toes, causes pain and looks awful because you cannot really walk in such shoes.
  3. High Heels are a matter of cost. Do not try to buy cheap.
    I once spoke to a shoe maker about this. She explained to me that heels are pre-fabricated in specific factories. The good ones are expensive; even for shoe makers. Moreover, the heel must be in the correct angle to the shoe itself. I (my feet, to be precise) found out that this is only the case with expensive shoes. Plus they are made of soft leather which makes them comfortable
  4. You want to wear the same pair of shoes all day, right?
    At least I do. Therefore it is important to know that high heels are not necessarily very thin ones. If you walk over cobblestone in heels you need stronger ones with a diameter of about 1.5 to 2 centimetres.
  5. Only buy the height you feel comfortable with.
    If you are already tall you might be happy with a tiny heel. Whatever your height do not buy any thing you already feel in the shop that you cannot make it more than an hour.
  6. Find a good shoe maker.
    Heels are very easy to damage since the possibilities to get stuck somewhere, rip of the rubber of the heel are endless. Only well-tended heels are elegant heels.
  7. If you climb the Mount Everest forget about heels.
    I hate to admit it but there are situations where high heels are – quite literally – a no go. If you go hiking “off the beaten tracks” wear shoes that allow you to do so. You don’t want your feet killing you since this will also be the end of your high heel career.

I am quite sure that many of you already shop according to these maxim. After all they come from common sense not from rocket science.

SHOES NOT MADE FOR WALKING.

Last week we spoke about sandals which is probably the oldest shoe model. This time it is about slippers. As the name suggest we are talking about shoes that are easy to put on. The downside is that they are not tough enough for real life but only made to be beautiful (according to the taste of the time).

Some History

Typically made of embroidered silk or brocade and decorated with precious jewels they clearly were a status symbol. The soles of slippers were often also made of textile or thin leader which means the feet would get wet from a single raindrop.

Red slippers made of silk-brocade have been the traditional footwear for bishops during a long time. When Elisabeth I was enthroned in 1559 silk slippers with heels were the latest fashion for women and men.

Only the working class had “real” shoes and it is says that Marie Antoinette had a servant whose only job it was to look after her 700 pairs of slippers. I don’t know if she also had other types of shoes and if they were tended by another person…

Modern Slippers

Slippers are still manufactured by many designers. However, they have become real shoes for real people.

Brands like Manolo Blahnik, Bally or Baldinini create exclusive models. And they are made for walking. In style!