C’est Tout

Unlike many Germans her age, 30-year-old Katja Will already has a long line of professional credits behind her. And most of them not only sound like something you’d see on TV, they were, as in MTV, Viva and Nickelodeon, where she spent six years as a stylist, as well as developing and running special projects like MTV’s Designerama. Indeed, MTV was pivotal to both her career and personal life. It was where she met many of her current team, not least of all her husband, Michael Will. It is he who manages their fashion business, C’est Tout, and, according to the designer, was the label’s initiator.

“At one point, my husband said, ‘Why not take the creativity you give to others and use it for us?’” she recalled.

Based in Berlin and manufactured in Cottbus, C’est Tout premiered for spring 2007. It owes its name to Coco Chanel, “who said a dress is all a woman needs. And dresses are what I wanted to make,” Will explained, though to a new beat. “Music styling goes just so far. It has a certain look and I was after another caliber.”

Starting with a pure jersey approach, Will’s aim was to provide wearable dresses with a twist and at affordable prices. C’est Tout has since evolved into a full collection in various fabrics, with fall dresses retailing at about 269 euros (or $350), jackets up to 530 euros or $690 (in patchwork fox) and her popular leather leggings fetching 290 euros ($375). Summing up next season, she talked of “a more subtle sex appeal” with touches ofthe late Sixties, the Fifties and Seventies.”

Entering its 10th season, C’est Tout is carried in about 80 doors throughout Europe, including Germany’s A Propos, Slips, Felsenkirchen and Engelhorn. There are also two C’est Tout boutiques in Berlin, and while Will’s look has cross-border appeal, she’s focusing on the homefront. “Why have one door in cities all over the world when theoretically every German city with a population of 10,000 to 15,000 is a potential place for us?” asked Will. “Opening other markets means growing internally, and you don’t conquer new countries overnight. That’s why doing our first runway show in Berlin this season is our next step…to reach those here who don’t yet know us.”

— Melissa Drier

Eva & Bernard

When Nait Rosenfelder and Roey Vollman traded Tel Aviv for Berlin, they didn’t merely switch emotional, political, geographic, stylistic and temperate climes. The married couple, who’d previously worked in separate fields and now wanted to become professional partners, saw the move as a chance to “start over. From scratch. Berlin is probably the only place in Europe you can do that,” said Vollman.

A founding member of Israel’s young designer movement, the largely self-trained Rosenfelder pioneered the independent boutique movement in Tel Aviv’s old textile district with her signature shop in 2002. As a journalist, Vollman’s main beats were sport and culture, particularly literature, which prompted the Bernard (as in Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard) of their label. As for Eva, “She was a real person in Nait’s life and a Berliner,” Vollman explained, though both names are a way “of adopting alter egos, different identities. They’re part of the fantasy,” said Rosenfelder, who heads design. Vollman oversees the rest.

One of the biggest changes since coming to Berlin has been fabrics. “People underestimate how much inspiration you can get from fabric,” Vollman said. Wool not only became possible but necessary for the label, and next season, Rosenfelder will be using velvet for the first time.

Stylistically, Eva & Bernard belongs to Berlin’s growing “clean fashion” camp. The collection, in its third season for fall, features more color and texture, and has softer, more flowing contours. “There are still architectural shapes, but this time, it’s a sort of ellipse,” Rosenfelder said. “You can see this element in everything.”

Produced in Italy, wholesale prices range from 70 euros or about $90 to 275 euros or $360. The brand is represented internationally by agent Elfie Klemann in Germany and Edité in New York. The duo will present an Eva & Bernard fashion film directed by Aviv Koslof during fashion week in Berlin, and the 35-piece collection will also be shown in Copenhagen.

— M.D.

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