Still in its infancy compared to the better known fashion weeks, expectations for the 5th Berlin RTW fashion week were admittedly not so high. However the occasion does bring forth the opportunity at least to seek out any bright young things hovering on the fashion horizon, waiting to have their moment in the spotlight and show us exactly what creative Germany has to offer.
Thankfully there were a few of those; the Designers for Tomorrow finale showcased some promising design talent – those fresh in their thinking and more fashion forward with their design approach than some of the established labels. Notably Derya Issever and Sam Frenzel were hailed as being the ones to watch. Both had a remarkable debut and both seemed to be under the influence of the Rodarte zeitgeist. Issever sent down a grey marbled effect bandage wrap dress with a burnt sienna toned jacket and Frenzel, the overall winner of the competition, had a very impressive collection that featured voluminous skirts over grey laser-cut leather trousers. The harmonising mix of grey marls with futuristic glossy accents allowed us to breathe a sigh of relief.
Home grown label Hugo Boss’ Boss Orange had Jade Jagger, Adrien Brody and Sienna Miller in the front row with the latter two currently fronting the brands fragrance advertising campaigns. The theme was young, carefree, preppy cool. Striped blazers and slim leg trousers were teamed with slogan tees stating ‘Orange is the new cool’ as worn by Russian model Vlada Roslyakova. The line made for some relaxed casual wear with regular flashes of silver to luxe it up a notch.
The international guest ironically was the German born, but New York-based Kai Kühne whose spring line was not so unfamiliar. Having seen many similar pieces at his AW 09 collection in New York Kühne’s vision to bring sharp tailoring crossed with ultra feminity was ever present. Never straying too far from his palette of black, white and light grey, he mixed soft textures with sheen giving durable fabrics. His geometric structures aim to dissect the body in a way that really accentuates femininity.
The neutral vs. metallics story was one most designers stuck with at BFW including Dorothee Schumacher. Her daywear featured silver and gold with nearly all the harmonising tones in between.
There was also a strong retro theme present in some of the style details being put forward for next spring. Lena Hoschek kept things nostalgic with her signature retro tea dresses and Elvis prints. The 1940s – 50s pin up girl provided the muse for the designer with a little vamp and aloha throw in for good measure.
Leyla Piedayesh, the Iranian-born designer behind the creative knitwear label Lala Berlin showed her newly developed collection entitled ‘20s Porn: The new dance on the volcano’. An array of styles inspired by the twenties, the line included slinky dropped waist dresses and cream silk separates with gold highlights. Modern touches in the form of gold sequin mini skirts and hardware such as studs and zips are the re-emerging trend from SS ’08 to next summer.
Frida Weyer previously received great acclaim in the press for her SS ‘10 couture debut and her passion for vintage details and silver-screen glamour might have become her signature, according to her R-T-W line. Consisting entirely of dresses made using silk and georgette however, the collection struggled to receive the same enthusiasm.
Penkov was onto a winner however with her combination of 40’s styling and refined futurism. Inspired by the mirror sculptures of David Altmejd and the sci-fi movie Blade Runner, if the question regarding a shortage of design talent in Germany should ever come up again then Penkov should be the example to put forward.The main collection featured sheer floaty desses in blush nude shades with contrasting metallic copper leather appliques or chains.The streamlined minimilistic approach from Bernadett Penkov was reminiscent of Brit designer Stella McCartney’s early days.
One of the most anticipated shows was Mongrels in Common, as it was the label’s first time showing at BFW. The ‘sport in the city’ feel and 80’s styling were seen on soft tailored short suits and blazers in a bronze metallic shimmer or camel. Slouchy satin tops and dresses were shown in shades of cafe au lait to mushroom. The label is currently using Nanai salmon skin – the environmentally friendly and high quality alternative to the exotic leathers like ray or alligator.
There were some playful aspects at BFW too; designers such as Sabrina Dehoff were inspired by romantic daydreams of paradisiacal joy and love. Her collection of silk hop-dresses and jumpsuits with obi belts featured whimsical montages of oriental cherry blossom. The loose shapes complimented the fantasy prints and heavenly hues of sky blue and peach. And ‘Hokus Fokus’ by Starstyling featured brightly coloured detachable accessories to transform the function and appearance of their simple cut outfits within moments. Making it easy to style and go.
The high production that has gone into the 5th Berlin Fashion Week was clear to see and may be a sign of what the organisers anticipate for this event in the future, yet it would appear that some of the designers have a way to go to reach that standard. Perhaps The Designers for Tomorrow participants are the ones that the organizers should be investing in…