Elsa Klensch, who brought fashion to TV on Style with Elsa Klensch, has died.
For two decades, she gave CNN viewers a front row seat to runways in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Klensch said in 2000,
There is nothing as exciting as a good collection…
I can go in like many other fashion editors -tired, depressed, fed up. Once those good clothes come down the runway, the whole world changes.”
Klensch was born in Sydney, Australia and studied journalism at the University of Sydney, beginner her career in London in the 60s. Her reporting took her to Hong Kong, where she worked as a freelance business writer for Women’s Wear Daily.
In the 70s, Klensch worked as a fashion editor and reported for WWD, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and she joined the CNN in 80, hosting and producing Style with Elsa Klensch until 2001. Her reports covered global fashion and she brought designers in front of the camera and developed a devoted following. Her show one of the network’s most watched in the 80s.
WAY before social media, fashion bloggers and influencers, Klensch was one of the only sources of instant worldwide fashion news. Klensch interviewed the world’s top designers like Miuccia Prada, Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld and supermodels Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, making them all household names.
She said on her show in 2000,
When we started, maybe for the first five years, we were the only television crew (at fashion shows).
Designers really didn’t understand the concept of television.”
Walter Imparato, her photojournalist for over a decade said when Klensch arrived at fashion shows everyone knew and designers expected her backstage. Imparato, now a senior photojournalist at CNN said,
We rolled up, we were like a rock band…
Photographers were waiting for hours and we blew right in.”
In 1987 Klensch was recognized by the CFDA for her work in fashion television and she was elected into the Best Dressed Hall of Fame, along with with Audrey Hepburn, Yves Saint Laurent and Anna Wintour.
During an interview with The Look Online, after her show was no longer on air, she said,
I think design has to be treated with respect because it’s such an important part of our lives. I think good design makes our lives more livable, it makes us happier, it makes us function more easily.”
After her CNN show came to an end, Klensch continued to write and lecture on fashion and she wrote several mystery novels.
Elsa Klensch was 92.
(Photo, CNN; via Wikipedia, CNN)