Four Myths about Carbon Offsets – The Black unicorn: Changing the game for inclusivity in retail – 10 of Karl Lagerfeld’s Most Personal Possessions – Getting Sustainability Right (Infographic by Bain & Company) – Getting Personal with Iman

Today, the TextileFuture Team takes pleasure to present five easy and comprehensive readings to you:

The first feature is asbout the “Four Myths about Carbon Offsets” and is written by experienced and knowledgeable authors from Bain & Company.

The second item centres around the “The Black unicorn: Changing the game for inclusivity in retail”it is based upon papers of the McKinsey Retail Practice.

The third feature shows how “10 of Karl Lagerfeld’s most personal Possessions” will be auctioned by Sotheby’s. It is based upon a story in the Wall Street Journal.

The fourth item is an Infographic by authors of Bain & Company on “Getting Sustainability Right”, with very informative details.

The fifth feature shows some details on the life of supermodel Iman after the loss of David Bowie and is entitled “Getting Personal with Iman”. The item appeared firstly in the New York Times.

Thus, again you will find the thrill of reading facts and figures in the first two items. The third feature is feeding your curiosity of how Karl Lagerfeld lived,not only as a designer, but much more as a private person.

The fourth feature tells you as an infographic how to get Sustainability right.

The fifth Feature is about the supermodel Iman after her life with David Bowie, but it shows also the talents of the model. Have a delightful week with what we have selected for reading again.


Here starts the first feature:

Four Myths about Carbon Offsets

This rapidly evolving market will be key to meeting net-zero ambitions, but what do you really know about it?

By  guest authors Torsten Lichtenau, Dale Hardcastle, Allister Furey, and Henning Huenteler from Bain & Company

  • Many companies will need to purchase carbon offsets to reach their ambitious goals of reducing their carbon emissions to net zero.
  • The young carbon-offset market is inherently complicated, but beginning to mature with new market players developing more advanced exchanges and financial instruments.
  • Demand for offsets is high and rising, against a tightening supply.
  • As companies integrate offsets into their decarbonization strategies, they’ll need to develop better capabilities to source and analyse them.

Companies are setting ambitious decarbonization goals, but not all carbon emissions can be easily mitigated, given technological and economic limitations. To reach net-zero goals, many companies may need to purchase offsets, which allow them to balance their hard-to-abate emissions with investments that preserve or restore forests, wetlands, or other natural resources that either remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or prevent new emissions. Buying such offsets helps companies become carbon-neutral while they continue to work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a cement producer might invest in preserving large swaths of forest that may have been at risk of being cleared, to compensate for carbon emissions that it hasn’t yet removed from its own manufacturing process or supply chain.

However, the carbon-offset markets are still in early development, and have been criticized for being difficult to navigate, hard to validate, and open to greenwashing accusations by activists. This has created some confusion about carbon offsets, which can prevent executives from getting a clear and objective picture of their opportunities and risks.

Companies will need clear-eyed analysis to navigate the carbon markets and make good investment decisions. To help sort fact from fiction, here are four common myths about carbon offsets, and our insights on the truth behind them, along with implications for companies investing in the market.

  1. Misconception: Offsets are greenwashing

Fact: Carbon offsets aren’t greenwashing if they represent additional decarbonization to balance a company’s carbon emissions.

In recent years, some critics have accused buyers of carbon offsets of greenwashing—that is, presenting an environmentally friendly public image while avoiding or delaying costly changes to their business models and operations. While validation of offset projects needs to improve, these purchases aren’t greenwashing if they represent real carbon capture and form a complementary lever for companies to reach net zero, beyond the decarbonization of their own operations and value chains.

Several organisations are helping companies set and reach their net-zero commitments. The Science Based Targets Initiative, for example, tracks companies’ commitments in line with the Paris Agreement’s guidelines to limit global warming to 1.5°C, compared with preindustrial levels. Signatories define trajectories to reach net-zero physical emissions by 2050 and can use offsets as an option only if they want to finance emission reductions beyond these targets (see Figure 1). The initiative’s strict rules ensure that carbon offsets are not a cheap way out, but an additional contribution of climate action beyond actual reductions.

The Institute of International Finance’s Taskforce for Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets takes a similar approach. To leave no room for greenwashing, it encourages companies to reduce their own Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions in line with the 1.5°C target, and asks them to use high-quality removal and avoidance offsets to achieve carbon neutrality along the way.


Implication: When offsets are part of a broader science-based decarbonization strategy, they are not greenwashing, but a significant contribution to a company’s efforts to reach net zero.

