This story first appeared in the January 13, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Designers: Heike Becker, Benjamin Kräher and Sebastian Scheduler Founded: 2012
Based in: Leipzig, Germany
Showing: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Runway
Backstory: Like a tripod, the three legs of Leipzig-based Zukker keep the label balanced.
The trio met while studying fashion at Halle’s Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in eastern Germany. Now in its fifth season, Zukker aims for strong statement silhouettes punctuated with wry humor. For fall, they take loose inspiration from competitive cycling, including the polka-dot jerseys worn by racers most skilled at climbing, dubbed “King” or “Queen of the Mountains.” Those bike-a-dots appear as cutouts in a delicate sheer on a fitted shirtdress, or aerodynamic collars on zip-up blouses. Technical fabrics comprise a black bow-belted raincoat and a full skirt.
Coats are oversize or cropped, and color- blocked in earth and sky tones — some trimmed with fake fox, others double-breasted with megabuttons. A favorite material, Danish Kvadrat furnishing fabrics, give a sturdy backdrop to forms both boxy and billowing.
Zukker produces in Germany with European fabrics, and is sold in a few stores in Berlin, one in St. Barths, and at the brand’s atelier. Prices start at 150 euros ($165) for blouses, 450 euros ($494) for jackets and 2,000 euros ($2,194) for coats. — SUSAN STONE
Designer: Antonia Goy
Based in: Berlin
Showing: Berliner Mode Salon
Backstory: Many labels dream of a flagship retail presence, but for Antonia Goy, the decision to close up shop after nearly a decade meant stepping back could be a way of moving forward.
Goy founded her namesake label in 2005 after graduating from Berlin’s Weissensee School of Art, opening a shop and launching a year later. Her well-cut, feminine pieces were coveted by fashion insiders, but running the store left little time. Determined to make collections and commerce, Goy mostly skipped Berlin’s fashion weeks, putting time into international trade shows. These days, Goy and her business and life partner Björn Kubeja, a trained architect, who joined the brand in 2009, can be found off-the-beaten path in an airy industrial zone atelier sought out by established clients for private shopping.
This season, she’ll present at the Berliner Mode Salon. Key looks draw from martial and military influences, channeled through a lens of protection and comfort especially desired after the Paris attacks. Functional and decorative uniform elements pop up on classic shapes like the bomber and blazer, remixed in fine fabrics. Tough is tempered by transparency, cocooning forms, and delicate digital flower prints on silks.
Fabric and production for are sourced from Europe. Prices run from 255 to 550 euros ($280 to $600) for tops, 390 to 800 euros ($425 to $875) for dresses, and 715 to 1,300 euros ($785 to $1,425) for coats. The line is sold in shops in China, Japan, Australia, the U.S., and the brand’s Web site. — SUSAN STONE
Designer: Louise Friedländer
Based in: Berlin
Showing: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin
Backstory: Louise Friedlaender aims to give tradition a fashion spin.
Instead of settling in a bustling district of young people, the 2012 Esmod graduate, now 28, suitably moved into a 19th-century industrial compound in remote — and very bourgeois — Zehlendorf.
She focuses on the virtues of discipline, precision and quality, building her concept of contemporary women’s wear on German traditions. She concentrates on revived local Berlin and Brandenburg handicrafts of weaving and knitting, contrasting them with sturdy wool and Indian pearl embroidery. The cuts are geometric and sleek, revealing details such as dainty buttons and ribbons only at second glance. Muted colors, black and dark wintery tones of blue, green and red, punctuate the aesthetic understatement.
“It’s an homage to my grandmother — a disciplined, confident, yet always chic woman who helped form my image of beauty,” she explained.
“I want to make something sustainable. I took time to refine my signature before showing at Berlin Fashion Week for the first time last year and I’m still taking time to develop long-term relationships with my collaborators and visit every workshop we’re working with.”
Her most precious collaboration is a jewelry line of sculptural gold and silver mélanges, a partnership with her goldsmith mother Barbara Friedlaender and, at times, with fellow young designers like Bobby Kolade.
A standard blouse retails for between 280 and 450 euros (about $310 to $495), more complex ones cost 500 to 1,500 euros ($550 to 1,645), coats are 1,300 to 4,800 euros ($1,425 to $5,265), bags trade at 700 to 4,800 euros ($770 to $5,265) and jewelry starts at 600 ($660) for the standard line and 1,800 ($1,975) for the luxury group.
“It’s bold to start at such a high stake,” she said, “but I want to create lasting value.” — QUYNH TRAN