Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Berlin Fashion Week says 'auf Wiedersehen' to shabby chic

By Sophia Weimer, dpa
Published: 19 January 2017 Thursday, 05:15  AM

Berlin Fashion Week says 'auf Wiedersehen' to shabby chic

Models dressed in velvet and bedecked with pearls gracefully pace up and down a darkly glittering carpet: Welcome to the Berlin Fashion Week, where it looks like designers are bringing back some glamour.

The settings are no less glamourous - the luxury Adlon Hotel next to Brandenburg Gate, a neoclassical palace on Unter den Linden boulevard, and the city`s former telegraph office near the polished facades of Gendarmenmarkt square, among other landmark sites.

Is it `auf Wiedersehen` to minimalism and shabby chic, the cornerstones of a city that prides itself on effortless cool?

"It`s heading back to the pompous," declares German fashion designer Anja Gockel before her show in the Adlon. Her outfits have a festive flair, with lots of velvet and glitter.

Live music accompanies several of the events. The Marc Cain show kicks of with melodies performed by a string quartet while ballerinas dance. Cain`s models are wearing velvet, animal prints, lace and spangles reaching up to the necks.

Designs by Italian fashion house Riani are similarly sumptuous, also featuring the leopard look but this time combined with check patterns. One model is wearing a long dress made completely of pink lace.

One of Anja Gockel`s creations is an opulent silver-coloured dress with a long train. Jackets and skirts are decorated with golden brocade patterns, bronze hues are combined with a night-blue silk.

Many designers this year are again focusing on the waistline, marking a departure from Berlin`s traditionally favoured boxy, androgynous cuts.

At any fashion week, decadence is key. Berlin`s BVG transport network nods to the excesses of the event on screens at underground stations across Berlin: "It`s barely fashion week, and already there is white powder lying everywhere," reads a message accompanied by a picture of the snowy city.

While Berlin may not be home to the big names of Paris and Milan, fashion is still a valuable asset to the city`s economy.

Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller speaks of an industry comprising 2,500 businesses, annual revenues of almost 4 billion euros (4.27 billion dollars) and providing jobs to 20,000 people.

"The list of sponsors, starting with Mercedes Benz, also stands for the attractiveness and recognition of Fashion Week," he says in a statement.

And with big names come the high drama of big shows.

Home-grown designer, Esther Perbandt, is displaying her new collection in a spectacular staging with a DJ and violin players on the stage of the Volksbuehne theatre. Models will be seen sitting atop a stone wall while the stage slowly revolves 360 degrees and snowflakes flutter down.

Perbandt`s collection consists of her typically unisex items in black and grey, with the occasional smattering of white.

Striking are the many buckle elements and fur pieces. Perbandt combines wide pants with military caps and blouses or fur vests. Completing the outfits are lace-up boots with fur fluffs.

Meanwhile, Berlin-based designer label Malaikaraiss staged its show at the construction site of the Berlin Palace.

Prominent front-row guests included the model Eva Padberg and the kohl-lined Bill Kaulitz of pop-rock band Tokyo Hotel.

The palace is still just an empty shell, belying the unpolished look that designers and organizers are trying to disguise. But the sheer size of the hall alludes to the prospect of bigger and flashier fashion weeks to come.