Berlin designer Hien Le once again lead the inaugural runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin SS 14. As a designer with consistent presence on the German catwalk in recent years, his aesthetic leanings embrace what we’ve come to see from many young German designers these days—a minimalist approach to ready-to-wear with the promise that “less is more”.
This resurgence of 90s minimalism that has brought labels like Jil Sander and Helmut Lang back into the spotlight these past years, is experiencing its own love affair in Berlin from young designers like Hien Le, Sissi Goetze, Michael Sontag, and Perret Schaad. Whether these young designers are expressing a generational nostalgia for the era in which they grew up or relating to a deeper German design heritage (hello Bauhaus), its still exciting to see how they will continue to master their craft and build their identities for the SS 14 season.
This season, Hien Le departed from the abstract print work for which he is known, supplanting it with his own insect prints for both men and womenswear. Floor length silk skirts, culottes, and dresses shifted in form with each movement adding a definitively feminine touch that is generally absent from past collections. Despite the brightening of colors and the softening of looks, Hien was quick to remind us with simple knits, form fitting trousers, and button-ups set in neutrals, that his collections are most importantly functional and quietly chic.
Having viewed the garments up close the next day at the COLLECT showroom, I can assure you this is Hien’s best collection yet. If a designer can make a convincing case for culottes then I’m quite certain this one’s got more tricks up his sleeves.