14 posts tagged "Berlin Fashion Week"
On some of the stages at Berlin fashion week, the mood was a little…matronly. German fashion has the reputation for being stringent, but the many shows this season just felt conservative, or too kooky, and in need of a little juice. Luckily, a few designers provided for a much-needed jolt of energy. Michael Sontag’s artfully tailored collection was ageless and elegant. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Michael Michalsky’s supremely showy show was extravagant. He called the collection “Heinrich Zille’s ‘Mein Milljöh’—Version 2.0,” inspired by the iconic caricaturist’s turn-of-the-century cartoons of class struggle; the clothes may have paid tribute to the struggle, but the opulent party afterward was all ruling-class. (That’s Michalsky, pictured left.) A crowd of 2,000 guests, including the ones from the night’s preceding Lala Berlin and Kaviar Gauche shows, grooved to the cult eighties band Spandau Ballet and DJ Hell. The result was pure Broadway. Michalsky’s tuxes (for men and women) and disco-silver jumpsuits didn’t exactly scream Zille, but why be a stickler? No one was matronly here, thank you very much, and all hand-wringing about the economy was, for a night, put to rest.
Michael Michalsky’s shows have little to do with actual clothes. Instead, his fashion week presentation is intended to remind Berlin what Fashion with a dramatic capital “F” looks like. And the glitz, attitude, frenetic energy, and hyper-drive sexuality at a Michalsky show inevitably spills over into his extravagant after-parties. This season, the designer staged his event in the active yet dilapidated church on Zionskirchplatz. After removing the crucifixes, Michalsky sent well-known models down the catwalk in flowing Versace-esque dresses with stained-glass-window patterns; outfitted as old-school prostitutes (think Sophia Loren playing the hooker-with-heart-of-gold); or with black lace covering a swinging ponytail like a grieving yet hip Italian widow. At the after-party in an abandoned swimming pool turned decadent nightclub, bartenders wore priest collars, nun’s habits, or Wild West madam costumes to serve plentiful booze. The level of risqué irreverence was just tawdry enough to give everyone a jolt of Michalsky’s vibe as Berlin’s beloved bad boy. And while it didn’t go much further than any other themed party on a wild night in this city, after watching designers strive to find a voice in the rough local market, we can be grateful to Michalsky for at least making it fun.
Few nations are masters of sleek kink like the country that created Helmut Newton and Marlene Dietrich. And Berlin loves its status as Europe’s capital of “poor but sexy” chic. But sometimes playing that role can become merely cheap and raunchy. Last season, when Joop!’s Dirk Schönberger ventured into club-land with looks that recalled adolescents in fancy-dress fetish gear as “kinky nurses” or “bad bunnies,” the outcome was as unsexy as a lame dirty joke. These limp looks were all the more shameful because Joop! is one of the few brands with legs outside the local market. And despite being one of Europe’s biggest markets and an emerging scene, Berlin still needs its established brands to be role models. So, this season it was a real relief that Schönberger’s vision of “adult fashion” hit full maturity, and the results were properly pulse-quickening. The models walking through the Hamburger Bahnhof museum’s temporary runway were styled with wet crimson lips, long straight hair with blunt bangs, and clean skin, all of which highlighted the sharply sculpted but not overstated cut of mostly black dresses, suits, and skirts. The looks called to mind the dark connotations of leather and latex, but only enough to entice the properly smitten audience.
The mothers of Berlin’s coolest girls should send thank-you notes to Lala Berlin designer Leyla Piedayesh for making warm woollies the most coveted item on the city’s fashion scene. In her very first catwalk show at Bebelplatz, Berlin Fashion Week’s main venue, Piedayesh sent models slinking down the runway in loosely woven sweaters worn with S&M-inspired stilettos, silk camisoles that slid coyly off shoulders, leather leggings and little dresses with Klimt-esque patterns. The Iranian-born designer played peekaboo with the completely sheer blue jumpsuit that she topped with a black blazer, lined in a matching fabric. Whether the model was warm enough remains unclear, but Berlin Fashion week is definitely hotter with Lala Berlin on the scene.