She was the most successful German publisher of her generation; a woman with a unique career in post World War II Germany; a woman who was able to combine her profession, glamor and motherhood under one umbrella. Aenne Burda of Offenburg (1901-2005): Entreprenneur, Grande Dame, Mother.
The beginning of her career was marked by deep injury. She was 40, the mother of three teenage sons when she found out that her husband had a lover and a daughter, and that he had even set up this lover with a fashion publishing company. Aenne Burda gave her husband a choice: divorce or the publishing house. The Burdas stayed together, drew up a marriage contract, and from then on led what is today called an "open marriage". Aenne took over her rival's publishing company (including its debts) and never looked back. With unbounded energy and a good sense for what women were yearning for in post-war Germany -- practical but chique fashion they could sew themselves -- she turned "Burda Fashion" into the country's most successful fashion magazine. Aenne Burda aimed to make German women more beautiful and more self-confident, and she reckoned and acted practically. Once a wild girl from an Offenburg railroad family, she became an independent and sometimes headstrong publisher who wanted to prove to her husband: I am better than all of your lovers. "If I had had a husband who loved me as much as I loved him in the beginning, I would have never pulled off 'Burda Fashion'," she once said. She became the "Queen of Offenburg," was often impatient and tough, yet open-handed and generous, interested in beauty and art. Andy Warhol did a portrait of the Burdas in 1973 as shining examples of the great German economic miracle. The glamorous highpoint of her career and her life was in 1987, with a fashion show in Moscow attended by Raissa Gorbatschowa, to celebrate Aenne Burda becoming the first to publish a western magazine in the Soviet Union.
Based on the biography by Ute Dahmen, SWR television produced a two-part feature film about the first years of the Burda Fashion Publishing Company. The accompanying documentary is a portrait of the life of Aenne Burda, the grande dame of post-war German fashion. How did she master life, what made her happy, what price did she have to pay? A documentary with charming archival material, some of it previously unpublished, and interviews with family members, former employees, colleagues and her biographer.
Now online at www.ardmediathek.de
A film by
45 / 30 min.
Director of photography: Christoph Schmitz
Sound: Tobias Weis
Editing: Petra Hölge
Art design: Edith Schwörer
Composer: Andreas Radzuweit
Footage researcher: Martina Meier
Producer: Jochen Dickbertel
Commisioning editor: Simone Reuter