Between Corona, Ukraine and insignificance: Fashion Week Berlin

Yes it’s right. In an international comparison, the Fashion Week in Berlin is not necessarily the most relevant. Paris, of course, the city of Coco Chanel, is considered the cradle of fashion.

Marie von den Benken

There, during the Paris Fashion Week, the défilés of Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Off-White, Christian Dior, Saint Laurent, Balmain, Dries van Noeten, Valentino and Givenchy step into the catwalk.

More resonant names, without a doubt, than the line-up in Berlin can boast of. The Fashion Weeks in London, Milan and New York are also sending glamorous names onto the runways in their cities. Nevertheless, the Berlin location is an integral part of the fashion world and less remote than the lack of the really big couture houses might suggest.

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If only the biggest names in the world were relevant, you would never be allowed to shoot series or cinema films in Germany again, because domestic productions don’t come close to Hollywood blockbusters.

Heino Ferch and Veronica Ferres are not George Clooneys or Meryl Streeps. But you don’t have to hide your light under the famous bushel. Kaia Gerber, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner run in Paris – in Berlin Kim Riekenberg or Antonia Wesseloh. The relevance delta actually melts on the amount of Instagram followers.

Class reunion in Berlin

Considering that after two years and four seasons of Corona, the German fashion industry has not had the easiest phase of its history behind it, the Berlin Fashion Week was by no means just a meeting of the designers from the fashion rest ramp who were spurned by Paris, New York and Milan .

If you consider that the German Fashion Week also comes fresh from a largely nonsensical back and forth between Frankfurt and Berlin, many labels did not want to get back into the fashion circus due to the uncertain Corona situation, that the VIP magnet AboutYou this year will switch to Milan and then Christiane Arp surprisingly gave up her job as editor-in-chief of German “Vogue”, Berlin has managed to have a presentable fashion week. Arp has always been an ardent supporter of Germany as a fashion location and Berlin in particular. She will be missed.

For me personally, the hustle and bustle between the power plant, the Hotel Adlon, the off-locations, shows, fittings, styling and the gala dinners is always exhausting, but also like a class reunion of friends I have grown fond of over the past few years.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend Fashion Week with such extraordinary people as Kim Hnizdo or Mia Florentine Weiss, the busy, restless frenzy turns into an almost familiar walk in the clouds.

Kim As You Are

Of course, this season too, Fashion Week is once again washing many self-proclaimed fashion bloggers into the capital’s in-cafes, where they drink macha lattes, post Instagram selfies and hope to be able to chat at some after-show party in the evening.

“Fashion” is in their social media bios because they occasionally buy extravagant shoes that no one can seriously wear for more than three minutes without breaking both their legs, and have their picture taken with them.

Michael Michalsky sits in the Grill Royal and holds court. But he has also relaxed this season, because traditionally he only competes in summer with his “Michalsky Style Night”. In Borchardt’s counterpart, the haute volée of the fashion and celebrity scene stroll through the “private place” of the female PR duo Hell/Karrer.

Star photographers, vegan schnitzels and gambling entertainment to take your mind off the fashion week storm raging outside. And to the surprise of some PR agencies from Düsseldorf specializing in plagiarism, there were even men present. This fashion week can hardly be put into words in its wildness.

Aside from this touching, beloved folklore about an industry that is often much less glamorous than it may appear to many from the outside, the scene this March inevitably also deals with the question: How do we react to the war in Ukraine?

Kim Hnizdo, best in class in 2016 at Heidi Klum’s TV model academy “Germany’s Next Top Model”, for example, wears an open jacket – and underneath: nothing. Nada. pure skin bare skin. Embellished only by a peace sign that she has drawn between her breasts.

As the saying goes, sex sells. And yes, maybe more men won’t look her in the eye that evening than anyway. In addition to Kim’s beautiful breasts, anyone who can’t take their eyes off her cleavage will remember the message “peace”.

