You've Got the Look
Berlin is fashionable every day of the year, but this month’s Fashion Week ups the ante. To get to the bottom of this city’s unique look, Hilda Hoy spoke to local designer Esther Perbandt.
Local designer Esther Perbandt deconstructs Berlin style.
Twice a year, designers, buyers, journalists, and enthusiastic fans congregate in droves for Berlin Fashion Week, taking place 7–10 July in the Mercedes-Benz runway tent at Brandenburg Gate and in venues citywide. From street-ready hipster looks to highfashion gowns, all styles have a home at the most celebrated fashion event of the year. And while Berlin may not have the sartorial reputation of Paris or Milan, it does have its own inimitable style. To get the nitty-gritty on the Berlin look, we talked to Esther Perbandt, a born-and-raised Berliner who’s been designing her eponymous fashion label since 2004.
As a Berlin designer, how would you define the city’s style?
There is definitely an overall kind of Berlin style, which I would describe as strict, a bit rigid. The Berlin look is not soft, summery, or smiling. Perhaps this is caused by many years of war and the long period when Berlin was divided. But this is not a criticism. On the contrary, the city’s style has great potential for class and elegance in a very modern way.
Do your designs fit the city’s look?
My style suits strong personalities and many great places in this world. Berlin is definitely one of them.
What other local designers do you think best represent the Berlin style?
To represent the city, we need to look at the amazing power and diversity of creativity sown here. The designers all pollinate each other, like thousands of bees flying from one flower to another. Just a few of the designers who represent the diverse mix of Berlin: Starstyling, Hien Le, Isabell de Hillerin, Augustin Teboul.
What kind of clientele do your designs cater to?
For quite a while, I’ve felt the desire to no longer distinguish between men and women when it comes to wardrobe, which is how my unisex collection came about. But that doesn’t mean the collection is not feminine. I never ignore sexiness. Unexpected tailoring in combination with interesting fabrics ensures a strong appearance. My designs are created for strong personalities, irrespective of gender.
Can you tell us something about your new collection?
My spring/ summer 2015 collection, LIVE, is based on music, rock ‘ n’ roll, and elegant simplicity. The styles are minimalistic, in gray, white, and black, and highlighted by attributes from uniforms. The variety of textures adds a special depth.