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On September 16 at the James Goldstein Residence in Los Angeles, Marcell von Berlin hosted its first in-person fashion show. The man behind the brand, Marcell Pustul, was excited to bring his vision to life in Hollywood, just miles from his West Coast flagship store on Melrose Avenue. Up high in the Hollywood Hills, towering over a jagged cliff barricaded by a glass partition, a bright orange catwalk stood in place of Goldstein’s tennis court. There, models paraded against the skyline in garments and accessories from Pustul’s latest Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Guests in attendance—including Toni Braxton, Evan Ross, Cassie, Charlotte Mckinney, and Rickey Thompson—took in a performance by Tommy Genesis ahead of the show, and DJ sets by Tom Breu and MAAD, too.
“It was very energetic, warm, vivid, and strong. Everything was drenched in orange and set the tone for the collection’s energy,” he told Whitewall. “As a setting, I couldn't have imagined a better location than the James Goldstein Residence, with its breathtaking view over Los Angeles. We’ve had two photoshoots here in the past and I knew we could only create this special energy here.”
For the Polish creator, who splits his time between Berlin and L.A., presenting his runway regalia was an opportunity to showcase his inspirations this season—like the empowerment and self-expression embedded in 1980s dressing—and to sharpen the new direction of his brand. Since launching Marcell von Berlin ten years ago, he went through a relaunch of his label in 2018 with the help of his appointed CEO, Anja Tillack, who flew to L.A. to help present the show as her first large-scale project in this role.
“To work together on the show as the first project in this role was huge, but fun,” she said. “We were together 24/7, suffered a lot of sweat and blood, and still love each other. Even more importantly, we trust each other. We both learned a lot from that, especially that we always have each other’s backs.”
Whitewall spoke with Pustul to hear where his start in fashion flourished, how his latest collection is bringing back favorites from the past, and why he feels the pandemic forced fashion to work with society and the environment and not against it.
WHITEWALL: Where did your fascination with fashion come from?
MARCELL PUSTUL: My first inspiration and love for fashion came from my family, as my grandmother was a very talented seamstress. From her, I found the passion and learned a lot of basic skills. That is why I moved from Poland to New York at the age of 17 to work at my first fashion internship and started to study at Parsons School of Design. After working with well-known brands for a couple of years in New York, I felt the urge to launch my own label in 2011 and create my own designs.
WW: Why was the Spring/Summer 2022 collection inspired by the 1980s?
MP: The Spring/Summer 2022 collection is a lot about shape, silhouettes, and volume. I was inspired by the ‘80s, one of the most eclectic decades in fashion. From shoulder pads, power suits, puffy sleeves, and high-waisted jeans. Old favorites are back again.
The ‘80s were a decade of the power dresser, but also of punks who used style as a vehicle of empowerment and self-expression. The SS22 collection is about that—clothes that make you feel powerful.
WW: What key pieces—or shapes, colors, and silhouette—in the collection communicate the 1980s in a contemporary way?
MP: Definitely the power suits which we designed in many different colors. They are modernly interpreted in two versions; oversized and fitted, are less boxy in the shoulders, and fall more elegantly, but still symbolize power.
WW: What importance does a female CEO play in your brand?
MP: Anja and I have known each other for a long time now. I trust her in every way. She was also by my side in 2018 during the relaunch and supported me, which is why I'm even happier that she has returned to the brand as CEO. As a person, of course, I appreciate her on a whole other level. She and all the women in my private life have a very high status and special influence in my life.
WW: What type of women wear Marcell von Berlin? Do you have any muses?
MP: Independent, self-confident women who live their best lives and are not afraid to embrace every part of their personality.
Many women have influenced and shaped me in my life, starting with my mother and grandmother, or Madonna and Cher in my youth. Now it’s the women I work with—be it in my team or external.
WW: What is your studio in Berlin like?
MP: When we sit on a new collection, we always start with the fabrics first or rather with the prints. Our prints are designed in-house and are therefore unique in the world. You will always recognize Marcell von Berlin by our striking prints and powerful colors.
WW: How would you describe your personal style?
MP: Since I do a lot of tackling and running around myself, my outfit has to be comfortable first and foremost and be able to withstand all of that. My go-to pieces are sneakers, jeans, a shirt, and a hoodie.
WW: How did the pandemic impact your view of fashion and your label?
MP: We need to change our perspective and our mindset. The way in which fashion and its products are developed must connect with the needs of society and the environment and work with them, not against them.
WW: Where do you feel the future of fashion is?
MP: The fashion industry is ready for a makeover. The time of opulent luxury is over. Fashion consumers have become more critical and now ask questions: Where do the materials come from, where is it manufactured, who is behind the brand? Less is more—but with more appreciation for the product, the craftsmanship, and the people behind it. Also, in the coming years, will see a huge surge in innovation as new technologies and changing customer trends and demands transform the industry.
WW: What does the brand not offer today that it aims to offer in the near future?
MP: I’m a sneaker lover, so it must be sneakers!
WW: What are you working on next?
MP: I'm already working on the new Fall/Winter 2022 collection. But there is something happening very soon at our L.A. flagship store and it has something to do with coffee, so stay tuned!