  1. Misconception: Carbon offsets are unique and too complex to behave like other markets.

Fact: Carbon-offset markets are nascent, but are likely to evolve into mature trading systems, as other financial and commodity markets have.

Tradable markets for carbon offsets have had a volatile start, but now momentum appears to be building, funds are being raised, and investors are becoming more interested. Some observers remain skeptical that nature-based carbon offsets can evolve into a scalable, fungible asset class, citing the complexity of projects, economic and political pressures, and other risks including wildfires. But any new market must overcome similar obstacles to success. International markets for crude oil in the 1980s, natural gas in the 1990s, and LNG in the 2000s were also seen as different when launched, and they went on to address challenges around liquidity, contract standardization, geography, and custody.

Given the interest in and demand for carbon offsets, these markets, too, appear likely to work out the bugs and develop better transparency and accountability, tradable instruments, and other new products and financing mechanisms. Indicators of a maturing market include the emergence of tradable contracts and derivatives, the entrance of market makers and automated exchanges, and the arrival of independent rating systems like the one offered by Sylvera, a strategic partner of Bain’s.

The global market for offsets has passed through three distinct phases over the past two decades (see Figure 2). The ratification of the UN’s Kyoto Protocol in 1997 launched the first wave of interest in purchasing offsets, which became an important component of many European companies’ participation in the EU’s Emissions Trading System. When the EU phased out its acceptance of offsets, markets declined, and many experts left for other fields. Since the Paris Agreement’s establishment of a 1.5°C pathway in 2015, interest in offsets has revived, and the industry has begun to build back its expertise. Since 2019, the market appears to be moving toward a rapid standardization, with new participants and business models, including support for sourcing and calculating carbon footprint. A mature trading infrastructure is developing as companies such as Xpansiv CBL, AirCarbon Exchange, and Climate Impact X offer increasingly mature trading platforms and financial products that include spot pricing, futures, and derivatives.

Implication: In a rapidly developing market, companies need to constantly monitor the critical signposts of change and develop a flexible approach that allows for frequent strategic corrections.

Fact: Every carbon project is different and, even though the market is standardizing, buyers should analyse the risks and benefits of each project.

Projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere are appealing because they’re easy to understand and have clear benefits. Replanting a forest that has been lost, growing mangroves, or improving the carbon sequestration in agricultural soil are all clearly beneficial, and this apparent simplicity has delivered broad support for these kinds of carbon-removal projects. Because of this, many buyers prefer removal offsets and are willing to pay more for them—sometimes twice as much as comparable avoidance offsets, according to Ecosystem Marketplace.

But the truth is often more complicated. Some removal projects seek to rebuild a proper forest and ecosystem, but others just develop plantations of fast-growing conifer or eucalyptus trees, creating a monoculture that’s less resistant to disease and extreme weather, and more vulnerable to pests (see Figure 3).

Because of this, buyers need to investigate potential investments in detail, so they clearly understand the environmental benefits and risks. There’s a wide range of guidelines and services that can help companies assess the quality and validity of offset projects. One of these, Sylvera, is an online platform that evaluates the performance and quality of offset projects and provides a rating system that helps buyers make investment decisions and manage the associated risks.

Implication: Stricter and more specific project standards and governance will help improve the integrity of offsets. But in a maturing market environment with increasing levels of standardization, buyers should also take a proactive approach to assess the quality of potential investments.

  1. Misconception: Capital inflows will help scale markets quickly

Fact: The supply of offsets is tightening, turning a buyers’ market into a sellers’ market.

The rise of the net-zero movement and investor appetite for carbon-reduction opportunities has stimulated new capital entering the market for nature-based solutions (NBS). Asset management firms like HSBC Pollination and Hartree Partners, which specialize in NBS, are among those developing large investment funds in 2021.

This influx of capital is likely to increase prices and tighten the supply of available inventory, making it even more difficult for companies to find the high-quality offset projects needed to meet their ambitious goals. Long-term buying agreements are being priced higher than spot prices, and these contracts are settled with the flexibility of a floating price.

Projects and markets are also short on talent. When interest in offsets lagged after 2013, many of the traders, marketers, and project developers left for other fields. Now, as interest rises again, their talents are sorely needed, but it will take time to rebuild that expertise.

It also takes time to develop new projects, usually at least two years. All of which means that relying solely on the market to solve the supply crunch will probably leave companies exposed to higher prices and low inventory for some time (see Figure 4).

Implication: To secure supply in increasingly constrained markets, companies need to consider a range of participation options, including getting involved upstream to source and develop high-quality offsets.

