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CASHMERE AND CONCRETE: “Cashmere is no longer about old-fashioned twin sets,” laughed Stefanel’s chief executive Giuseppe Stefanel about the brand’s new range of feather-light cashmere that was used to build a 27-piece collection including tops, leggings, long cardigans and even floor-length evening dresses. The clothes were presented in a windowless, five-story concrete Second World War bunker in Berlin, which now houses the extensive art collection of advertising executive Christian Boros. Works by Olafur Eliasson, Hendrik Olesen and Santiago Sierra are installed in the building, and designers Dirk Schoenberger and Kostas Murkudis were among those ogling the art. Stefanel plans to expand the cashmere range each season. “We are working with a jeweler in London on some items to accessorize the range, and we also want to do everyday items such as slippers,” said Stefanel.
COMPUTER WORLD: Thrive designer Cem Cako is determined to prove there is beauty in electronic hardware. On Friday night in Berlin, models wandered around a riverside club in short, verdant dresses, which on closer inspection were covered in graphic, circuit-board patterns. “We dismantled old DVD players and computers and took out the circuit boards, which are actually quite intricate and aesthetic,” explained Cako. Trained at the prestigious Flanders Fashion Institute, Cako, who also has an eponymous men’s wear label, works with a team to build conceptual, but wearable pieces on the computer theme – from graphic print dresses, to circuit-board necklaces and earrings made out of computer keys. The Berlin party was hosted by German beauty magazine TUSH and the theme of electronics extended to the entertainment as electro pop trio Chicks on Speed kept the crowd dancing late into the night.
EYE ON THE PRIZE: Support for young fashion talent in Germany reached a new zenith during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin. The Premium Young Designers Award had Issever Bahri by Derya Issever and Cimen Bachri taking the women’s prize, BZZ by Davide Bazzeria sweeping men’s and Anita Moser winning for accessories. Each gets a stand at next season’s Premium trade fair, and inclusion in its print and online communications.
The first German Fashion Film Award was presented at the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, the initiative’s main sponsor. Some 88 young designers submitted three-minute video clips expressing their label’s fashion DNA. The 15 most successful, including women’s wear winner Poti Poti, men’s first prize taker Geppebba and accessories champ Encore, won prizes ranging from sophisticated design software packages from Lectra, a year’s counseling from the German Fashion Association, state-of-the-art Pfaff sewing machines, stands at the Workshop and Copenhagen fashion fairs, or a month-long chance to present and sell their wares at Galeries Lafayette Berlin’s Labo Mode. Some 40,000 DVDs were made of all 88 clips, which, via the German embassies, will be sent round the globe and presented at fashion events and gatherings to promote the visibility of Germany’s young designers and help them make international contacts.
Last Friday, the Designer for Tomorrow Award, the third under the sponsorship of the Dusseldorf-based specialty chain Peek & Cloppenburg, showcased eight young talents. When the fashion student competition started as the Karstadt New Generation Award at the first Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in July 2007, almost nobody showed up, but now it’s one of the hottest tickets in town. Parsival Cserer’s “Good Morning Miss Obama” collection of jacquard knits took the jury’s award, while the public choice award – the show was live streamed this season – went to Cora Isabel David for her sophisticated constructions. Past prize winners have gone on to work for the likes of Adidas and Comme des Garcons, and besides getting hands-on experience creating a capsule collection for P&C, the winner is given their own MBFWB runway show.
The Berlin Senate’s new Start your own Fashion Business competition featured five young designers picked out of over 100 applicants who had to submit not only their fashion portfolios, but full business plans. Michael Sontag, absent from Berlin’s runways this season, took top prize: 25,000 euros in cash, a PR voucher worth 5,000 euros, coaching by business consultants, and participation in future group Berlin designer presentations in Paris, for example, as well as during Berlin Fashion Week. Second prize went to the design duo Perret Schaad, while Vladimir Karaleev took third place.