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August 21 2014

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3 posts tagged "Berlin Gallery Weekend"

Case Closed

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Type “Kostas Murkudis” into Style.com’s search engine, and just two results pop up. The Berlin-based designer—who worked for many years alongside Helmut Lang, and who has run his own eponymous label since1994—signed on as creative director of the German sportswear brand Closed last year. He won’t be operating under the radar much longer. On Friday, Murkudis teamed with his longtime friend, the artist Carsten Nicolai, to present his first capsule collection for Closed, dubbed Skywalk, at Gallery Weekend Berlin. Nicolai provided the video, a hypnotic twelve-minute clip culled from twelve years of photographs he took from the window seats of airplanes, and Murkudis contributed the clothes, a utilitarian range of pieces, for both women and men, inspired by a vintage aviator jumpsuit. There are jersey tees and button-front shirts covered with zips and, of course, a flight suit, but the stars are the trench, made from a denim-like twill fused with superfine mousseline (above), and a leather bomber that reverses to the same twill.

The jackets and coats in his main collection for Closed are likewise worth getting excited about. The thirty-five-year-old brand, which at different times was headed up by François Girbaud and Martin Margiela, has long been denim-focused. “I want to go back to the roots, to make clear what Closed was,” Murkudis told Style.com. “It was the first brand to do designer denim; there was just Levi’s, Lee, Wrangler. The mix of denim, utilitarian, and sporty elements is quite key to Closed’s DNA.” Look for Murkudis’ debut collection for Closed when Fall collections begin arriving at Fred Segal and American Rag in Los Angeles, and for Skywalk at Project No. 8 in New York. And don’t miss our Gallery Weekend Berlin photo report.

Photos: Patricia Schwoerer

Yohji Yamamoto on the Old, the New, and the Now

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Just in time for Berlin’s Gallery Weekend, Yohji Yamamoto descended upon the city for “Yamamoto in Berlin.” The four-day Yohji extravaganza boasted the debut of 5 Cuts—a collaborative video installation, with art space Made, that details Yamamoto’s views on love, life, and creation—as well as the opening of an exhibition by Yamamoto’s set designer, Masao Nihei, and a special runway show comprising Yamamoto’s greatest hits since 1992.

The Japanese designer’s visit to the city was eagerly anticipated by the fashion industry and scenesters alike, only growing stronger through all the rumors about his presence (“I heard he’s using ‘real’ people in the show!”) and the battalion of branded Yohji Yamamoto Audi shuttle cars that invaded the streets of Berlin. The biggest expectations of the visit, however, were perhaps those of the designer himself. “I was dreaming about how Berlin would have changed,” he said after his runway show. “I was here twenty-three years ago, with Wim Wenders, who was editing my movie. At that time, the wall was still up, and I took a tour around it. I was dreaming that Berlin might have changed in a good way—keeping good traditional points, constructing new [modern] buildings, and maintaining this strong mix between the two. But after arriving here, I was a bit disappointed. It looks too flat.” If he was disappointed by Germany, he hasn’t been disappointed by the German people. “I have been working in Paris for about thirty-one years, but most of my closest friends are all German,” he said. “I came here because Berlin is close to Eastern Europe and Russia. It’s a chance to connect with the new market.”

After more than three decades in the business, Yamamoto continues to strive for the new—new designs, new customers, and new twists of fate for his once-beleaguered business. His takeaway from it all? “Keep being yourself, then you will feel the new wind start blowing,” he offered. “People started getting tired about fast fashion and too-luxurious accessories. So I felt a new wind starting to blow. People started looking for something real, something serious to wear. I’m talking about clothing. As proof, continuously for the last two years, my new company has been making money. It was a big surprise.”

Photos: Maxime Ballesteros (Portrait); Alonso Dominguez (Runway show)

Ben Pundole’s Postcard From Berlin

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Hotelier and design guru Ben Pundole recently hit Berlin with girlfriend Chelsea Leyland for the city’s epic Gallery Weekend. In between dancing on tables with Julian Schnabel, scouring flea markets for vintage Rolexes, and watching the sunrise at a “glamorous squat,” he found time to send back a few snaps.


A good friend of mine was showing as an artist at Berlin Gallery Weekend, Jonas Burgert. It’s like Art Basel without all the sponsors. We arrived Friday for Jonas’ show and Julian Schnabel’s show. The Schnabel show was great, followed by a fantastic dinner at Paris Bar, which despite its name is a really, truly authentic Berlin restaurant. By the end of the night, everyone was on the tables dancing. It’s like a really rowdy place, where all the artwork on the walls has been donated by artists over the years.

We stayed at the Michelberger in Berlin, which opened last year. It’s beloved by the music industry; Universal Records is a three-minute walk away, and the famous Berlin clubs are very nearby. All the DJs from around the world stay there. It’s a very community-spirited hotel. They’re partners with the local distillery and they make their own liquor, and they have their own music festival. They’re even launching their own coconut water next month. It’s very inspiring. I hope when King and Grove Williamsburg is renovated and open, people get as much inspiration as I did from The Michelberger.

Saturday we went to three or four food markets and flea markets—they’re absolutely amazing in Berlin. Stalls with the most incredible fur coats and vintage watches. Like a lot of places in Europe, there’s a real weekend market culture. And at night, we went to the clubs. They’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before—the best clubs in the world. Forget Ibiza. I’ve been to Ibiza many times. These clubs, they have an authentic grit, and the music is so progressive. And because there’s a no-photographs, no-phones rule, people are very present. These clubs are just beyond brilliant. They’re not the kind of clubs you can just walk up to; you need to know someone. Luckily we had a man on the ground who helped us out.

The final day was May 1st, May Day. Nobody works—it’s thousands and thousands and thousands of people hanging out in the park, listening to reggae, drinking, smoking. That turns into another massive techno rave. I’m talking 20, maybe 50 thousand people. Maybe more? I have no idea. Berlin is the most fantastic city. I’d like to say I’m happy to be home, but…


Left: Jonas Burgert’s exhibition at the Blain/Southern Gallery; right, Julian Schnabel and friends at Schnabel’s after-party at Paris Bar.


Left: The Oberbaum Bridge, that brings together boroughs formerly divided by the Berlin Wall; right, the Berlin Cathedral.


Left: The lobby of the Michelberger Hotel; right, afternoon tea at the hotel.


Left: Chelsea models a vintage Rolex found at the flea market; right, Chelsea’s club stamps from KaterHolzig and Berghaim’s Panorama Bar.

Photos: Ben Pundole