This week on Wynne's World, we meet Clemency Buddenhagen, a British Creative Director who is living and working in New York City. She studied at the legendary Central Saint Martins School of Art in London and worked for some of the most prestigious brands including Armani, Calvin Klein, Burberry and Karl Lagerfeld. Clemency has two sons, Sebastian aged nineteen and Luca aged twenty. She has lived and worked in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Barcelona.
Clemency also had her own line, Clemency London, which was worn by the Chancellors' wife at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and The Duchess of Cambridge and tipped The Times Best Dressed List.
On a personal note, Clemency is one of the loveliest people I've ever met and I have wanted to interview her for quite some time now. This week on Wynne's World we learn more about Clemency and how motherhood has enhanced her life.
Please tell us how you will celebrate Mother's Day:
My sons and I usually celebrate Mother’s Day in conjunction with the country we are currently living in. My children were born in NYC, we later moved to Barcelona, Spain and the boys are now both at University in London while I am in the US and unable to travel, due to restrictions. It was UK Mother’s Day in March and for the first time ever, I was unable to spend the day with my sons as I am in lockdown in NYC. We had a family Zoom and the boys made a beautiful painting which they sent digitally, they told me they were sending virtual hugs, a true sign of our present times. I did however, manage to have flowers delivered to my Mother in the UK. For Mother’s Day last year, my sons took me to the Bill Viola exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts in London, afterwards we had cocktails at Dean Street Townhouse then dinner and live jazz in Soho.
The Royal Academy of Arts, London
What has motherhood meant for you?
For me, having children is such a blessing and the most precious gift in life. You become so selfless and giving, it’s a pure, unconditional love felt with the greatest intensity. I am beyond grateful to have brought two beautiful souls into this world. We have naturally experienced every emotion together and guiding them and watching them grow into kind, compassionate, smart, creative, fun, caring individuals is the most incredible feeling I could ever dream of experiencing.
My boys have always and continue to enhance my life. They are both truly inspirational as we continue to learn from each other and constantly deepen our love and respect. It is often difficult to be apart from my boys during this time, however we have such a strong and innate bond that we still feel close even when we are apart. The boys are very heavily into music, fashion, technology, art, film, cooking, literature, a whole array of exciting pursuits which keeps me very current and in tune with all generations.
What are you working on right now:
I am currently working on launching a High and Fine Jewelry Company, created and produced with consideration to environmental and social impact. I’m working with a gemologist, who is responsible for implementing the world’s first Fair Trade gem protocols, working with governments, non-profit organisations, miners and cutters globally. Ultimately, the process ensures that people and the earth are treated with respect, while focusing on truth and justice within the industry. With a focus on social awareness and Human Rights, 5% of profits from each piece sold, will go directly to UNICEF and Amnesty International. I have designed ten pieces around ethically sourced sapphires and 18-Karat Fairtrade gold and I am currently working on CAD’s and molds while illustrating the collection to capture the brand DNA and aesthetic. Of course, my initial strategy and business model now needs to be adjusted as the world and industry has changed. I have been listening to multiple podcasts, live streamings and panel discussions with industry leaders and innovative and progressive minds about how to put ideas into a new perspective and work with creative ideas to adapt to a new way of working and reassess our values.
What are you currently reading:
At the moment, I am reading a few things simultaneously, Sapiens- A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. One of my sons was reading this over the holidays this year and he was so inspired, I had to read it. I am also reading, The Cartiers, the untold story of the family behind the jewelry empire by Francesca Cartier Brickell. My boys gave me a signed copy as a Christmas present. I love theatre and have been studying acting for a couple of years and I am also reading the play, Woman Descending A Staircase by Phoebe Eaton. I extracted a monologue from the play, which I have been rehearsing during lockdown.
I have been watching Fleabag, created, written and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge who is so talented. Also, I can’t stop watching The Office (American version). It’s so cleverly shot and I love the documentary style and the characters. It’s hilarious. I recently watched the film Her, featuring Joaquin Phoenix, on Netflix.
What are you looking forward to doing after this challenging time is behind us?
Firstly, I want to go to London and give my boys and all my friends and family a hug and celebrate being together at last. It has been far too long! My eldest son and I send each other videos constantly of places we want to travel to once this is all over. Philippines, India, Bora Bora, Brazil and Iceland are at the top of our list, it may be a dream but it keeps us going! My youngest son wants to go to Japan and I would love to take them to the Chichu Art Museum and Benesse Art site on Naoshima Island, one day.
This Spring, I will be wearing wide leg Bottega Veneta trousers with vintage Armani and Calvin Klein blazers, which I have saved since I worked there and are so timeless and current right now. I love tailoring and the sartorial look, if it has a feminine edge. I will be wearing these with my Chanel sandals and I have been looking online at vintage, resale Hermes scarves to wear as a face mask.
Calvin Klein ad blazer designed by Clemency, Calvin Klein navy blazer, Bottega Veneta wide leg pants, vintage Hermes silk scarf, Chanel sandals
What are your beauty essentials?
My favourite beauty products are Hourglass nude lipsticks, C E Ferulic serum by Skinceuticals and Shiseido eye patches.
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, Shiseido Eye Patches, Hourglass Lipstick
Who inspires your style:
My fashion beauty & fashion icons are Charlotte Rampling and Bianca Jagger.
Bianca Jagger and Charlotte Rampling
What are your favorite cities to visit?
Barcelona, Tokyo, London, Paris, Rome and Florence.
How do you feel that life has changed during this time of quarantine?
I think there is a general shift and re-evaluation of values and priorities right now and personally, communication and time has become even more important and more meaningful in my life right now. I am having deeper, more lengthy conversations with friends and family, now I can be fully focused with no distractions, having to run off to a meeting and cutting a conversation short. Friends from the past who I haven’t heard from for such a long time, some for many years, have reached out and it’s beautiful to hear about their lives, families, work and ideas. My entire family are obsessed with Zoom, which has become an incredibly humble, ‘show and tell’ of creative pursuits of things that they have grown, drawn, sewn, invented and painted to cooked, produced, ran for charity, designed and built under lockdown. Hours of love, sharing, appreciation, fun, creativity, giving, ideas and laughter spanning across all generations. We have promised to keep this and continue once all this is over. It has made me appreciate my family more and find inspiration in all their creative ideas, pursuits and positive attitudes towards our current situation and respect and compassion for others.