This season, Chasseur made its debut covering the shows at Berlin Fashion Week. In a legendary city, who has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of the 20th Century to become the name on everybody’s lips; being ever at the forefront of all things in art and music, we wanted to see what Berlin has to offer in a fashion sense. What is also curious is that whilst Hugo Boss, Karl Lagerfeld and Jill Sander are German fashion icons known and respected worldwide, none show in Berlin itself, so just how representative of German fashion are they?
Berlin is revered as the Holy Grail for music and art, yet on the international fashion circuit she remains the underdog, overlooked in favour of London, Milan, Paris and New York. Fashion Week in Berlin however, is a sight to behold, a high voltage and uber glamorous affair held in the shadow of the magnificent Brandenburg Gate that left us more than pleasantly surprised. Amongst all the madness and German media circus, we discovered a wealth of fashion talent showcasing their collections truly marking Berlin as a ‘fashion city’, one that deserves more international recognition, with labels ranging from cutting edge and avant garde, to clean Teutonic minimalism and a particularly unique sense of androgyny, Berlin is proving that in fashion, it is also where it is at. Without further ado, we present ten labels showing in Berlin, labels you have probably never heard of, until now, starting with five ‘upstarts’.
For AW14 the Austrian designer reimagined the vaunted Berlin woman of the 1920’s and 30’s for the 21st Century. In a stunningly noir collection, Ruetz created a glamorous look that encapsulated menswear silhouettes such as overcoats with suspended shoulders and pleated trousers contrasting perfectly paired with feminine shrunken looks or louche smoking and tux jackets over skin tight leather trousers) and fetishist leather accessories. Ruetz collection is exactly what one wants to see in Berlin; sharp, dark, modern and ultra-sexy, both an homage and reflection of the past and present elegance and decadence of Berlin.
GLAW blew us away with their high voltage AW4 collection that is one thing and one thing only; SEX. Leather, leather and more leather was the order of the day at GLAW Berlin’s AW14 show, with a vamped up forties silhouette that mused upon the power and fragility of femininity. Fusing leather, lace and silk, the GLAW girls were defiantly strong and sexual creatures in a monochrome extravaganza. A little bit rock n roll, a little bit old fashioned romance; as seen in the pairing of hard edged biker jackets over glittering gowns and geometrical shapes and straight lines embellished with sequins or sheer fabrics, the young designer duo of Jesko Wilke and Maria Poweleit have created something with GLAW, an unmistakeably signature look that is pure ‘urban elegance’.
When a designer opens his own show in floor length gown, one doesn’t quite know whether to gall at the audacity, or applaud. Marcel Ostertag did just that, preceding a strong collection of feminine looks, offsetting the demure designs of his luxury sportswear with the odd fully sheer creation.
Brachmann bills itself as ‘Post Modern Menswear’ and the AW14 presentation was a delight not only for the intelligent minimalist design of the clothing, but the live (and oh so Berlin) performance by Steffen Wick of his stunning ‘Piano Particles’. The modernist tailoring and architectural designs of Brachmann hark back to the days when men truly knew how to dress. If there is such a thing as male elegance in the modern world, this is it. The Teutonic dandy in his finery, in reworked classics such as trench coats with swallowtails, banded collared shirts, double backed waistcoats and sharply cut tailoring; Brachmann has successfully reworked the classical male wardrobe for the postmodern world. This is not just fashion; this is a movement that marks Brachmann as one to watch on the menswear front.
At the other end of the spectrum is Mads Dinesen, proving that the spirit of anarchy is alive and well in Berlin with his riotous AW14 collection, entitled ‘Smoke Clad Warriors’. Militaristic androgyny and clever design details made for a strong collection from Dinesen who may just be Berlins answer to Vivienne Westwood. Dinesen’s AW14 collection is an update on the workwear of the peasantry and proletariat, fused with subcultural elements such as gothic draping and punk checks, in a poetic tribute to all those who “Fight the Fight”. The musing on anti-establishment and nonconformity was furthered through the use of untraditional models.