Demand for new offsets is growing faster than available inventory, turning a buyers’ market into a sellers’ market.

Offsets in a decarbonisation strategy

The growing public pressure on companies to act and the rapidly developing market dynamics increase the importance of companies to reduce emissions quickly. As they form their decarbonization strategies, they’ll need to develop a deep understanding of the offsets market, so they can decide on the participation model that’s right for them, and then assess offsets project by project. Many will seek innovative solutions to secure their own high-quality supply of offsets.

To make informed decisions, companies need data and analysis that goes beyond the spotty data that’s publicly available, so they can form a more comprehensive picture of carbon-offset quality and market forces. With that data, companies can make informed choices about offsets, including the associated risks, and how to mitigate them. Finally, most companies will integrate offsets into their broader decarbonization and ESG strategies, which may include building up new capabilities for securing and developing offset projects.

Here begins the second feature:

The Black unicorn: Changing the game for inclusivity in retail

In the age of the inclusive consumer, harnessing the power of retail can increase demand for Black-owned brands.

This article was a collaborative effort by Jocina Becker, Pamela Brown, Tiffany Burns, Jihye Gyde, and Tyler Harris, representing views from McKinsey’s Retail Practice. Jocina Becker and Jihye Gyde are consultants in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office; Pamela Brown is a partner in the New Jersey office, where Tyler Harris is an associate partner; Tiffany Burns is a partner in the Atlanta office.

Consumer demand for Black brands is rising

The age of the inclusive consumer is here. Nearly half (45 % ) of consumers in the United States agree that companies should pledge to support Black-owned brands, suppliers, and vendors (Exhibit 1). 1 Sixty-eight %  say their social values shape their shopping choices. 2 This sentiment is matched by the growing support for Black-owned brands by trendsetting publishers: nearly every leading fashion magazine, from Vogue to Teen Vogue, publishes lists of top Black brands and designers.

The rising demand for inclusivity on retail shelves is more pronounced when we look at the coveted Gen Z consumers, who influence over USD 800 billion on retail each year, 3 as well as Black households, with consumer expenditures of around the same. In a sign of what’s to come, 90 %  of Gen Zers (those born after 1995), believe companies should address racial equality, 4 and Gen Zers are 1.4 times more likely to say that inclusivity is one of the most important factors in their buying decisions. 5

A survey of US consumers this year showed that Black consumers are far more likely to say that the products and services available today do not meet their needs, particularly in the personal care, financial, healthcare, and food industries. In the beauty industry, 92 %  of Black consumers say that supporting Black-owned brands is important to their buying decisions. Black respondents also noted that they did not see themselves in marketing campaigns, and that many companies lack a commitment to social justice. Survey results indicate that Black consumers are willing to shift about USD 260 billion of their annual spending to companies that better meet their needs.

Supply of Black brands is lagging due to systemic challenges

Despite rising demand and a clear consumer call for change, Black brands encounter outsize challenges to scaling and meeting the demand. While Black Americans are more likely to start businesses than any other ethnic group, they are up against tougher challenges from the get-go, with capital of only about USD 35,000, on average, compared with USD 107,000 for White entrepreneurs. Only one %  of venture-capital funding goes to Black founders, 6 and many say they lack the social capital and networks they need to tap flexible capital to invest in technology, R&D, and innovation. Convincing partners and investors that products by Black-owned brands are for everyone is a battle that Black entrepreneurs face daily.

Too often, these and other barriers lead to shortfalls: just 4 %  of Black-owned businesses are still in operation after three and a half years, compared with an average of 55.5 %  for aull businesses. 7 Of the “unicorns” 8 that have emerged in the last decade, less than 2 %  have Black founders (Exhibit 2). The last decade saw only two Black-founded unicorns in consumer retail—Pat McGrath Labs and Savage X Fenty—both brands riding the tailwinds of celebrity. 9


With retail disruption in full swing post-COVID-19, leading retailers are starting to act

COVID-19 has provided a once-in-a-generation opening to reimagine how retail meets evolving consumer preferences, such as representation and inclusivity in retail. Margin pressures are rising in the retail industry, and while the pandemic has raised the stakes, it has also required retail brands to revisit strategies, marketing approaches, product and service portfolios, and more. Without the ability to lean on business as usual, retail leaders are taking steps to experiment and invest for the long term. To close the gap between supply and demand for Black-owned brands, for example, some are moving upstream to find brands instead of waiting for brands to come to them.

