Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
This season at Berlin Fashion Week, much was different. The Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week took off amid World Cup finals, competing both for media attention and, on some nights, even audience. But for anyone who can tell you more about this summer’s athletic trend than the goal scorers of the German National team, this fashion week, well into its seventh year, marked a coming of age. And while even the tent’s location had to move due to a World Cup Fan-Mile that sprawled from the Brandenburg Gate, the alternative location – an ice rink from the sixties – offered a breezy and spacious alternative, not to mention a far more professional and sane atmosphere, away from the hordes of tourists taking pictures of street-style bloggers taking pictures of other street-style bloggers at a historic site.
What’s more, with many major international brand missing from the official schedule, the dominant approach was truer to the slow-but-steady rise of a younger scene of local designers. Many have established a strong signature and brand identity along the way, with some definitive strands becoming apparent among them.
The Club Kids
A city famous for its nightlife, it’s surprising that many Berlin designers often shy away from club subculture – yet the ones who dare to design for the dancefloor shined this season. Swiss menswear designer Julian Zigerli, whose show opened the week, combined silk and knitwear, transparent polyester, multicolored prints and patterned monochromes in his uplifting and original sporty wear. Franziska Michael presented an androgynous collection best described with the newish coinage “Health Goth,” and celebrated a slew of DIS-generation favorites like shiny surfaces, crop-tops for men, liquid-spill prints, and mesh. Newcomer Vektor took the black-and-white trend and transparent mesh fabrics to more timeless, wearable interpretations. Kilian Kerner, who usually tends towards evening wear, managed a perfect balance between his creative inclination and hints of club culture, sending his male models down the runway with perforated leather looks and mesh shorts-and-blouson combinations. His womenswear translated the season’s athletic trend into elegant numbers using elaborate beading and plenty of silk.
The School of Understatement
While there was never such a thing as a distinctive “Berlin look” perusing the runways, it seems as if a certain knack for perfecting the art of understatement might be engrained in the Berlin style. Designer duo Perret Schaad offered little surprises, yet their simple, light monochrome pieces exuded sophistication. Hien Le used a lot of white, with some accents in bright orange and pastel-green in silk or leather. Womenswear designers Michael Sontag, Isabell de Hillerin, and Malaikaraiss also opted for clean understatement, with transparency and whites dominating all collections. Vladimir Karaleev brought slight dissonance to the clean, functional sensibility he shares with many of his colleagues, by using rough finishes and conceptual interventions.
Another definitive approach was artful, conceptual wear. Designer duo Augustin Téboul, who have just won the European Woolmark Prize, stayed true to their signature color (black) and elaborate handicraft in an enchanting collection of crocheted nets and soft leather. Austrian recent graduate Marina Hoermanseder took artisanal design to a whole new level with her sculptured, hand-worked leather corsets in medical bondage style. Dawid Tomaszewski‘s collection was inspired by the Russian Suprematism art movement with its attention to basic geometric forms, and showed a new take on minimalism, infused with subtle opulence. It’s regrettable that the Berlin Fashion Week traditionally closes with a show by a designer with little to no connection to the city or to German fashion. This season, this slot was given to Johny Dar, an American artist and designer based in Germany. However, while Dar is not a Berlin label or even a fashion designer per se, the show, which was more performance art than fashion, was a perfect ending to a week in which much was done differently.