Creative Conversations With Suzy Menkes

Suzy in Paris (photo by Elena Olay)

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Season 4

It is mind-opening to speak to fashion polymath Raffaello Napoleone, the CEO of Pitti Uomo, the world-renowned trade fair for men’s fashion, which is celebrating its 100th edition this year. Napoleone is also CEO of Pitti Immagine – the not-for-profit organisation that promotes the Italian fashion industry and ‘Made in Italy’ – and heads up Pitti Bimbo for children; Pitti Filati for yarns; and is a founder of the Polimoda fashion school with Linda Loppa, which helps to preserve the Italian fashion industry.

Season 4, Episode 7: Raffaello Napoleone

This week I am joined by Diane von Furstenberg, who talks to me about her new book, Own It – The Secret to Life (published by Phaidon) – a book that sums up her spirit with its title. As she revisits her story, three generations have now worn the wrap dress she invented to be the sensual, dynamic and appealing woman she wanted to be- “A woman in charge!” She tells me just how many projects she is still developing today while the famous dress that started it all has now achieved 15 million sales.

Britain’s top fashion-accessories designer shares her experiences in business and in life, and talks about her new book, If In Doubt – Wash Your Hair!, with its sincere advice on how to be happy. She also talks us through her latest venture, Anya Village – her takeover of Pont Street in London’s Knightsbridge – where instead of a post-pandemic parade of empty shops you will find an Anya Café, Salon, Village Hall, bespoke and ready-to-wear boutiques and more showcases for her ideas on sustainable, planet-friendly production.

The Belgian designer Dries van Noten talks to Suzy about his more than 30-year career and his training at the celebrated Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, where tutor Linda Loppa nurtured the talents of the “Antwerp Six” – Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee – who together created the cult of Belgian fashion.

Our dear friend Alber Elbaz passed away on the 25th April, another victim of Covid-19. Over the next few weeksso much will be written about this exceptional and thoughtful designer, who genuinely loved and supported women. As a tribute to Alber, and as a gesture to the remarkable person he was, we are re-issuing the podcast we recorded together nearly a year ago. 

To celebrate Michael Kors’ 40 years in fashion, we are re-releasing this podcast so that his wise and witty words – and his imagination, energy and lively spirit – can be enjoyed once again in his anniversary year. Plus, award-winning musician Rufus Wainwright treats us all to a special performance.

Season 4, Episode 1: Orsola De Castro

Welcome to the fourth series of Creative Conversations with Suzy Menkes where we are celebrating a year since I launched the first episode of my podcast: an interview with Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior.

In the first episode of this new season, I am joined by Orsola de Castro who spearheaded the global movement for change within the fashion industry and now heads Fashion Revolution.

Season 3

Season 3, Episode 7: Hermès, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski

The Hermès Creative Director, Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, shares her ideas about Hermès’ deep history, which was founded on horse saddles, but is now renowned for its neckties, handbags and increasingly for its discreetly elegant clothes.

Season 3, Episode 6: Sterling Ruby S.R. STUDIO. CA. LA. COUTURE

Artist Sterling Ruby reveals why he was invited to take part in Paris Haute Couture with his label S.R. STUDIO. CA. LA. COUTURE and how he went from a construction site to constructing high fashion. He is now crossing the boundaries of art by using fashion as an artistic medium of self-expression.

Season 3, Episode 5: Leonard Lauder

Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of Estée Lauder, is known around his company as the CTO, or “Chief Teaching Officer” – and for good reason.

Season 3, Episode 4: Philip Treacy

Behind the story of the little boy who sneaked over to use his mother’s sewing machine is a man who has had a profound effect on famous fashion houses – from Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel to Ralph Lauren, Valentino, and Gianni Versace.

Season 3, Episode 3: Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera

Wes Gordon, the Creative Director of Carolina Herrera, talks to Suzy about dressing Kamala Harris in a white suit on the 7th of November 2020 – the historic evening she became the first female Vice-President Elect of the United States of America.

Season 3, Episode 2: Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood

Designer Andreas Kronthaler discusses his creative ideas and inspirations and shares insights into his other role as Vivienne Westwood’s husband.

Season 3, Episode 1: Giancarlo Giammetti, Valentino

To launch the third season of the podcast, Giancarlo Giammetti discusses what it means to be “Honorary President of the Valentino Fashion House”.

