tuned into fashion | style with elsa klensch

February 1, 2017 in stop look & listen by editor

Elsa Klensch is widely considered to be the Grand Dame of fashion on television.


Style With Elsa Klensch
Host: by Elsa Klensch
Channel: CNN
Circa: 1980-2001

All About Elsa: Elsa Klensch is widely considered to be the Grand Dame of fashion on television. A native-Australian, Klensch started her career as a hard-news reporter before defecting to a more stylish work life at WWD, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Klensch eventually made the move to CNN, where she hosted her eponymous TV program for 21 years. “I had long believed that fashion shows belonged on television,” Klensch recalls on her website. “So when I got a call from CNN, it was a vision come true.”

Fashion and Fruity Pebbles: Every Saturday morning, those of us who had more than a passing interest in the fashion industry would plunk down on the couch with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles (or was that just us?) to watch Klensch who, with her trademark bobbed locks and short bangs, would thoughtfully dissect the runways of NY, London, Milan, Tokyo, and Paris. The respect she garnered from some of the legends of the industry meant that she had limitless access behind-the-scenes, where she interviewed everyone from Gianni Versace to Issey Miyake to Naomi Campbell. And while the couture and avant garde clothing she favored were almost always out of the viewer’s budget, never once did we feel like were not welcome into Klensch’s high-end jet-set world. Since leaving “Style” in 2001, she has veered away from style news, keeping busy writing mystery novels with a fashion bent.

Memorable Opening: Quick clips of runway models backed by that classical violin score, we can still see the animated cursive ribbons wrapping around the show’s title just before Klensch launched into her weekly introduction: “I’m Elsa Klensch, reporting on the design worlds of fashion, beauty and decorating.”

Covering Thierry Mugler’s show for Fall/Winter ’88, Klensch refers to the designer’s muse as a “she-devil”. Note Mugler’s fashion show soundtrack, which not only included Rob Base’s “It Takes Two” but also “Tubular Bells” from The Exorcist.

Heading for the 90’s, Klensch devoted an entire episode to revisiting the fashion and trends of the previous decade. Here, she claims that the 80’s were “the most exciting decade of the century” and that fashion in the 90’s had a lot to live up to.


A CNN commercial for “Style With Elsa Klensch”, a small capsule of what we got to see every week for two decades. The show is just screaming for a DVD release.

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