Poor Organization Hinders Berlin Fashion Week

There were some strong moments, but too few runway shows over too many days and not enough buyers to go around diluted the impact of fashion week here.

with contributions from Damien McGuinness
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Now going solo, von dem Bussche refined Sisi Wasabi's trachten, or folkloric, twists, incorporating details such as embroidered rectangles breaking darts and inverted pleats, silver coin buttons, quilted leather elbows and leather emblems. But, inspired by traditionally smocked children's dresses, the collection got its punch from one- and three-dimensional variations on the theme. There was harlequin printed charmeuse for blouses and dresses, basket weave or patchwork multicolor strips for belts and bodices and knitted versions of the oblique pattern, culminating in the exploded smocking of a cream silk strapless gown — belted in rustic black leather for a funky yet elegant red-carpet look.

Zac Posen closed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, the designer in absentia due to the New York collections. Posen does sell to a few stores in Germany, and told WWD he saw his participation as a good "opportunity to bring exposure to one's work in a new city. I'm sending a pre-season collection that's never been shown in runway form."

It turned out to be resort and not pre-fall, however. Mercedes-Benz made much of "Hollywood glamour from Hollywood's darling, Zac Posen," but the nonseasonal show seemed to underscore fashion week's lack of focus.

Berlin's trade show, Premium, meanwhile showed signs of bouncing back. Premium attracted 16,354 visitors, significantly up from last season's 13,822, and even better than the record-breaking 15,647 a year ago. Around 55 percent of visitors came from Germany, and German-speaking Europe. Director Anita Bachelin noted, however, a growing number of Italian, Spanish, British and Scandinavian buyers, as well as a surprising presence of retailers from the U.S., South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Visitor frequency was spread fairly evenly over the three days (as opposed to last season's final-day lull), and exhibitors were happy with the quality of attendees.

"Traffic has been great for us," said Thorsten Link, managing director of Diesel Germany. "All the decision-makers and the top guys of the business have been here." Link said Diesel potentially would be coming back next season. The show's compact size makes it by far the best German fair for getting a clear picture of what the market is up to, believes Link. Drykorn chief executive Marco Götz agreed, saying he was more than happy with frequency, calling Premium the best way to get the brand's name out to new buyers.
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