Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week lies behind us and if you’d ask me (and some do) what to wear next season, I’d say yellow in all its shades. Yet, Berlin fashion is about so much more! The “week” though regularly suffers from disappointment when either the boss of the biggest trade show announces he has enough of Berlin and is moving South (to come back again for summer, because summer), or big newspapers dig out stories of failed fashion brands or take the move of one (albeit a great one) brand as symptomatic for a whole sector. Despite all this rumors, many initiatives thrive, like Premium and Seek, two beautiful trade shows working closely with Berlin newcomers.
For me, Berlin fashion may have its difficulties and I personally might (by now) find more courage and originality in the food scene, but there’s a plethora of immensely talented people living in this city who work around local hitches and benefit from it. And have done so for a couple of seasons now. (On another personal note, I’d love to see the Fashion Week stop trying to find, praise and push the next big newcomer into the limelight, but support those who’re not starting, but working on keeping their fashion business.)
Therefore, here’s a short recap of what I’ve seen and liked last week, in chronological order.
My week started with Michael Sontag, who was back on the schedule after a break past winter. While I thought the show started with a failure of lighting (since only one side of the runway was bathed in yellow light), it quickly became clear it was a concept: instead of relying on the clean (or dull) looking set of the IMG runway, Sontag took a chance and created the light of a late and hot summer day. The models slowly strutted down the runway in white or black flip flops and wet hair, lit from the side they looked like they’ve just gotten out of the pool.
His clothes reflected this atmosphere, some skirts and dresses draped around the body like a towel, with a wild silk in a broken white that on first sight looked like terry cloth. While some pieces went totally against my taste (particularly the ones with the big black buttons), it was again pure joy to watch the silk flow and bounce, shaping beautifully in Sontag’s signature kaftan dresses. When a red, floor-length number came on, I couldn’t help but stare at the movement of the bottom tip, going up and down between the flip flops of the model, never ever touching the ground, never ever disturbing her walk. It’s this treatment of silk that Michael Sontag masters like no one else in this city.
Lala Berlin, the epitome of Berlin cool girls’ fashion, showed their collection in the studio of the Deutsche Oper, and decorated the runway with a giant L A L A (as in, go big or go home). A very well selected league of models showed pieces so on trend, and yet so particularly Lala, it was instantly clear why this is one of Berlin’s best working (economically) young fashion brands. May it be the daisy-trend translated into black leather jackets with embroidery, woven yet midriff-baring jumpers, crystallized denim jackets and pants, white or black ankle-length pantsuits worn with white chucks or spaghetti straps and mules. Leyla Piedayesh showed it all.
And yet she still manages to make those trends her own, putting her individual Lala-stamp on them and creating desirable collections that young woman actually want to buy and wear everyday.
Directly back from Paris was the one duo Berlin regularly puts all their hopes on when it comes to international relevance of German fashion – Augustin Teboul showed their new (and yet again, completely black) collection at a gallery on Potsdamer Straße on some moody looking models with post-punk hair-styles. It was beautiful, almost playful at times, no one expected anything less.
Augustin Teboul just won the European Woolmark Prize that not only came with prize money of about 35.000 Euros, but also the possibility to join the international Woolmark Prize competition. Fingers crossed!
It’s no secret I love Vladimir Karaleev’s fashion (hence, all the pictures) and I might be totally biased but I mean look at this! The ease! The comfort! The colors! And yet so very fashionably Berlin – refined yet casual, with surprising colors (yellow!) meeting his established cuts and shapes. The open seams are still there, but they are combined with more complex silhouettes and more courageous layering.
I want it all. (Except the neoprene bodysuits, which looked great on the girls but will probably remain showpieces.)
Even better, Vladimir Karaleev decided to once again show off-site, choosing the Kronprinzenpalais in Mitte with its beautiful courtyard. (Wondering what construction site is showing up in the back? It’s the castle no one thought was ever going to be build.)
My final appointment on the final day was Hien Le, whose talent and style I always rooted for. With an equally strong love for silk like Michael Sontag, Hien Le’s design are even more reduced, and I was very happy to see his strong print come back. This time with a purple, pink and blue mix and mash of fish to be found on shirts, skirts and shorts for men and women.
While the show started with a light mint and white in layers and then transitioned over the prints, it ended on a high note with intense orange and apricot combined in pants and dresses.
I’ve made my list for the orders at my favorites, have you?