For the many journalists, editors, stylists, and bloggers who have already seen the upcoming season’s collection at Fashion Week, the Press Days (which have come and gone this month) can be seen as a seasonal exercise in formality. PR Agencies open their showroom doors offering up top notch press pampering, free food, and free product samples for the opportunity to showcase their clients’ collections and pass out lookbooks. For those of us at Œ, the Press Days signal the start of the next production season, gently reminding us to follow up with promising labels and seasoned designers. There is much to be discovered in the sea of Berlin design talent and, unfortunately, not all designers find themselves in the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin tent or in a showroom during the German Press Days. This season, instead of recapping what was already recapped in January or rehashing our Press Day adventures, I’ve rounded up 5 SS 14 collections I’ve come across (outside of the fashion tent) from designers who deserve your attention now.
Designer Svenja Specht takes us seaside. Except there is no sea. With a touch of melancholy and the surreal, “Tiger Calm”, Reality Studio’s spring/summer collection, is the label’s most feminine compilation of looks to date. Sheers and chambrays combined with Specht’s penchant for form draping garments, bring a diaphanous quality to daywear. There is a lightness to the collection that begins with Specht’s choice of colors. Desaturated corals and blues are juxtaposed with deeper gradients of the hues and brought to full attention with bold prints of sand waves, bamboo, and stripes (a collaborative effort between Specht and Milleneufcentquatrevingtquatre). As the collection title implies, “Tiger Calm” executes a fine balance between the gallantry of its prints and the soothing touch of silk and chambray—playing off the dichotomy of bold and calm. Hands down, this is the most beautiful lookbook I’ve come across for the SS 2014 season.
I’ll tip off my (imaginary) hat off to millennials who call pull off wearing a hat these days. While hats can look quite ravishing on an elderly man or woman, it takes substantial millinery talent to make hats suitable for a younger demographic. This is where NCA, founded by Nele Schreiner, steps in to steer you clear of any heady fashion mishaps. Schreiner’s most recent collection crafts five lightweight hats from a sturdy paper fabric in bright white. Donning a hat is serious business and the doing so demonstrates a certain amount of intent; it’s a good thing then that NCA is here to stop you from looking like you’ve stepped out into the wrong decade with the wrong attitude. Matching collars and clutches complete the collection that has you longing for sun, summer and a reason to put a hat on.
Photographer: Lennard Rühle, Styling: Phuong Lam, Models: Arjen Roos and Antje Hoffmann
August is a definitively Berlin menswear label. Each collection from August contains just the right amount of cool, quirk, color and casual to court the smart dressing young creative whose attire says just as much about him as his bike or where he eats. Take this model from their SS 14 lookbook for example; if you live here, you have seen him somewhere— in a bar, at the flea market, biking on the street, or perhaps he’s the guy who broke your heart just last week. And, he dresses just like that. With each collection, August involves a manual technique that allows for coincidences and unplanned finishings. For its SS 14 collection “Somewhere”, designers Josephin Thomas and Magdalena Kohler painted the fabrics in watercolor fashion, creating unique variations between the pieces.
Photographer: Rosa Merk
This list could not be complete with a minimalist addition to the mix. After last season’s all white collection, the young designer has reincorporated colors into his design repertoire. Looking at Martin Niklas Wieser’s collection, I found myself thinking about androgynous fashion on the whole. With unisex clothing enjoying a steady wave of popularity in recent years, I have noticed that garments falling under markers like “unisex” or “androgynous” always take on a more traditionally masculine direction, working loosely within the framework of menswear. More often than not, unisex looks normally entail some derivation of masculine trousers, oversized coats, and men’s shoes. The fact that women can wear these attire and look good, speak to the versatility of the female look. However, I’ve always wished that unisex clothing would somehow push men to become more versatile dressers who are open to taking more fashion risks. What’s commendable about Wieser’s collection is his attempt to step away from the safe and common approach to unisex garments that purely take on a masculine direction; the designer incorporates long skirts, metallic armor accessories, and cropped tops that would require risk from men who will done his attire.
Season after season, I wonder why Concis is not receiving the press coverage her pieces merit. Hoai Vo, the designer behind the label, creates garments that openly embrace a definitively feminine aesthetic in a city where heels are shunned and fluid dresses are a scarcity (really, Berlin, nobody will think less of you if you stepped out looking like you intentionally dressed to impress). Vo’s predilection for draping, pleats, and inventive folds play out in dresses and skirts that really stand outside of Berlin’s framework for womenswear. Perhaps you will not see the female population of this city decked out in Concis anytime soon (our loss), I hope that women elsewhere will come to recognize just how well tailored, refined, and thought through some of Concis’ pieces can be. How fantastic is this blouse with its cut out collar?