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.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS - BY HILDA HOY

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.

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