Please describe your style in three words.
No patterns, please.
What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?
If you have a head-to-toe outfit in your mind, scrap it. An outfit is like a building: you need to start from the bottom and put it together piece by piece.
Do you believe in role models?
Fashion-wise? Most definitely! C.C. Babcock, Catherine Tramell, Elizabeth from 9 ½ weeks, Linda Evangelista. Have you seen Madonna's “Bad Girl” video clip? That beret and the matte lipstick really got me. I am pretty sure there is some bit of Elaine Benes hidden inside of me, too. You see, I am stuck somewhere in the late '80s and early '90s.
What are your favourite fabrics?
Microfibre is the only reason I tolerate underwear.
Are there any style combinations that you object to?
Not really, some unexpected combinations can be very refreshing—just look at the sweatpants and high heels trend that was so big a while ago. However, one thing I wholeheartedly object to is uniforms as they stand for authority and hierarchy. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the GDR and individuality in fashion was hard to come by. When you are all forced to look the same, you naturally want to stand out, so I once wore my dad's pajama pants to school, just to stick out like a sore thumb.
Which city has the best-dressed women?
Every city has its own distinct vibe, which is great. When in Paris, you can tell that those women put thought and effort into their looks. Most British girls put too much effort into their outfits and they know it, but I admire them for having the guts to do it anyway (this excludes my very stylish British girlfriends, of course). On the other hand, people in Berlin mostly don't dress up at all. Office wear is club wear and vice versa – which is relaxing and kind of sad at the same time. There are a few flamboyant characters in the gay club scene, but not enough to speak for all of Berlin. I am truly tired of Berghain's all-black gym uniform. B.O.R.I.N.G.
Would you say that you are conservative or bold?
I am classic in a bold way. I love my long, grey '80s double breasted and shoulder-padded wool coat. It's my power suit, my armour. It's classic cut, but it's rarely seen on the streets. Some might call it a bold statement. With that being said, I do object to the word “conservative.” It's almost used as an insult nowadays, isn't it?
What are the rules in the way you dress?
I think of how long I need to feel comfortable throughout the day. As a business woman, I have to consider the practicality of what I am wearing, but also the impression I want to give. On a day with meetings I certainly look different than on a “slumber” office day where I don't even switch on the Skype cam.
Celebrities and style...
They are mortal like any of us. But nobody does it like Rihanna; I could look at her all day.
Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?
I may call a ridiculous collection of jewellery my own. Half of my family are goldsmiths, so certain things do run in the family, I guess.
Who taught you what you know about style?
A passion for collecting international Vogue magazines – it used to be my last purchase at the airport with the last coins of whatever currency I had to burn. This was followed by moving houses which forced me to throw them away altogether. During the same time, I stumbled upon an old book from the ‘70's at the flea market called Cheap Chic. It taught be about the timelessness of certain cuts and fabrics. Basically, it hinted at me to “calm the fuck down” and not to jump from one trend to another. This epiphany quickly turned into a big relief. It made me think of the burden of the materials we cover ourselves with, so I promised to myself to get a lot pickier. You see, even though I loved that pink Lanvin dress that looked like an exploded bouquet of peonies, I am still waiting for the invitation to that oligarch's exotic wedding to wear it at. I am checking my mailbox every day while the dress is silently crying in the closet. So, don't be a dummy and buy clothes for that ONE occasion (not even your friggin' wedding dress).
How do you select your clothing every morning?
I think of the day ahead and go with whatever works throughout the day. Luckily, I live close by my office so in case evening plans change, I don't have to be too meticulous in the morning. Lately, my wardrobe has become quite monochrome for the simple fact that I don't want to waste too much time picking my clothes. Those colours in classic cuts always go together and look effortless. I simply don't have time to be experimental in the morning, so I go with my sure shots.
What is your biggest regret?
Not going blonde earlier. Also, I wore a lot of adventurous pieces in the past I wouldn't want to be found dead in today, but they felt right at the time, and that is fine. So, no regrets really.
The three essential things a woman should know about style are…
Smoking cigarettes is not as sexy as you think. Puffy top goes with a skinny bottom, and a wide bottom goes with a small top. Only a few can pull off “all skinny”. Same goes for “all big” unless you are a ‘90's kid that is camping in his trousers. If you feel the urge to mix patterns, try to stay in the same colour palette. Otherwise, you might earn public applause for your bravery (which sounds tempting now that I think about it).
Do you have any shopping rituals?
I usually do not have much time (or mood) for shopping—plus I don't consider Berlin a good city for this. I shop when I am travelling, so every piece also reminds me of a certain place and may even tell a story. Besides that, I bought a lot of stuff online in the past years but unfortunately, I made a lot of bad choices. You should always have the opportunity to touch and smell the items you are about to buy. It makes all the difference. Also, a few years back I was so frustrated with the amount of clothing I accumulated, I decided to do a complete fashion detox. So I set up rules for myself: for three months I was not allowed to buy anything new. Anything found, given or customised was allowed. This helped me appreciate my clothes again and made me more resourceful. Try it; it's fun.
We will never see you wearing...
Cowboy hats (not even when I worked on a horse ranch in Colorado)!
Which new designers do you follow and why?
I love the simplicity of what The Row does. They are inspired by brutalism, Bauhaus, and mid-century furniture designs and use that “feeling” as a basis to create the vibe their clothes may spread. At least, that is my interpretation. On the more affordable side of the fashion spectrum, I really appreciate the concept of the Reformation; it shows that environmental consciousness and effortless style do go together! Also, my friend Bobby Kolade makes fun stuff; he is one of Christiane Arp's favourite new talents. He uses exotic fabrics while twisting classic cuts with ethnic patterns and unexpected details. Check him out!
Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?
Róisín Murphy, a true chameleon who always manages to be herself at heart.
What is the first thing you notice on a woman?
Your skin says everything about your lifestyle, young lady.
What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?
The ring by Pièce a Conviction I bought when I got paid for my first job as a freelancer. It is square instead of a round, open on one side and very heavy — a true statement piece. It reminds me of my choice to become independent and the pride I felt.
Which fashion house never fails to impress you?
Prada. Not because I find it beautiful—quite the contrary. Their collections are hard to pull off for a regular person, but people buy it. I am puzzled how they get away with almost anything they do.
One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is…
Nothing is worse than an ill-fitted coat. And shoes! You don't want the concierge to mistake you for a hooker, do you?
Is comfort an enemy of style?
Discomfort is the enemy of style.
Whom would you like to recommend for My Style?
Luca Venezia, that handsome, devilish man.
The best words of advice you have ever heard?
Earn your money with your head, not your hands (that does not discredit creative, crafty work in any way).