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From latex to leather to lace, Berlin’s growing accessories market is up for the challenge of providing the finishing fashion touch — whether it’s fierce or fancy. Here’s a look at some of the established and emerging accessory designers who are making their mark in Berlin and beyond, including a couple with new flagships in town.
This story first appeared in the June 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
These days, 3-D printing is all the rage, but the technology is quite familiar for jewelry designer Svenja John, who celebrated her 20th anniversary in business last summer. Her intricate, interlocking works are made from industrial plastic and sell for hundreds to thousands of euros, mostly in and to museums — and can be found at Berlin’s Oona Gallery.
Her 3-D-printed polymer rings are like succulent snowflakes, the bracelets resemble alien licorice. In brooches and bags or necklaces and earrings, clustered linked forms cut from thin Makrofol polycarbonate film seem to cite complex crystals, or otherworldly exoskeletons.
Oona Gallery for Contemporary Jewelry
26 Auguststrasse, 10117 (Mitte)
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. and
Berlin-based Italian designer Livio Graziottin prefers to call his bold, geometric black-framed glasses and sunglasses “masks,” and designs with the motto “Dreamed in Berlin, handmade in Italy.”
Launched in February 2012, Kuboraum picked up the accessories nod at that summer’s Premium Young Designers Awards. He has since kept up the momentum, forging into optical shops and boutiques throughout Europe, Asia and the U.S.
The brand’s strong shapes are matte finish or burnt by hand for a rough effect. Double frames make a spectacle by merging two styles — one classic, one edgy — in a single pair.
Prices for the main range run from 250 to 330 euros ($333 to $440), with unique limited-edition pieces, including some featuring 24-karat gold details and lenses finished with 18-karat gold, selling for 360 to 2,000 euros ($480 to $2,668).
Kuboraum will officially open its Berlin showroom in a July 4 event in collaboration with Japanese avant-garde brand Julius, which will show select items from its spring men’s wear collection paired with Kuboraum’s LTD For Julius eyewear.
Kuboraum Headquarters & Store
96 Köpenicker Strasse, 10179 (Kreuzberg)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 2 to 8 p.m.
Those with a love for ethno-chic can seek out Abury’s freshly opened showroom in Prenzlauer Berg. Social entrepreneur Andrea Kolb’s brand sells a combination of vintage Berber bags and new leather wares embroidered with traditional patterns. They’re made in and around Marrakech as part of Abury’s collaborative training scheme to bring back almost-forgotten handicraft techniques. Also on offer is an assortment of Kilim boots that merge handwoven rugs and smooth leather.
Abury’s vintage bags are priced from 190 to 440 euros ($253 to $587), embroidered iPad cases at 249 euros ($332), clutches at 190 euros ($253), iPhone cases at 69 euros ($92) and Kilim boots at 189 euros ($252). Items are sold throughout Germany at small boutiques, a door in Italy and one in Zurich, as well as ABC Carpet & Home in New York.
During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, Abury will introduce a travel collection created with Brazilian designer Mayta Leal.
10119 (Prenzlauer Berg)
Hours: Monday to Saturday,
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Peruvian-born, Berlin-raised designer Ina Beissner’s finely crafted sterling silver and gold-plated pieces based on shells, bells, and bows are delicate, but never overly cute. Newer collections swing a bit tougher, with thick chains and stiff trompe-l’oeil ribbons adding humor to the mix.
After studying fashion design in Berlin, jewelry design in Milan and stints with Proenza Schouler and Spanish Vogue, Beissner launched her collection in 2011.
Beissner’s quirky-pretty designs are produced in Germany and sold online and in a range of stores including Colette in Paris, Departmentstore 206 in Berlin and Storm in Copenhagen. Prices start at 199 to 329 euros ($265 to $439) for silver rings and run up to 2,209 euros ($2,947) for a complex gold-plated multibell — but jingle-free — necklace.
Viola Jaeger and Sandra Dresp call their designs “Latex Couture.” Their customers just call them sexy.