Amazon launched the Black Business Accelerator program in June 2021, committing to provide USD 150 million along with mentorship, marketing, and promotional support to Black-owned third-party sellers. Sephora invited eight brands with Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) founders to participate in the company’s six-month Accelerate Incubator Program, which includes “an intensive boot camp” to help participants master business skills.

These retailers are leading the way by taking hands-on approaches to help Black founders scale to meet rising consumer demands.

Competing for tomorrow: Actions retailers can take

Improving representation and diversity in the retail industry is paramount; however, finding a path to partnership that addresses systemic inequalities requires bold action across the value chain. While we focus on Black-owned brands, the following principles are applicable to other underrepresented entrepreneur populations as well. To change the game for inclusivity, retailers can take action in four main areas.

Action 1: Publicly communicate specific, tangible commitments to support Black brands

Public commitments draw a line in the sand by demonstrating seriousness and making senior leaders more accountable for results. Strong commitments can also position the organization at the front of the pack, challenging competitors to keep pace and even shifting industry dynamics. Commitments are noticed by consumers, who are savvier than ever in seeking out companies that share their values. Seventy-seven %  of Gen Zers are likely to research if a company is helping or hurting society and the environment. 10

However, commitments without follow-through can backfire. Without concrete near-term goals, timelines, and measurable progress, companies risk being labelled as “diversity washing.” Similar to greenwashing, where organizations are criticized for being misleading on sustainability claims by setting goals far into the future (such as 2050), articulating vague targets (such as using “responsible” materials), and foregoing transparency (such as having opaque supply chains), 11 inclusion commitments are susceptible to pitfalls like overly broad goals, lack of urgency, and narrow confinement to HR.

Companies that declare their inclusion commitment, articulate measurable goals, and publish their progress have a greater chance of success. Internally, they should define how each department will contribute to that commitment and be held accountable across the organization. While the vision is overarching, it should be supported with a mix of specific internal goals, such as increasing organizational diversity, and external goals, such as setting targets for increasing business with Black-owned suppliers and ensuring diversity in advertising.

Action 2: Take a holistic, proactive approach rather than wait and see

Setting trends takes courage, imagination, and hard work, but the alternative—moving with the herd at the pace of systemic change—is the path to irrelevance in a retail marketplace that’s changing faster than ever. This isn’t just about shelf space; rather, it is about actually meeting the rising consumer demand for inclusivity.

Many Black-owned businesses and brands are start-ups—they are not the large mass brands that retailers know how to work with. As such, forcing the same approaches and requirements on them will be ineffective. A partnership with Black-owned brands requires flexibility. And if retailers don’t anticipate and address known barriers to engagement, they will set up budding relationships to fail—a costly outcome for all involved.

Recurring themes in challenges to partnership include bias around viewing Black-owned brands as primarily providing products for Black consumers (thereby narrowing the potential audience and scope for partnership); Black entrepreneurs’ disproportionate lack of access to information about the explicit and implicit how-tos of working with a large retailer; and penalties associated with performance metrics. Combined, these factors lead to lagging confidence that a partnership would be for mutual gain.

Formalising a partnership is just the beginning. As one director of sales put it, “You can get in, but the biggest issue is staying in. If metrics are not met, you will be removed from the shelves. The penalties of that process can take you out of business.”

Once a partnership begins, setting it up for success requires putting benchmarks in place that are not only ambitious and fair but also realistic given a brand’s context with measurement support. Blanket application of specific benchmarks with the threat of hefty fines leads to premature failure of partnerships—and can erode a retailer’s reputation, alienating future partners.

Effective partnerships also require commitment, as the timeline and path for brands to reach high sell-through numbers are different. Retailers need to invest marketing dollars, premium shelf space, and organizational support to consistently realize the rewards.

A holistic, proactive approach is required for effectively partnering with Black-owned brands to answer to the 45 %  of consumers who believe companies should support Black companies. It begins with anticipating the challenges and initiating a collaborative approach to addressing them.

You can get in, but the biggest issue is staying in. Director of sales, leading Black-owned brand

Action 3: Mitigate capital constraints

For years, Black entrepreneurs have started with less capital, on average, than their non-Black competitors and had difficulty getting financing to start or grow a business. Even today, as previously noted, they start with one-third the amount of capital, are more than twice as likely to be denied financing, and are three times more likely to say that their lack of access to capital affects profitability. In 2019, even before the pandemic, almost 30 %  of Black-owned businesses spent more than half of their revenues servicing debt.

