BERLIN — Cooperation isn’t new to Germany’s emerging designer scene. Indeed, they’re often a much-needed life line. This season in Berlin, however, support — and an inspirational prompt — came from more international corners.
For the first time ever, the U.S. Embassy hosted an event during fashion week. Ambassador John Emerson and his wife, Kimberly Marteau Emerson, partnered with the nascent Fashion Council Germany on a “Sustainability & Style” presentation Tuesday night featuring some German-American denim upcycling. Using recycled denim provided by Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Levi’s and G-Star, designers Karen Jessen from Benu Berlin; Haltbar’s Kathleen König; Vladimir Karaleev, and Nobieh Talaie from Nobi Talai worked their very disparate and signature ways with the second-hand blues.
Thus Karaleev scissored and patched the fabrics into his composite looks, the almost sheer jeans jacket with bleached denim appliqued seams a standout. Nobi Talai handcrafted tiny blooms which were then painstakingly appliqued on some prancing baby doll looks; there were more down home workwear spin-offs from König, and Jessen did what her Benu Berlin label does best: Twist, braid and weave denim of all shades into artistic creations.
Sarah Kozlowski, director of education and professional development at the Council of Fashion Designers of America, was also on hand to further underscore the German-American cultural bridge, as well as possible future links between the CFDA and Fashion Council Germany. For Ambassador Emerson, the event gave him a good excuse “to wear jeans tonight. As ambassador, I don’t have a chance to do that all that often,” he said.
The following night, the stone-studded results of the new “Vogue Salon in Partnership with Swarovski” initiative were showcased in the almost equally sparkling ballroom in the Palais am Festungsgraben. Selected by Vogue Germany’s Christiane Arp and Nadja Swarovski, current and former Vogue Salon participants Marina Hoermanseder; Odély Teboul of Augustin Teboul; René Storck; Galvan’s Anna-Christin Haas; Michael Sontag, and Dawid Tomaszewski were invited to explore the Swarovski archives for inspiration and then pick the materials they wished to work with.
“There is so much talent here that needs to be spotlighted,” said Swarovski. “You never know what people will do with the stones. I was really surprised the first time I saw how Alexander McQueen used them.”