By Quynh Tran
with contributions from Susan Stone
 on January 19, 2016

BERLIN — The day before Berlin Fashion Week officially starts has become a favorite time for a meeting of the minds in the German fashion industry. And this season, that was marked by Li Edelkoort’s “The Emancipation of Everything” trend seminar and the sixth edition of the Zeitmagazin conference, both of which took place on Monday.

Edelkoort gave a talk that covered, well, almost everything. The ever-opinionated trend researcher opined on what the top colors for spring 2017 would be — brown and white, among others — and predicted the further feminization of men and the toughening of women. She also said that creatives would be priced out of big cities, but so would retailers, who would open shopping destinations in suburbs or further afield.

“Trends are slower than ever. When people say trends are moving fast, that’s totally ridiculous,” Edelkoort commented, citing the color pink’s 19-year trend run, and 15 years of low-rise pants. She also said that this was a good thing — that trends shouldn’t be for just one season, so that materials and systems can acclimate to and improve on the new ideas. Edelkoort also denounced fashion marketing, saying that it had lost its roots in research and forecasting, and is now “a profession of people scared of the future.”

Meanwhile, at the Zeitmagazin Conference, Germany’s fashion front line talked about the city’s changing sense of style.

Tillmann Prüfer, Zeitmagazin’s style director, intentionally gave an authoritarian performance while wearing a Darth Vader mask.

“Fashion is increasingly producing Death Stars,” he said, referring to objects doomed to perish disastrously as seen in “Star Wars.” “Everything is being made understandable, which makes it predictable. That’s not how fashion is supposed to be. We need more powerful intuition.”

More optimistic was Christian Ehlera member of the European Parliament and founder and president of the parliamentarian intergroup Creative Industries in Europe.

“The Parisian Rive Gauche was a notion of an awakening,” he said. “Like Paris back in the day, Berlin is a city of an awakening. It has to enter a marriage with its fashion scene, so the two of them can push each other.”

La Rinascente Group’s vice chairman Vittorio Radice continued in a slightly different manner.

“In Berlin, there’s construction everywhere — except in KaDeWe. In order to be part of the city, we need to demolish everything,” he said, adding that wasn’t entirely true. “But the quality of Berlin in one word is ‘change.’ And if we want to embrace the spirit of the city, we have to embrace change.”

For Stefano Pilati, head designer for Ermenegildo Zegna, it was a personal step.

“When I quit Saint Laurent, I quit a chapter of my life,” he said. “I moved to Berlin as a form of rebellion, which was exceptional. I celebrated it with a flower tattoo, with a good hope that everything in front of me will be as beautiful as the flower.”

Justin O’Shea, the recently promoted to global fashion director of, also had a change of skin.

“My last tattoo was a black unicorn, but just because my four-year-old niece likes unicorns,” he said.

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