This year the Aenne Burda Award for Creative Leadership goes to Africa for the first time: to the young Senegalese entrepreneur Fatoumata Ba.
Beauty and grace, hard work and an unconditional belief in the ability to achieve: Aenne Burda, the woman who clothed post-war Germany and embodied the economic miracle, would have been 106 today. More than 65 years after the first issue of Burda Moden, her enduring legacy still inspires young entrepreneurs to innovate.
In an age without internet, Aenne Burda’s extensive global network broke down cultural and political barriers alike. One highlight for the “Queen of Clothes” came in 1987, when Burda Moden became the first western magazine to be published in the Soviet Union. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, then Germany’s Foreign Minister, praised her achievement: “Aenne Burda used her own approach and opportunities to pull aside the Iron Curtain just a little.”
Parisian style in Offenburg
Aenne Burda’s patterns brought the glamour of Paris and Hollywood into German living rooms, democratising fashion worldwide and making it affordable for all. Aenne Burda continuously adapted her concept to the spirit of the times, with the following recipe for success: “Fashion shouldn’t be an unfulfillable dream. It shouldn’t create illusions that can never come true. It should make us look beautiful and lift our spirits.”
17 languages, 100 countries
Aenne Burda was born in 1909, the daughter of a railway worker, and married Franz Burda in 1931. They had three sons – Franz, Frieder and today's publisher Hubert Burda. Burda Style, as Burda Moden is now known, is published in 17 languages and more than 100 countries. She died in 2005, aged 96, having founded the world’s largest fashion empire.