What’s the true spirit of music? We iTune and Spotify the tracks that we like. Download, stream and skip. But I don’t mean the quick and dirty kind…

I was seven when I bought my first CD. (I just missed the vinyl-generation.) But as my little fingers flipped through scores of jewel-case covers, I had no idea what I might find among the catchily named, ultra-vivid artworks of Alice Cooper, Grace Jones or Marvin Gaye.

Stopping at a cover with a simple white background, I was struck by the image of a naked, matte-bronzed woman, sleek hair curled around her body. I bought it and went home. Mum was amazed. “What are you doing with this? You don’t even have a CD player. You’ve never heard of Sade have you?” “Right, but the cover’s so great that it must be good. As for the CD player, it’s nearly my birthday…”

I’ll never forget the moment the first beats of No Ordinary Love began to fill not just my room, but my whole mind and body. I was in another world, floating in zero gravity. Water floated upwards. Fishes flew, birds swam. Flowers moved like butterflies in a place beyond reality.

This is what music can do. Stimulate the senses, help us think outside the box. Trigger new ideas as we thinking beyond. Drift away. Fall in love. Recalling moments, awakening stories. Orpheus, the father of music, calmed waves and wild animals, soothing gods and goddesses with the rhythms of his voice.

Music brings people together. At a place like Amoeba you can see this for real. As recently proved by one of my heroes, Stella McCartney, who set up her stunning runway show surrounded by vinyl and tape.

Orpheus transformed into a constellation. And for me, after experiencing Amoeba’s Hollywood store, I see it as a bright-shining star representing real music. Make sure to stop by when you’re next in the city of Angels. Remember: we can shut our eyes against things we don’t like. But we can’t close our ears. That’s the real power of music.

Thank you Amoeba.
Thank you Stella McCartney.
Thank you Sade.
Thank you for the music.

I heard the door slam as my mother went out. Running upstairs, my seven-year-old self grabbed the embroidered black fan, a gift from Marseille from my grandmother.
Then to my parents’ room. The whole world of beauty in one capsule of desire: my mother’s dressing table.
I’d watch her tend to her make-up and hair. Behind those gloss-lacquered doors, a magic world waited.
The triptych of mirrors, guaranteeing my view.
Its treasures left me spellbound. Gold combs and brushes, so neatly arranged. Precious lipsticks and bottles of polish. The promise of another world, the key to my transcendence. A doorway into VOGUE magazine’s Paradise.
Amidst the wonder, that square of cut glass. The eight-sided stopper. And snow-white paper bearing six letters:
CHANEL. The numeral, 5, so simple.

Just by holding this bottle I became someone else. An acolyte in the grown-up world of fashion.
The amber liquid cast its glow on my world. This was better than reality, somehow.
The moment came.
Carefully, I upturned the closed bottle, so the liquid touched the inner side of the lock.
Then upright again, as my mother did. Opening it with the slowest of movements, not wanting to lose a micro-scent of this holy elixir. For this was the scent of sheer luxury. Drop by drop, I anointed the fan. Soft air caressed my face as I inhaled its beguiling aroma. I had become Karl Lagerfeld. I’d read of his love for scented fans, and simply thrilled at this chance to test the wonder myself.
I thought: This is the air I shall breathe in Paris. When I enter the world of couture. And I still recall the moment every time I pass Rue Cambon. As I make sure I always do. Every time I face that façade.
A boy, breathing deep in couture.

‘Have you ever sipped a mint-infused pear and lemongrass tonic? Or eaten spring vegetable couscous with
al dente fava beans? What about banana and pineapple rose-water gelato, sprinkled with pistachio?
Maybe you should try vegan food too.’

