Scherer González

If there were a prize for the show with the most challenging shoes, the award last season in Berlin would have gone to Scherer González. Using heavy glass platforms, almost a foot high, festooned with real flowers, Paul Scherer, 28, and Constanze González, 31, were asking a lot of their models — who remarkably avoided any tumbles. Showing again this season, the Berlin-based pair, who met at fashion school, is clearly just as resilient. Extravagant gowns, corseted bodices and tailored suits will again feature strongly, with a more subdued palette of grays and browns replacing last season’s neon pinks and greens. And although the flowers will stay, this time around they will be dried or silk, for a more morbid, wintery feel.

Having launched their collection in January 2005, the designers form part of a new generation of Berlin labels that favor intricate tailoring and high-end eveningwear, instead of the grungy club-gear and printed T-shirts that characterized the city’s fashion scene in the Nineties.

“Anyone can print a T-shirt, but the more complicated the cut, the better you have to be,” explained Scherer. Going upscale is certainly a way of weeding out the competition, agreed partner González.

— Damien McGuinness

Kilian Kerner

It’s quite fitting that Kilian Kerner got his designer start at a concert when German pop singer Nena fell for his self-printed T-shirts. Still, Kerner’s come a long way from his beginnings with recycled tops and pants, having graduated to a full collection of polished but edgy attire for the men and women of his club generation.

“The first six collections were my training,” said the soon-to-turn-30 Cologne native, who originally came to Berlin to study acting. His seventh, for spring 2009 — shown on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin runway last season accompanied by his favorite band, SplinterX — “was the first where I felt I really knew where I want to go: pared down yet very extravagant and wearable fashion.”

Personal in approach, Kerner’s collections “always develop from a feeling,” which, with the help of best friend and SplinterX lead singer Ben Ivory, is also then expressed in a theme song. Last spring was about those first seconds when you notice a special someone, while this season reflects “a stroke of fate, accepting it, letting go and moving on.”

In stylistic terms, that means a look that’s “a bit more elegant. More mature,” Kerner said. “The fabrics are more high end, the men a bit more masculine, and the women truly feminine.”

Featuring about 80 pieces in total, the Kilian Kerner collection retails between 150 to 800 euros, or about $200 to $1,100 at current exchange. While he initially sold to a number of specialty stores in the U.S., “the payment moral wasn’t the best, so America is currently on ice.”

His main customers are small boutiques in Germany, Austria, France and Japan.

— Melissa Drier

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