The lack of sufficient capital makes rapid growth impossible—even when an organization is profitable. Small businesses have two primary types of capital needs. The first, working capital, is cash to support the organization’s expenses from production to sales to payment. The second, innovation and growth capital, is cash to invest in new products, strategic organizational roles, and exponential growth.

Large retailers can play a meaningful role in mitigating the capital constraints by offering both educational and financing programs to suppliers.

For working capital, retailers can consider providing a portion of the payment up front, shortening the payment cycle, or supporting suppliers in accessing a range of loan options. Leading retailers may want to consider a supply-chain financing program, which allows suppliers to tap into advance payment based on the retailer’s promise to pay, without cost to the retailer.

For innovation and growth capital, any accelerator program should incorporate capital and introductions to investors, lenders, and local business networks. Black entrepreneurs have the drive, talent, and will to scale—but a great strategy without capital can go just so far.

Action 4: Don’t go at it alone

A traditional customer–supplier relationship can force smaller businesses to pursue inefficient, disjointed efforts that consume time and money and reduce the chances of success. Partnership, in contrast, can lead to more knowledge sharing and trust between large retailers and Black-owned companies and brands.

Seed investors are stepping up to help underserved entrepreneurs, and more brand owners are coming to the table expecting to have a voice—and are willing to decline deals with the wrong partners. And some new organizations and visionaries are rising to convene, build common ground and trust, and share counsel and best practices between retailers and brands.

A nonprofit called the Fifteen %  Pledge, for example, has led major retailers to “take the pledge” to advance the representation of Black-owned brands in retail revenue, shelf space, and supplier spending. Launched in 2020, the organization offers accountability support and advice to advocate for equitable, effective partnerships between Black-owned businesses and retailers. To date, the nonprofit has helped 385 Black-owned brands reach retailers’ shelves—delivering more than USD 10 billion in sales in just the first six months of 2021. 12

As a member of the ecosystem, retailers can take a leadership role and take decisive action in response to what consumers and the broader society demand. Retailers can post their commitment, proactively remove barriers to engagement, mitigate lack of access to capital, and partner with others in the industry to drive impact. By joining together, retail can forge a new system—one that is inclusive and fosters the talent of Black and diverse founders.

As the consumer call for inclusivity in retail rises, companies have an opportunity to harness the power of retail to catapult Black-owned brands to success. Effectively doing so requires adapting the playbook—from what works with large suppliers to what works for Black-owned start-ups that daily face inequities and systemic barriers to growth. The hard work required for this effort starts with making specific and ambitious commitments, revisiting the partnership process, unlocking access to capital, and tapping resources across the industry.

Here begins the Karl Lagerfeld feature:

10 of Karl Lagerfeld’s most Personal Possessions

Amanda Harlech, the designer’s longtime muse, selects some of his most treasured objects from an upcoming series of auctions and discusses Lagerfeld’s passions.

By guest author Elisa Lipsky-Karasz from the Wall Street Journal

Karl Lagerfeld designed his homes the same way he designed his collections: with complete conviction, each time charging off in a totally new direction, creating what fashion stylists call “the full look.” One château was an 18th-century rococo fever dream; a Monaco apartment was a 1980s neon-filled Memphis time capsule; a minimalist Parisian apartment featured sleek, futuristic pieces by Marc Newson and Martin Szekely. One house was used solely for eating meals in, another for working. Some houses he filled down to the pens on his desk but rarely slept in—and then sold.

“Maybe it’s a bit like love,” says his longtime muse, creative consultant Lady Amanda Harlech, who worked alongside Lagerfeld for decades at Chanel and Fendi until his death in 2019. “Love’s fun lies in the wooing, not in the doing.”

Starting next month, Sotheby’s will sell more than 1,000 objects from Lagerfeld’s personal collections in a series of auctions, held in Monaco, Paris and Cologne as well as online. The lots include personal effects such as Lagerfeld’s many pairs of fingerless gloves and fashion sketches as well as furniture, and even a sculpture evoking Lagerfeld’s beloved Birman cat, Choupette. In 2009, Christie’s staged a similar sale from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé following Saint Laurent’s death, which resulted in a then-record for a single-owner auction of $484 million, with some lots going for 10 times their estimate.


An assiduous connoisseur and insatiable collector of things including Louis XVI furniture, silent movie posters and historic clothing, Lagerfeld was frequently on the phone placing bids, Harlech recalls. She says, “Sometimes he would suddenly turn and gleefully say, ‘I got it.’”

A weekly roundup of fashion, entertainment, design, food, travel, art, architecture and more.

