New York, London, Paris and Milan better watch out because there's a new fashion capital about. Check out the best looks from the spring catwalks at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin.
Berlin may have earned its stripes as the trendiest holiday destination of the last decade but you could be forgiven for thinking that the German capital’s fashion scene isn’t anything to write home about. Well, an elite group of designers are looking to defeat that misconception with a little help from the ever burgeoning Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week.
The capital’s spring/summer 2012 fashion week line-up provided an answer to many of the trends set elsewhere and even threw in a few of its own. Bold colour has been on the fashion menu for a while now and shows no signs of going off radar. There was hardly a show on the schedule that didn’t make use of a bright hue or two. Hien Le stuck to a primary mixture of red, yellow and blue, while Perret Schaad and Lala Berlin demonstrated the versatility of a soothing lilac. Schumacher went all out with a palette of paint-pot shades. Dawid Tomaszewski stuck to a more traditional magenta, Blacky Dress fell for a juicy tangerine and Dimitri and Laurel had us asking why there isn’t more aquamarine in our wardrobes.
Bananas, monkeys, exploding tropical blooms – print has run wild this summer and continued to do so in Berlin. Romanian designer Alina Botea’s show was peppered with a fun dragonfly print and Anja Gockel presented an entrancingly psychedelic take on traditional floral. A more abstract interpretation of the trend was offered by C’est Tout’s painterly swirls, but if you’re one of those people for whom bold print induces snow blindness, the designers at BFW have a bold solution: stripes – like the nautical ones found at Lena Hoschek.
At the fall/winter 2011 shows in March it became clear that the fetish gear that was once only suitable for steamy underground clubs and Lady Gaga videos is now being reinterpreted as the stuff of runway fashion. Where better to reinvent the trend for spring than the city famed for its risqué nocturnal activities. Augustin Teboul was one designer who steered well clear of colour and print, instead, sticking to the sex appeal of an all black collection and making use of fish nets, jack black beading and lace. Teboul’s vision might have relied upon the stereotype of the cool, sombre Berliner, but there was also a sense of femininity and romance about it thanks to chiffon layers and delicate fringing. Accessories designer Celia Czerlinski was quick to use to the fetish trend to her advantage, displaying her handmade belts on models as if they were harnesses. While Don’t Shoot The Messengers’ (DSTM) spring/summer 2012 output also followed a raunchy theme presenting dresses and blazers that were finished with a sexy leather trim. DSTM designers Jen Gilpin and Kyle Callanan also experimented with peek-a-boo panels and sheer fabrics.
Closely bound up with the fetish references that appeared on the Berlin runway was a more unexpected trend. One of the most popular looks of the week was an athletic take on the lingerie trend that was all the rage a few seasons back. At Allude, girls wore delicate silk cami knickers pumped up by the addition of simple white cotton headband and a zip up hoodie. The essential key to pulling off this look is confidence. Show off those delicates, but pair them with some savvy athletic wares as seen at Mongrels in Common. Pair the prettiest knickers with something sheer and a loose fitting like knitted tonic jersey like at HTW Berlin and some nonchalant jewelry and you’ve got this trend down for spring/summer 2012.
Acid hues, psychedelic print, leather and lingerie aside, if there’s one thing Berlin fashion week taught us it’s the power of the understated silhouette. While we may still be in the grip of body con cling the Berliners have, unsurprisingly, bucked the trend. A more casual, slouchy silhouette was spotted at almost every show. Take note of this look from Minx by Eva Lutz: slouchier, not scruffier. Eva & Bernard showcased a collection that was loose fitting and organic whilst still refined – even the show stopping gowns at A.FRIEND by A.F.Vandevorst were body skimming. The silk may be billowing and the tailoring more androgynous, but Berlin’s young designers are still en pointe. Their new silhouettes are refreshing, understated and very cool, much like Berlin itself.