That’s my reply to the incredulous question: ‘What – you’re a vegan? No fish, no cheese and no eggs?
What can you eat then?’ (A big smile lights up my face.) I had always made an effort with my diet.
Green tea every morning. No alcohol. And organic milk after each workout, to try to build up that ‘dream body.’
Then to bed, with a still-empty belly. Rumbling through the night, till morning broke only too soon.
A rush to the airport for a shoot in LA. ‘There’s only beef left’ says the stewardess. Lukewarm, limp, pallid.
Paired with the ghost of some washed-out broccoli.

Thank goodness for my litre-and-a-half of still water. The only way to survive those voyages of bad flavour.
Stepping off the plane, still yearning for something half-decent. Then in 2013 I discovered a book:
Attila Hildmann’s Vegan for Fit. I relished the 30-day challenge, and equipped my kitchen with the not-just-great-for-vegans starter kit. Almond mousse. Agave-syrup. And of course, a good blender.

I changed my nutritional habits. Yet it was incredibly easy to do. And the change I discovered was awesome.
Inside and outside, I’d been completely reborn. There was no question of going back: I wanted to go a stage further.
Diving into superfoods, I embraced acai, goji, morigna. Wheatgrass and chia, to name a few.
Not only did they taste great, what they did for me was wonderful too. I haven’t spent a single day ill ever since.

Great vegan food is now accessible anywhere. It‘s easy to cook. Rich in flavour.
And can be a lot of fun to prepare. It’s a real-life elixir for wellbeing.

Trust me. Go on, give it a try.

I had to rub my eyes as I stepped into the Miami Design District’s new Loewe store. Because standing right
in front of me was something I really hadn’t expected to see. A huge stone structure, ancient looking.
In some ways entirely incongruous. Yet in others, organic and fitting. It wasn’t as if this ceramic marvel had been put up here as some gimmick, designed to shift dresses. It was as if the entire Loewe store had been created in praise of these stones.
What was it?

Loewe’s Irish-born Creative Director, Jonathan Anderson, explained. Loewe dates back to 1846, when it was founded in Spain. And back then, structures just like this one would have been used to store and dry grain.
They were part of the fabric of everyday life.
Jonathan spotted this one in the border between Galicia and Portugal. And he knew instantly – instinctively – that it would help visualise the Loewe story. Getting it here wasn’t easy. It had to be painstakingly dismantled, piece-by-piece, before being brought to the States to be lovingly rebuilt.

But here – away from the hectic, eye-popping neon I so associate with Miami Beach – this hórreo  (to give it its true name) feels like a living piece of Loewe’s history. And as soon as you see it, you’re struck by the sense of craftsmanship, tradition. And the curated art pieces Anderson’s also set beside it – works by Anthea Hamilton, Paul Nash, Lucie Rie and Rose Wylie – feel no less bold or inventive.

It makes me see Loewe differently. Truly. Here, this juxtaposition of modern smoked glass and old, weathered stone – the silk-smooth leather goods, and the rough, iron clothes-rails – pay a tribute to the artistic eye.

Creative people can so often be ruled by the pressures of timings, budgets, ‘shares’ and ‘likes’.
But this is a reminder that real creativity comes from the heart. It’s the image we see when we look away, our eyes closed. It’s the silence away from the rush.

Thank you Jonathan.

As the chrysanthemum leaves unfurled, they seemed revitalized by the hot water. Watching this ceremony in a straight-sided teacup was my own Zen moment, on the top floor of Seoul’s Shilla Hotel, awaiting the one-and-only Suzy Menkes.
We were meeting to brainstorm the Condé Nast Luxury Conference. The theme is ‘Future Luxury’ — and after visiting this inspirational city, I can’t think of a better place to have picked.

Suzy never tells the artist ‘how’ to do it. She inspires, with precious notes about things she’s been touched by.
You can read so much between the lines, following the threads of her stories. It’s a special honour to have worked for six years in a row with this brilliant, tireless and eternally inquisitive lady.

For the first time in the conference’s history, I convinced Suzy that as well as the classical artwork and moodfilm, we should also create something viral. It was my idea to bring her 2D icon to life in a 3D world.
We’d characterize Suzy through her avatar. Capturing her curiosity, her unquenchable thirst for what’s next.