“Karl was this sort of radar, like a Geiger counter, picking up on the next thing,” says Harlech of his broad and frequently changing interests, which could suddenly shift. “‘We’re over here now, right? Goodbye.’ And he had no sentimentality.”

Just as each of Lagerfeld’s properties underwent different incarnations, so did the fashion shows that he helmed for Chanel: One season Paris’s Grand Palais became a colossal supermarket complete with Chanel-branded groceries; for another it was an art gallery; for another, it held a rocket ship poised for takeoff with space-age fashion on board.

“It’s almost him trying to understand himself,” says Harlech. “He used the houses—for photographs, and emotionally.” One surprising acquisition, a historic Greek Revival house in Vermont, appeared in 2009 Chanel ready-to-wear ad campaign images, for example.

His final house, Pavillon de Voisins in Louveciennes, was just outside of Paris, not far from Versailles. It featured Weimar-inspired decor mixed with pieces by Bruno Paul and Süe et Mare, which are in the Sotheby’s sale, evoking the years just before Lagerfeld’s birth in Hamburg. Says Harlech, “His end was his beginning and his beginning was his end.”

“He was creating these worlds,” she says of Lagerfeld’s passion for design. “He once said that you’ve got to have the places to wear the dresses.”


That’s the beginning of the fourth feature:

Getting Sustainability Right (Infographic by Bain & Company)

While most executives agree that sustainability initiatives are becoming more important, many are still early in their journeys. Here’s how leading companies excel.


Sust 1 – 3







That’s the beginning of the fifth feature:

Getting Personal with Iman

The supermodel talks about life after David Bowie, their Catskills refuge and the perfume inspired by their love.

By guest author Guy Trebay from the New York Times.

You’re never getting into her bedroom. You probably won’t get past the front door. For years, people have tried to deduce where exactly the supermodel Iman and her husband David Bowie had secreted themselves in the Catskill Mountains.

They never managed to find out. Even now, few Woodstock locals know the precise location, though it is not far from the storied town that the citified Mr. Bowie derided on his first visit in 2002 as “too cute for words.”

Yet when, a few years later, while recording an album at a local studio, Mr. Bowie happened upon a listing for a mountainside property with views little changed since James Fenimore Cooper described them, he saw in the landscape something more: an escape route from fame.

“David and I were both very protective of our privacy,” Iman said one afternoon in mid-October. “There were certain things nobody else was going to see,” explained a woman who, like her husband, has spent the better part of her life under a microscope. “Our house, our bedroom, our daughter have always been off limits.”

Once you do it for one, “you can’t say I’m not going to do it for another” she said, referring to publications that have, in fact, splashed the interiors of various Bowie residences across their pages — though only after the singer-songwriter, a canny businessman, had put them up for sale and decamped.

We were seated on a leather banquette at the Polo Bar. Recently liberated from lockdown, Ralph Lauren’s midtown clubhouse for the shiny set is once more booming, though not yet serving lunch.

Never mind that. Learning that Iman would be in Manhattan for a few days to promote her first project since Mr. Bowie’s death — called Love Memoir, it is Iman’s first perfume and was inspired by their nearly quarter-century relationship — Mr. Lauren not only threw open the restaurant’s doors in welcome but dressed her for the occasion in a stock-tied floral print prairie dress, chunky silver belt and calfskin Wellington boots.

“When David and I met, we had both had successful careers and previous relationships,” Iman, 66, said. Born Iman Abdulmajid, Iman was 36 and had long since achieved both fame and mononym status when she and Mr. Bowie, 45 at the time, were married. “We knew what we wanted from each other,” Iman said in the frank way that is her signature.

People may imagine many things about Iman, projecting onto the screen of her beauty an array of fantasies engendered by someone with her natural refinement, aristocratic bearing and a neck so elegantly attenuated she considered it a superpower at fashion casting calls.

In reality Iman is hilarious and bawdy. As her 800,000 Instagram followers know, she billboards her truth. Her social media posts alternate between glamour shots and typographical renderings of home truths (“We all have chapters that we would rather keep unpublished”) that, issuing from her, somehow seem less like refrigerator magnet bromides.

She swears with abandon and falls easily into conspiratorial laughter with a reporter — that is until the din of a bartender dumping cubes in an ice bin threatens to drown out conversation. The first time it happens, Iman ignores it. Twice and everything around her stops dead.

“Oh, no, no, no,” Iman says, dispatching an associate at a nearby table to bring the velvet hammer down.

Above all, what she and Mr. Bowie wanted, Iman said, was a refuge from a public always greedy for celebrities’ emotional detritus. They were also keen to get away from the psychic clutter of their own mythologies.

