BERLIN FASHION WEEK: Introduction

(by Kristen Stain.  Blog –  http://www.roxannesaturday.wordpress.com ) My connection to Bauhaus isn’t a strong one. Perhaps I was dozing off in my art history class. But as an art student studying in Germany it is impossible to skip over this movement, as it is still very much apart of the culture, art, and fashion here. Not only that, but Art Center College of Design is a descendant of Bauhaus, directly linked and having recognizably similar design principles.

Kristen Stain - Working concepts

Kristen Stain – Working concepts

Fashion is our main focus during this trip. Our connection to the fashion industry here in Germany, Phuong Lam of OE Magazine visited our studio to talk with us about what’s happening in Berlin fashion. She described the minimalist, generally conservative style that Berlin exemplifies. When talking about Fashion Week, which is July 7-10, she said that unlike other locations where people use Fashion Week to showcase their wealth or creativity, most people in Berlin find that behavior ostentatious.

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I suppose I already knew about Germany’s rather reserved aesthetic, or noticed it when I got here. But I was surprised that fashion week wasn’t a time to celebrate oneself with style. It is not an opportunity to be flamboyant and happy about dressing. My personal style, and focus on textile design, stems from an interest in Dandyism and decorative embellishment. For me, style is an opportunity to express myself, to display beauty and happiness. That’s not to say I believe that means Germans don’t. But I am curious to know why or how that is expressed differently.

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Fashion and style is both fluid and cyclical- it experiences trends, radical changes, and then often repeats itself by recycling aspects of the past – referencing beauty from a generation past. During our class conversation, it seems that Germany isn’t yet ready to move out of its simplistic, minimalist aesthetic. Perhaps Germany doesn’t have a market for experimentation and those that push the boundaries are not rewarded for their ostentatious viewpoint.

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Germany’s design history is unique in that their transition from decorative, Rococo movement to the Bauhaus grid was an incredibly fast transition. This may be because of the desperation for peace and order after the monarchy was overthrown and the country was left with no leader. And maybe it hasn’t been long enough for German design to reference what used to be, or perhaps reservation and minimalism has been adopted into the culture and won’t go away.

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My desire is to find out more.

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BERLIN FASHION WEEK

I think that I got a really nice first look at what is good and what isn’t as great. There were things I saw from designers that I liked a lot and others that I thought were quite silly. But I appreciated seeing both. I feel like my taste as a designer is being refined. I notice more and have criteria for analyzing apparel; color palette, draping, and whether or not something is really wearable.

WHITETAIL:  I really enjoyed getting to see the Whitetail show. The collection was minimalistic; this is something that characterizes the brand. I thought the color palette was nice, with a gray, beige, rose gold, and deep navy blue. I I appreciated the range of looks including a dress jumpsuit, jacket and pants; everything remained very simple, nice materials. Still I think I was more interested in individual pieces, the navy jacket and gray dress were my personal favorites. The collection looked comfortable and ready to wear.  http://whitetail.luxury

FRANZISKA MICHAEL: On the other side, Franziska Michael, a designer that I had researched prior to the show, was a bit of a disappointment. I had seen her AW 14/15 collection online and it had some really interested stuff that I related to as a designer. But what I saw this week was very different. My initial response was confusion; the quality of this collection seemed poor as if it was rushed. There was definitely high contrast in the materials and colors used for each look, but I didn’t find it appealing at all. I was not impressed with the garments, and the materials looked cheap. It seemed like an attempt to be extremely experimental or  creative that ended up looking ridiculous.   http://www.franziskamichael.com

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