The team started with a line of lingerie, and now have a full house of accessories, from necklaces and bracelets to collars, headpieces to high-heel jewelry, as well as gloves and bags. More fine than fetish, Très Bonjour’s pieces can be surprisingly delicate. The laser-cut latex becomes lacy and filigree, and while shiny black is in abundance, gradient rose and purple lean toward the chic side, while paint-splatter polka dots add a playful tone.
Prices start at 69 euros ($92) for short bow-bedecked gloves, necklaces are 89 to 249 euros ($119 to $332), and bags run from 280 euros ($373) for a clutch to 390 euros ($520) for a large shopper.
Très Bonjour Showroom Berlin
3 Torstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Hours: Monday to Saturday,
noon to 8 p.m.
NEXT: Celia Czerlinski >>
Celia Czerlinski’s luxury line of statement bags, launched in 2010, is hand-sewn and mostly quilted, merging high quality leather and unusual design elements. Brushed metal rings, handles and studs lend subtle toughness to the ladylike tone.
Like many of her fellow students from the Berlin-Weissensee Academy of Arts, Czerlinski is drawn to genteel geometries. One bag is formed entirely from a series of circles, while other models spin off triangles and squares. Surprising shades like lilac, grape and wintergreen pop alongside refined black and winter white, and belts triple-wrap or cinch with peplums.
Her newest collection, Cube, is coated leather in black-on-black check print — and includes four simple but elegant totes and a men’s messenger bag. Cube by CeliaCzerlinski is her first foray into the midprice segment, with bags selling between 150 and 275 euros ($200 and $367). In Czerlinski’s luxury line, clutches start at 325 euros ($434) and small shoulder bags at 550 euros ($734), while large bags are priced up to 2,500 euros ($3,335) at select boutiques in Germany, including Berlin’s Oukan.
Rita in Palma
Folksy meets fine in Rita in Palma’s crocheted and crafted accessories. There are frothy collars, jubilant pom-pom necklaces and earrings and sweet knit ties for men and women. All the items from designer Ann-Kathrin Carstensen’s line are handmade in Neukölln by a group of Turkish women Carstensen calls her “crochet queens.” Part social-integration project, part cultural-exchange, and part fashion, Rita in Palma has received special notice from two of the most important women in Germany — Chancellor Angela Merkel, who gave Carstensen a prize for social works, and German Vogue editor in chief Christiane Arp, who features the label in the magazine’s Berlin Fashion Week salon.
Prices for collars run 99 to 409 euros ($132 to $546), depending on complexity; jewelry starts at 39 euros ($52) for pompom earrings, and runs to 79 euros ($105) for a knit tie pendant, and 219 euros ($292) for an intricate crochet-chain hybrid necklace.
Rita in Palma Showroom (by appointment only)
101 Kienitzerstrasse, 12049 (Neukölln)
David Bonney is saving the world — or at least its feet — one sole at a time. The Irish-born former ad man’s elegantly simple shoes leave a clear nonbelieving message behind — buyers of the lace-up sneakers can choose tread reading “Ich bin Atheist” (I Am Atheist) or “Darwin Loves.” Each Bauhaus-inspired shoe carries the brand’s logo — a black hole.
Atheist Berlin was founded in June 2012 with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, but faced one stumbling block — shoes shipped to the U.S. with company-branded tape reading “Atheist” were taking suspiciously long to arrive, or even permanently lost in transit. Once the company started shipping with regular tape, the brand continued to grow.
Atheist Berlin’s unisex shoes come in a variety of shades in soft nubuck leather — from Melty Chocolate to Hellfire Red — and are priced at 150 euros ($198). They’re available online and at the brand’s new shop, which opened this month. A high-top version and a vegan version of the shoe are also on their way in July and September-October, respectively.
Atheist Berlin Showroom
12-14 Ritter Strasse, 10969 (Kreuzberg)
Hours: Thursday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.