Bursting with ideas, I began my Korean adventure, camera and sketchpad in hand. From the ancient world of the Gyeongbokgung King’s Palace, to Seoul’s ‘hello future’ landmark, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, I was searching for Suzy’s character’s point-of-view. I even found myself rolling on the floor, in search of the perfect perspective for ‘digital Suzy’ to pursue her full curiosity.

And all along, soaking up the atmosphere of this organised yet impulsive city. Fashion designer Jin Teok’s macro-eye-for-detail stole my heart at an exhibition of layered embroidery. Thousands of faces at Fashion Week conjured high-end brands and unique style icons. And the Gangnam megabrand’s flagship stores brought selfie-ing students on a pilgrimage, their colourful Hanbok dresses closing the gap between past and future.

After work, locals relaxed in the park with calligraphy and meditation. At museums, I saw art from all over the world.
The train station transformed into a gallery market and back again, while endless fields of LED flowers bathed the DDP building against a fluorescent-lit skyline. The forms of the city seemed endless.

Speeding through the super-clean subway, free high-speed internet at all times, I recorded the sounds of the street and captured so many impressions. Together with my wonderful team, we captured the spirit of luxury in the future. Crafting a campaign for the conference which I’d dare to call digital haute couture.

Thank you, Suzy.

2009 – I was at a design conference in New York City, writing a speech about ‘creative techniques’.
The phone rang. ‘Joerg! Where are you?’ It was a German TV channel. I told them where I was.
‘Great, can you go to Toronto? We need you to film someone.’
‘Cool. Who?’
‘She’s called Lady Gaga’
‘Supercool!’ (I’d been listening to Poker Face.)
‘Three days.’
Instinct told me: this is life.
I said ‘Who’s writing the script?’
‘You of course!’

Three days later I was in Toronto. And I’d turned up with the idea, developed together with my beloved Buenos Aires-team. It was a little bit outside the box. Experimental.
Inspired by Oskar Schlemmer’s triadic bauhaus ballet. Expressive movements and out-there costumes.
Closing the gap between artist and expression. Nothing too serious. A formal indulgence with a hint of joy.
I’d drawn up the boards, but they hadn’t quite captured it. There’d been some poses I just couldn’t sketch right.
So I’d struck them myself. Catching them on my smartphone in my Columbus Circle hotel room, before heading out from New York. Superhelpful for Gaga, who thrilled me later, replicating the shapes before my lens.

In the end, as well as this classic spot we shot three art installations. Each one focused on repetitive movements.
Yet somehow expressing Gaga’s inimitable, enigmatic style.
Directing Gaga was wonderful. She’s incredibly professional and cooperative.
And as soon as she knows you know exactly what you’re doing, she puts her full trust in creativity.

I salute you, Lady Gaga.

I don’t drink alcohol.
So when LVMH asked me to create an installation celebrating 250 years of Hennessey at KaDeWe Berlin,
it was never going to be about drinking’s ‘effect’. So I started – like I always start – by looking for the beauty.
On the table in front of me, an antique blown-crystal cognac glass. I took the cognac bottle and poured.
Beside the eddying liquid’s stunning refraction, I was captivated by its amazing cascade.

Created by a simple pour, it moved completely unlike water: it had its own special magic.
A swirl that took in and gave out light. Intensely magnetic, up this super-close.
This magical macro moment would need to be extra-enlarged for the entrance hall of KaDeWe.
I sketched the idea: a floor-to-ceiling construction of solid spirals, reflecting mirrors and vertical screens.

I wanted to create an object which would reflect its own surroundings. The luxury shop-within-a-shop.
The people walking by. The Hennessey brand itself.

I wanted to make it feel as if it would be part of the KaDeWe forever. Not an alien object.
Something taking up the architecture, and projecting Hennessey into the future.

Well, we did it!
And we posted endless selfies to social media, just to prove the point.