In contrast to his elaborately constructed and chameleon-like persona, his superstar status and supersize public presence, David Bowie in private was introspective, a dedicated autodidact and, as Iman said, an old-fashioned hubby so spoiled by her domestic skills (“I make a mean, mean, mean rotisserie chicken”) that seldom after they married did she get to eat in restaurants.


By the time the two met, Iman had long since established a successful cosmetics business, Iman Cosmetics, specializing in skin products for people of colour. And she had spent decades turning the putative glamour of a modelling career into a personal fortune.

“It was never for me about the fabulousness,” Iman said. “I came to this country as a refugee. My parents started out poor in Somalia, did well for themselves but then lost everything. So when I came to America, it was a way for me to rebuild. It was a business plan.”

Famously, Iman’s career got its start in the ’70s with a risible fiction ginned up by the photographer and inveterate fabulist Peter Beard.

It was Mr. Beard who introduced Iman to Diana Vreeland at Vogue, claiming that his Somali protégé — a diplomat’s daughter educated at boarding schools in Cairo and at Nairobi University — was the daughter of a goatherd he had stumbled across in the African bush.

“I was not ‘lost’ to be discovered in a jungle,” Iman said with a hoot of derision. “I’ve never been in a jungle in my life!”

From their first meeting, Iman said, she and Mr. Bowie recognized in each other something rare and solid. The immediate emotional charge the musician spoke about when describing that early date was augmented by a shared conviction that they had found in each other kindred spirits, ready to build a partnership far from the celebrity circus.

“I know my identity, and David knew his,” Iman said. “When we met, we agreed on living life with a purpose.”

Each was strong-minded, and both were intensely focused, she said. “Our focus was on each other, what belonged to us and our daughter,” she said, referring to Alexandria Zahra Jones (Jones was Mr. Bowie’s given name), known as Lexi. “We were very protective of each other.”

To a surprising extent, the couple succeeded in achieving a kind of normal life. Much of their time was spent hidden in plain sight in downtown Manhattan.

“We found that the paparazzi are a little bit lazy here,” she said, unlike in London where a brief house hunting foray turned them into fugitives. “We went for one week and were followed every second from the airport until we got back on the plane. We thought we are never going to live this down, so let’s go home and let them chase someone else.”

Home, while their daughter attended the progressive Little Red Schoolhouse (now called LREI) in Greenwich Village, was an apartment near the Puck Building in SoHo, which she recently sold. “It was just me in that big place, and it was actually sadder to be alone there with the memories, just flip-flopping around,” she said.

Increasingly over the last decade, and for much of Mr. Bowie’s well-concealed illness, the couple retreated to their upstate property. It was there that Iman again found herself holing up after Mr. Bowie died of liver cancer in 2016. And it was only there in solitude that she found she could process her grief.

“I really didn’t see anyone,” Iman said, with the exception of her daughter and the modeling agent and activist Bethann Hardison, a neighbor and old friend. Iman cooked. She took daily walks through the woods on her land, with its pristine mountain vistas. And she unexpectedly began to build cairns.

In many cultures throughout history, people have stacked stones to mark paths, to consecrate sacred places or as meditative acts. For Iman, cairn-building became a daily means of doing all these things while also sorting out her memories.

“For me, lockdown was good because, in Manhattan, there was no room to fall apart,” she said. Strangers on the street would stop to offer condolences but then insist on taking selfies.

“In the woods I could cry and release the grief,” she said. “Stacking the stones, I began to do one cairn every day. I began to experience the memories more joyfully. And it slowly became less painful for me to see these beautiful sunsets my husband loved without thinking, ‘I have to show this to David.”

The notion of creating a perfume evolved gradually and organically during isolation, she said. “I’ve been in the beauty business since 1994, and I never created a perfume.”

Every culture has its rituals of remembrance: lighted candles, altar building, the burning of incense and shedding of possessions. Victorians braided their loved ones’ hair into rings and lockets, and Iman’s perfume is, in a sense, a Victorian mourning gesture. The perfume weaves memories from the life she and Mr. Bowie shared.

The carton is a watercolor she drew of an upstate sunset. “The words inside the bottle are words I’ve been writing about love,” she said.

Love Memoir, which comes to market this week, is shaped like two stacked stones, one amber glass and the other hammered gold. The fragrance it contains is a heady and, it should be said, faintly anachronistic blend of bergamot, rose and an essence that was Mr. Bowie’s favorite.

