À LA MODE
With the help of fashion expert and blogger Mehtap Sert, Solveig Steinhardt deciphered the new season’s trends and compiled a guide to Berlin Fashion Week.
It’s that time of the year again – time to go through our closets and get ready for the city’s trendiest event. From 18 to 22 January, Berlin Fashion Week returns to the German capital with five days of shows, trade fairs, and parties all over town. The twice-annual event, celebrating its ninth birthday this year, has become the symbol of Berlin’s transformation into an internationally acclaimed fashion hub. And since the reputations of cities like Paris and Milan would have been too hard to beat, Berlin Fashion Week has managed to develop its own niche, becoming the stage for up-and-coming designers and presenting young international talents to the world. Known for having made anti-conformism the only rule to conform to, Berlin has always had an alternative scene, which in recent years has flourished into a distinctive style combining street wear with urban fashion and minimalism with grungy elements. And while some say this casual and slightly aggressive style is the result of the city’s turbulent history, others have likened the clean and minimalist cuts to the Bauhaus style and philosophy. Whether or not there’s a historic reason for the multiple facets of alternative, all of them are represented at Fashion Week, with the support of the many models and designers who travel to Berlin for the event. The stars spotted in the last season included actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Katie Holmes, fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni, and Israeli model Bar Rafaeli. Expect a similarly illustrious lineup this January. To give you a better idea of what the Berlin style is about, we’ve selected four designers that best represent the city.
The man who has dressed German celebrities for many a red carpet event, Michael Michalsky goes by the motto “real fashion for real people,” creating lines for every occasion, from casual to smart to elegant, and his couture collection adds streetwear influences to a classic style. His Michalsky StyleNite, taking place every Fashion Week, is a combination of fashion show and gala, with many surprise guests.
Glamorous Berlin label Glaw Berlin, the work of designer duo Jesko Wilke and Maria Poweleit, combines urban elements with feminine fabrics like cashmere and silk. The brand draws inspiration from nostalgic elements with a feminist approach, and emphasize on wearability and diversity. Batik effects and colorful prints are some of their signature elements, which they also apply to their key piece, the biker jacket, designed anew in every collection.
To add a romantic and elegant touch to your wardrobe, try on a dress by Isabell de Hillerin (Konk, Kleine Hamburger Str. 15). Her designs reflect her idea of contemporary and sustainable fashion, adding innovative cuts to the traditional lace-making crafts of Moldova, bringing back a near-extinct art and supporting the region’s economy.
And for a dose of luxury, Kaviar Gauche (Linienstr. 44, www.kaviargauche.com) specializes in gorgeous cocktail dresses and gowns, as well as bridal wear and accessories made for lovers of urban elegance.
Exploring Berlin's FashionCurious to discover Berlin’s designers? The city’s “fashion district” is located in the Scheunenviertel in Mitte, where a few small streets form an inviting maze of trendy shops, restaurants, and cafés, housing boutiques from both independent designers and well-known labels. With a quaint and close-knit yet chic feel like Paris’s Marais neighborhood, this is the area for trend seekers to spend a day or two exploring. Get off the U-Bahn at Weinmeisterstraße and take a walk on Mulackstraße, Alte-Schönhauser-Straße, and Rosenthaler Straße to visit the boutiques that best express the city’s hip and unique trends.