Packed cafés, hotels and restaurants, traffic jams and colourful street scenes — yet another season of Berlin Fashion Week has come to an end in the capital.
Photo by: Der Berliner Salon, Julia von der Heide
This year, the Week was curated by the Berlin Senate and the Fashion Council Germany. The focus was on promoting new designers and new ideas in sustainable fashion development.
In an open competition, the designers competed for a total of 1.5 million euros in funding from the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises. The new Berlin Contemporary format introduced 18 new designers, including three labels from Ukraine.
This time, most of the Week's shows — and the Der Berliner Salon too — were held at the historical 1930s Stilwerk KantGarages in West Charlottenburg, which reopened last summer. Berlin has an amazing wealth of diverse buildings and neighbourhoods that could be used to accommodate such an event. The rest of the shows were scattered from the industrial Marzahn to Kreuzberg.
We've picked out the best Fashion Week moments and designers for you.
Der Berliner Salon, Juliana Maurer
Der Berliner Salon
The Berlin Salon was founded in 2015 and has been the core of Berlin Fashion Week ever since. Opening the week of events, the Salon presented 44 projects by German designers and manufacturers with a focus on sustainability and quality. According to Christiane Arp, the Salon curator, former editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine and the President of the Fashion Council Germany, 'The Berlin Salon is a stage for designers from Germany who work and act in a contemporary and future-oriented way. This platform is a constant fixture in the German cultural calendar and shows how much creativity and good design there is in our country.'
Malaika Reiss founded her eponymous brand in 2010 under the motto: Great attention to detail and a big dose of humour. Creating ready-to-wear clothing, leather accessories and jewellery, the founder continues to run her independent brand, and the label is a profitable company with steady growth. For the past few seasons, the designer had been presenting her collections in Copenhagen, and her return to Berlin came as a surprise. At Berlin Contemporary, Malaika Reiss showed her capsule collection Euphoria. The label, which is also a multidisciplinary design studio that regularly collaborates with artists, this time presented a mix of installation, vernissage and performance. The collection comes in two parts:
Euphoria Part One is for the festive Christmas season and will be available next autumn.
Euphoria Part Two is a wedding collection inspired by the wild 20s' Berlin and Hollywood weddings of old. Available for sale before Valentine's Day.
'Black is a Сolour' is the credo of Esther Perbandt, founder of the Berlin-based clothing and jewellery brand. The slogan defines the label's vision: the designer has been developing gender-neutral black pieces for years. The 2020 runner-up in the US reality TV casting for fashion designers Making the Cut by Heidi Klum, Esther now supplies clients around the world from her studio. At Berlin Fashion Week and as part of the Berlin Contemporary category, Esther Perbandt demonstrated her Astro Noir Lab collection. On show were 16 avant-garde looks with embedded chips that, when scanned, provide information on the cost of the material and on how the piece was created. The collection was presented at Kunstbibliothek am Kulturforum both on the catwalk and digitally on eight screens. Canadian singer Emily D'Angelo performed as part of the show.
The label, presented at Berlin Contemporary, was an anticipated highlight of the fashion week. Brand founders Otto Drögsler and Jörg Ehrlich are known for their love of bold, yet harmonious combinations, eclecticism and unusual prints. This time the designers presented a new collection inspired by the winter sports advertisements of the 1930s and the jet set culture of the 60s-70s, interpreting the time before the invention of active sportswear. With an emphasis on sustainability, the collection was created from recycled or reused materials.
After graduating in fashion design and pattern making in Paris, Frenchwoman Odély Teboul worked for Jean Paul Gaultier for many years, and then founded her Berlin-based label in 2015.
The designer creates extravagant clothes for all ages, working only with vintage recycled material. The impressive pieces are handmade in Odély's studio.
The designer presented her first collection in 2019. This time, she is inspired by the tale 'The Emperor's New Clothes', and is showing her collection at the Queen's Palace, a wedding hall in Berlin's Kreuzberg.
The eponymous brand from Ukraine was established in 2010 and has managed to generate international attention for its unusual avant-garde collections. Irina creates handmade eco-transformer pieces, where a pleated dress with long sleeves or trousers transforms into an evening gown, and the pockets of a coat into a bag. Since the war, the designer has been living in Europe and donates 30 percent of her profits to charity.
The show took place in Stillwerk garages to the soundtrack of EYIBERA, a musician with Ukrainian roots living in the USA. The collection was dedicated to Ukrainian women whose lives were divided into before and after the outbreak of war. The pieces, symbolising the transformations all Ukrainian women have faced, are imbued with associations with the horrors of war. The bags remind us of the evacuation, when one could only take the necessities with them. One of the images transforms from a unisex silhouette to a feminine one, reminding how fragile people are under the influence of violence. Another piece, a jumpsuit inspired by a bulletproof vest, transforms into a broad cloak, like an angel guarding the country.
This Ukrainian brand was founded by Ukrainian Kristina Bobkova, who has been offering her handmade ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes in Ukraine since 1998.
The brand is characterised by feminine silhouettes with a Japanese cut. In her new collection 'Mriya' Bobkova presented 30 ready-to-wear models, bowing before fragile yet strong Ukrainian women, forcibly dispersed around the world, their sons and husbands left behind. Playing on contrasts, Kristina uses both lace and leather, working with recycled materials. Many of her pieces featured the Vyshyvanka, a traditional national Ukrainian garment.
The third Ukrainian designer presented at Berlin Fashion Week at Berlin Contemporary in Feuerle Collection was Lilia Litkovska. The fourth-generation fashion designer sees her mission as preserving the traditions of the craft she grew up with. The designer's message is creating the most realistic look for the modern woman, combining bold and flowing silhouettes. Inspired by the traditional Ukrainian Vesnyanka songs which celebrate the start of spring, the designer metaphorically associates a new beginning with the possibility of rebirth for Ukraine itself: a young nation fighting for its freedom.
The collection was presented for the first time and several of the pieces are embellished with the elaborate embroidery of a 'prayer of a Ukrainian patriot', a political dissident who wrote a poem with his blood on the walls of his cell in the 1930s. In celebrating traditional Ukrainian costume, the designer strikes a balance between intricate tailoring and everyday comfort.
In celebrating the traditional Ukrainian costume, the designer balances intricate tailoring with everyday comfort.