“For 20 years I only wore Fracas,” Iman said. Following Mr. Bowie’s death, she found herself instead wearing his scent — a dry, earthy, and faintly woody smell of a common grass native to South Asia known as vetiver.

So it seemed only natural that, when working with the perfumers at Firmenich on the composition of Love Memoir, vetiver would be one of its most powerfully lingering notes.

“People have already asked, ‘Do you intend to create another fragrance?’” Iman said. “I have no idea and no intentions. For me, this really came out of left field. It was a way for me to process my grief and come to terms with my memories.”



Newsletter of last week

The most modern Citroën version of the legendaryCitroën DS  and all electric – The Last Emperor of Mexico of Chapultepec – Reflections from COP26 – Weekend Confidential: Costume Designer Bob Mackie Made the Stars Glitter

The highlights of last week’s NEWS, for your convenience, just click on the feature to read.


EU Commission clears acquisition of joint control of ASPI by CDPE, Macquarie and Blackstone


Agricultural output of the EU down by 1% in 2020


Flexi-Loft: versatile sustainability champion with high acoustic performance by Swiss Autoneum

Ford Scraps Plan to develop an Electric Vehicle with Rivian


AATCC Announces Future Leaders Award Recipients


EU dairies increased production in 2020


EU Excess mortality increased again in September 2021

Industrial Coatings Market worth USD 103.2 billion by 2025


BASF to sell its kaolin minerals business to KaMin


SCS Formulate 2021: BASF addresses consumer needs with natural solutions for the personal care industry

Techtextil and Texprocess 2022: Discover innovations live once again:

Performance Days 2021 as a hybrid event


EU Commission welcomes agreement on EU Annual Budget 2022

EU invests over EUR 1 billion in innovative projects to decarbonise the economy

European Green Deal: Commission adopts new proposals to stop deforestation, innovate sustainable waste management and make soils healthy for people, nature and climate

EU Household expenditure takes 8 % hit in 2020


Mono wire healds from Groz-Beckert: Optimised for application and environment

Honey Bees

Trilobites: I Scream. You Scream. Bees Scream, Too


More hours actually worked in Q2 than Q1 2021


People are increasingly worried about inequalities but divided on how to address them, says OECD


How to make Spending in the U.S. unpopular


Beneficial Ownership: New Developments in Latin America and International Practices  November 23, 2021 | Zoom Webinar

Intellectual Property

Hague System Stories: TechSafe Industries – Designing Smart Urban Energy Solutions


DB Schenker’s journey in implementing and scaling intelligent automation programmes :


Japan’s Economy Shrinks, but Outlook is Brighter as Virus Ebbs

A New Source of Fuel in an Aging Japan: Adult Incontinence


EU Commission appoints Eric Gippini Fournier as Hearing Officer

The European Commission appoints a new Director for the European Anti-Fraud Office

The European Commission appoints a new Head of Representation in Estonia

The Board of Directors of UBS Group AG will nominate Colm Kelleher as new Chairman and Lukas Gähwiler as Vice Chairman for election to the Board at the Annual General Meeting on April 6, 2022

Proton Therapy

A first for Switzerland: proton therapy to treat lung cancer


EU Rail transport severely impacted by COVID-19 in 2020


Swiss Served sanctions fell by almost 21 % in 2020

Social Protection

EU Social protection expenditure: 2020 early estimates :

Supply Chain

Getting to grips with supply chain emissions


Swiss Federal Council strives to be international leader in sustainable finance with climate transparency


Swiss Federal Council extends duration of measure to protect Swiss stock exchange infrastructure and initiates consultation

Swiss Federal Council wishes to show its commitment to sustainability with green Confederation bonds

Swiss Federal Council requests renewal of Monetary Assistance Decree and approves contributions to IMF

Premium Swiss increases from 2020 to 2021 have not influenced disposable income growth


Signs of recovery of the EU tourism sector in summer 2021 :


UBS Year Ahead 2022: A year of discovery


xarvio® FIELD MANAGER expands weather station connectivity with integration of METOS by Pessl Instruments and Sencrop


Webinar on The Role of Government as A Catalyst for Technology Transfer: Opportunities and Challenges (November, 25, 2021)

Exploring the PCT” Webinar Series –  Mastering priority claims in PCT applications (November 24,  2021)

Webinar: Protecting your Trademarks in China (February 17, 2022)

WIPO: Our next webinars on copyright infrastructure (December 2021)

Worth Reading

Worth Reading : Vulnerabilities, resilience in global trading system examined in World Trade Report 2021

New publication examines global value chain resilience, shift beyond manufacturing sector