I am currently munching a raw carrot. No, I’m not the Easter bunny; the new diet was spurred by an observation made by Professor Augustinus Bader while being interviewed for this week’s issue on the secret to good skin (“Augustinus Bader and the making of a €70m phenomenon”). In his experience, the best complexions require a little stress, a bit of sun and lots of carrots: he didn’t even recommend two pumps of his The Rich Cream to slather on one’s skin.
Then again, he doesn’t really need to promote his namesake skincare. Since bringing his “anti-ageing wound cream” to market three years ago, alongside the French financier Charles Rosier, his brand has seen its turnover leap from $7m to $70m, and his moisturiser has just been voted the greatest skincare product of all time. Though I wasn’t among the 300-strong industry experts who voted for The Rich Cream, I too have fallen for this product. Hard. As someone who suffers sporadically from unsexy skin complaints such as eczema, the cream has an exquisite property that simultaneously soothes the skin and makes it glow. And yet, considering the gushing sycophancy around him, the German scientist remains wonderfully pragmatic about his product, beauty regimens in general (most of which he thinks are nonsense), and the industry he now finds himself ensconced within. Mostly, he’s happy that the success of Augustinus Bader helps to fund his day job; in 2019-20, almost 10 per cent of the profits went to wound-healing research and charities. His side hustle in bestselling anti-ageing skincare is merely another way to make ends meet.
Bader isn’t the only person in this issue who has carved a secondary career while pursuing another goal. Until recently, Athina Koini was competing internationally in the 1,500m and 3,000m steeplechase: she spent 15 years as a runner representing Greece. Born in Canada and raised in Athens, the Greek-Ethiopian former athlete is now pursuing a full-time career in modelling, and she brings a charismatic vigour to our cover story (“Make the cut: bring a high-octane glamour to this season’s style”). Notwithstanding the almost painfully beautiful views of the Mediterranean coastline against which this shoot is framed by the Greek photographer Marili Andre, I love this story for its contemporary take on femininity that feels both fresh and fierce. This is Koini’s first major fashion story for an international publication: I hope that we’ll be seeing more of her in the months to come.
There’s a freshness in menswear also, where the beleaguered suit – so nearly consigned to history – is being thought anew. Modern tailors are reconsidering the way men want to dress now, and those brands that are offering softer silhouettes and separates are enjoying unprecedented demand. Aleks Cvetkovic looks at the brands adapting to the new consumer interests and reaping the rewards (“How to wear a suit now”).
More inspiration: in “South Africa’s new art-world power couple are reshaping their country’s story”, Emma Crichton-Miller meets the artists Teresa Kutala Firmino and Blessing Ngobeni, who have taken their experiences of growing up in South Africa to create works that convey the cultural alienation, anger and violence they both experienced as children, expressed in very different ways. And, lastly, Rebecca Newman celebrates the pure, exhilarating joy of dance. It’s one of the few activities in which we can still feel bonded, even while in lockdown, and the explosion of TikTok routines, online workouts, rhumba sessions, barre classes and Insta-discos have offered us a rare chance to shake off our inhibitions, get our pulses racing and abandon our woes. Dance unleashes our most primal instincts. And so what better way to mark the right of spring?