Day 2: Berlin Fashion Week A/W 2016/17

Day 2’s focus turned from the main tent to the other end of Unter den Linden, where the week’s most decorated event, “Der Berliner Mode Salon”, was in full swing. Over the three spacious floors of the Kronprinzenpalais, the Autumn/Winter 2016/17 offerings of the cream of Germany’s crop were exhibited to a select audience of discerning VIPs and media members. The roster of designers spanned international powerhouses and brands lacking as wide an audience, thereby offering them conspicuous exposure on an international playing field.Der Berliner Mode Salon A/W16Escada

Dorothee Schuhmacher’s celebration of the “self-confident, unconventional woman” greeted guests on entering atrium, presented in a makeshift gallery space, in which models danced with carefree abandon to a silent disco. As they danced, the wide-cast flowing garments took life of their own, a veritable breath of fresh air from the often-austere contexts of fashion presentation. While the cinched waists of the garments paid due homage to traditional presentations of the femininity, vibrant, yet intricate, prints afforded the looks an unbridled joviality, yielding results as “electrifying” as they were “uncompromisingly feminine”.Der Berliner Mode Salon A/W16Isabell de Hillerin

To the right of this poppy presentation lay a room showcasing the work of Talbot Runhof, Rita in Palma and Isabell de Hillerin, the latter collection piquing particular interest. Entitled “Inside Empire”, de Hillerin takes inspiration from the filmic techniques of Film Noir, cast in a palette of inky blacks, navys and purples. Meticulously crafted, the garments gradually open up to the viewer, with subtle details, such as the front buttoning of a skirt, shifting the beholder’s focus and perspective. What initially appears a uniform aesthetic slowly reveals pleats and panels, instigating a reconsideration of how we approach, observe and understand clothing.

ISABELL DE HILLERIN - DER BERLINER MODE SALON JANUAR 2016Isabell de Hillerin in front of her designs

The Salon’s offerings were not, however, limited to horizon-broadening ready-to-wear. Julia Zimmerman’s jewellery collection, in sterling silver and 22ct gold, was capturing in its ambiguity, occupying spaces of precision and raw elegance. Particularly captivating were a pair of rings, one silver, the other gold, the upper surfaces of which were subtly filed to flat, angular surfaces, while making no effort of preserving the circularity of the ring’s natural form. Indeed, this can be taking as a wider motif of the collection, offering contemporary interpretations of luxury jewellery staples.Der Berliner Mode Salon A/W16Julia Zimmerman

The next floor played host to a selection of the nation’s hottest tipped designers, many of whom clued at what to expect of their impending runway presentations. Among them, Augustin Teboul offered unexpected hints of colour, with delicate webs of sequined threads accenting a familiar tenebrous template. A march across the foyer lead one to Hien Le’s collection, who has foregone his usual spot on the show schedule this season. Keeping to his tried and tested formula of impeccable structure and airy lightness, Le once again succeeded in offering that simultaneously subvert and abide by the established conventions of tailoring.Der Berliner Mode Salon A/W16Hien Le

Up another level, eyewear visionaries Mykita displayed a range of optical and sunglasses in keeping with the idiosyncratic geometric awareness and technical savvy that have afforded the brand a firm footing in the fashion world. The commonality of the season would appear to be the prevalence of rounded, bridged frames, both considerate and complimentary of the facial features of the wearer, yielding avant-garde results entirely devoid of the often-accompanying pretention. The latest move in their redefining of the parameters of eyewear came in the form of the “SHADES” concept, a contemporary reinterpretation of the time-honoured clip-on, exponentially expanding the look and utility of a pair of optical frames through the simple fastening of a shaded lens.Der Berliner Mode Salon A/W16Mykita

On the same floor, in the most spacious of the Neo-Classical edifice’s wings, the event’s key attraction, the Vogue Salon, showcased a hand picked selection of Germany’s finest talent, including Marina Hoermanseder, Nobi Talai, Perret Schaad and Bobby Kolade. With the latter foregoing his usual runway spot this season, this served as a rare chance to catch a glimpse of the young prodigy’s collection. Bold blocks of sunshine yellows and shimmering reds, swathes of iridescent fabrics and sweeping royal blue flared trousers called the decadence of New York’ Studio 54 to mind, drawn from a pool of 70s nostalgia.Der Berliner Mode Salon A/W16Bobby Kolade

Later in the evening, tongues were set wagging by Sample-CM’s performative analysis of the fashion show. On entering the me Collectors rooms, the set up was a familiar one, a catwalk flanked by rows of benches. Front and centre, yellow ropes descended from the ceiling, suspending what appeared to be gym equipment, upon which the collection was hung.Sample_CM_Ulrike_Rindermann_digit_webSample-CM

The presentation undermined convention, actively interrogating the phenomena of the fashion show, the act of dressing and the wearing of a garment. Two figures, identical in their white overalls and neck shaded baseball caps, dressed and styled a single model in the presented range of garments, the model then going on to walk the runway before returning to repeatedly undergo the process.Sample_CM_Ulrike_Rindermann_digit_web-3Sample-CM

Head to toe in white, the dressers gained anonymity, obscuring the model’s illusory nudity, brought about through her wearing of a nude slip, as they saw fit. The model became a walking exhibition curated by the stylists; this of course makes sense within the context of a runway presentation, yet given the brazen presentation of the dressing of the model, often extremely intimate, it would seem that Charbonnier seeks to make a wider commentary regarding the extent to which dress is dictated.Sample_CM_Ulrike_Rindermann_digit_web-4Sample-CM

The collection itself visibly built upon the offerings from Charbonnier’s previous “grand bassin” collection, offering sharply constructed sportswear essentials in reds, whites, creams and rich blues. While the tools in the Sample-CM arsenal may have altered, switching from kinesiotape to Velcro this season, the recurrent slashes and straps served to the same effect, obscuring and morphing the garment’s form according the agency of the wearer, elevating the wearing of clothing to an engaged bodily practice.Sample_CM_Ulrike_Rindermann_digit_web-8Sample-CM

All Sample-CM images via Ulrike Rindermann