The term (attention!) haute couture takes on a whole new meaning. So if you hadn’t been in love with Kim for a long time anyway, this feeling would set in after this fashion week at the latest. Please think of a heart smiley here.

Balenciaga, Show, Fashion, Paris, France, Model, Catwalk, Snow, Winter, 2022

Demna Gvasalia is chief designer at fashion label Balenciaga. Gvasiala fled Georgia from Russian military violence in the early 1990s. With horror he observes the events in Ukraine, where he lived after his escape. He uses his spectacular show in Paris as a stage for demonstrations against the war. (Teaser picture: picture alliance / Xinhua News Agency / Balenciaga)

Kilian Kerner brings Charity Hoodie to the catwalk

Designers and models also show the (Ukrainian) flag on the catwalks of their official collection presentations. At the Kilian Kerner Show, the show ends with a final walk of all models and his entire team in black “Peace” hoodies, while numerous celebrities (and then me) broadcast the message “Stop the War!” from the big screen in the background. carry into the world.

Incidentally, the said “Peace” hoodies can now be purchased as a charity campaign for Ukraine in Kilian Kerner’s shop. All profits are donated down to the last cent. Bravo, Killian!

At Marc Cain’s, the evening ends with another goosebump moment. All the models stand on the stage of the Wintergarten Varieté with their hands raised. The peace sign is emblazoned on their palms. Again this season, Marc Cain is presenting what is probably the most elaborate show of the fashion week in an unusual location. I’ve already seen her shows in subway stations and again this time Marc Cain has the most celebrities, the most internationally relevant models and the most paparazzi.

The fashion company from the fashion metropolis Bodelshausen had already spontaneously donated 200,000 euros for the Ukraine in advance and announced that it would double every euro donated by the audience on the evening of the show.

For a moment I thought about whether I could possibly persuade Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis to hand over their donations of around 35 million euros to me so that I could submit them to Marc Cain and screw the sum up to 70 million. But unfortunately Ashton hasn’t answered my WhatsApp since I called him the Frank Thelen of Hollywood.

After fashion week is before fashion week

Save the Best for Last is the American word – and as far as the message to the world that Berlin Fashion Week is directing towards Vladimir Putin is concerned, the last show of the official program could hardly have been more impressive.

Designer Jean Gritsfeldt lives in Ukraine. He, too, was surprised by Putin’s war criminal attack on his country in the middle of the preparations for Fashion Week. He could not travel to Berlin as planned. His entire collection is also in Kyiv.

With a haunting speech, he addresses the auditorium in the capital via video message. Afterwards, morbidly made-up models with artificial wounds and war injuries walk down the catwalk and wear the Jean Gritsfeldt collection, which all the other designers of this fashion week re-tailored in a night and foggy operation based on the original templates.

A statement of cohesion and love for peace that is both oppressive and remarkable at the same time. Of course, it’s debatable whether, in the face of real dead people on the streets of Ukraine, it’s appropriate to send models with artificial injuries to a fashion show in the safety of Berlin. I admit, it took me a moment to make up my mind. But in the end it’s the message that counts, right?

Personally, I have received the most and above all the most shocking information about the atrocities of the wars in our history primarily through numerous films that I have seen over the years. Anyone who has seen “The Zoo Director’s Wife”, “Schindler’s List”, “The Invisible Ones”, “Apocalypse Now” or “Platoon” will never again underestimate war.

And there, too, the pictures, wounds and injuries are just makeup. Film is art, fashion is art. It’s the job of art to stir people up. To inform. To touch. Movies reach millions of people, as does fashion.

Fashion has been setting many trends year after year for decades. In addition to the autumn color of the season and the question of whether to wear coats in muted colors or rather pastel colors this spring, why shouldn’t the trend towards more humanity be set?

I don’t think this should be condemned in any way. In this respect, I hope that we will read each other again here in the summer for the next Fashion Week. And that by then the people of Ukraine would have survived this unjust and insane war.