Season 2

Season 2, Episode 4: Chanel’s Bruno Pavlovsky

We’re off to Paris to speak with Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Chanel Fashion, who has worked with the famous Paris company for 30 years. Our conversation coincides with Chanel’s SS/21 show at Paris Fashion Week. Bruno has been instrumental in expanding the company’s presence in the fashion arena, first with Karl Lagerfeld and subsequently with the late designer’s right hand and current Creative Director, Virginie Viard.

Season 2, Episode 3: Laudomia Pucci

We go to Milan to talk to Laudomia Pucci, daughter of the aristocratic Marquis Emilio Pucci, who founded the fashion house famous for its distinctive swirling prints.

Season 2, Episode 2: Paul Smith

Suzy catches up with Paul Smith as he celebrates 50 years in fashion. Smith reveals the plans for his anniversary, and how – with his wife Pauline – he built the Paul Smith label over half a century.

Season 2, Episode 1: Valerie Steele of F.I.T. New York

To launch the second season of the podcast, the first four episodes are dedicated to the four fashion capitals – New York, London, Milan and Paris – as they busily prepare for Spring/Summer 2021 Ready-To-Wear. In New York, we meet the doyenne of the illustrious Fashion Institute of Technology.

Season 1

Season 1, Episode 13: Rosita Missoni and Margherita Missoni

For the season finale, Suzy is joined by Rosita Missoni and her granddaughter, Margherita Missoni Amos.

Season 1, Episode 12: Christian Louboutin

Suzy talks to “shoemaker to the stars”, Christian Louboutin, famous for his sexy, even fetishistic, footwear. And the symbol that defines his inventiveness? A racy, scarlet sole.

Season 1, Episode 11: Iris van Herpen and Carice van Houten

Suzy speaks to Iris van Herpen and Game of Thrones actress Carice van Houten as they collaborate on a digital presentation for the Autumn/Winter 2020-21 Haute Couture Week. The fashion industry has had to rethink how to present the collections, and each house has turned to submitting digital presentations instead of the traditional live-show format.

Season 1, Episode 10: Michael Kors

Suzy is joined by Michael Kors just as he prepares for his American sportswear label’s celebrations for its 40th anniversary next year.

Season 1, Episode 9: Duro Olowu

Duro Olowu is the fashion designer who works at the crossroads of fashion, art and culture, having developed himself as an art curator as well as a creative fashion artist. The two fit hand to glove as he expresses himself artistically through his fashion creations, or through selecting art for museum exhibitions.

Season 1, Episode 8: Richard Young

Suzy hears the behind-the-scenes of the famous images by celebrated photographer to the stars, Richard Young.

Season 1, Episode 7: Natalia Vodianova


The philanthropist and supermodel, Natalia Vodianova, discusses putting her fashion experiences to a good cause in support of her many charitable projects around the world.

Season 1, Episode 6: Federico Marchetti of YOOX Net-A-Porter

Suzy is joined by an entrepreneur with true vision – Federico Marchetti, Chairman and CEO of YOOX Net-A-Porter Group – who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his company this year.

Season 1, Episode 5: Marine Serre

The young dynamic designer, Marine Serre, shares the insights behind the creativity that so impressed her mentor, Karl Lagerfeld.

Season 1, Episode 4: Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing

Suzy hears the moving and uplifting life story of the Creative Director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, whose personal triumphs are an inspiration to his legions of followers.

Season 1, Episode 3: Alber Elbaz

Suzy is joined by the thoughtful, funny and profound designer Alber Elbaz, as he enters a new fashion phase with the Richemont Group. Alber talks us through his career, from Geoffrey Beene to Guy Laroche then Yves Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche and 14 years at Lanvin, where he earned a reputation for creating looks loved by women the world over.

Season 1, Episode 2: Stephen Jones

For her second episode produced under lockdown, Suzy Menkes looks up – at the fantastical hats of milliner Stephen Jones.

Season 1, Episode 1: Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri

For the very first episode, Suzy welcomes Maria Grazia Chiuri, the Creative Director Femme of Christian Dior – the first woman to lead the brand, and one who has enriched it with her distinctive feminist and artistic vision. Whilst we are all in lockdown, Suzy and Maria Grazia discuss feminism, Couture, design inspiration – and growing up in a fashion family.