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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For the Italian denim label Gas, though, Premium still has some way to go before achieving its full potential.

"It's a really nice fair," explained Alessandro Urna, the label's Northern European sales manager, "but we need more big-name labels to get more visitors in. A few more really big denim brands would really draw people."

Many exhibitors felt that a more compact fashion week also would help boost numbers, by attracting new international visitors who would swing by after the catwalk shows.

Trends at Premium indicated a strong interest in military themes, combining Forties dandy elements with a touch of Seventies boho chic. Dubbed Bohemian Warrior, the look combines structured tailoring, like boxy, short military jackets, with flowing bohemian pieces, such as gypsy blouses or extra-long scarves. Chunky knits remain important but are now getting more structured with big shoulders and collars. Trouser legs are wider, ranging from bell-bottom through high-waisted flare to a superwide Marlene Dietrich cut. And, while colors are subdued, with gray, sand or stone hues dominating, outfits are enlivened by flashes of purple, neon mustard or bright red.

The progressive show, Ideal, which shows German and international avant-garde labels, won praise for its cool layout in the GDR-charm of Café Moskau, but attracted low traffic.

"This show is unique. It's like a piece of art," explained Tarek Hassanin, ceo of the label DangerousWork. "But there are just not enough people. If you have a work of art, you have to show it to someone."

Germany's power agent, Norbert Klauser, jumped into the fray late last winter, announcing he was launching a new show for upper-end labels, Stark. This is the German word for "strong." The men's edition ran Jan. 25 to 30, and the women's, Feb. 1 to 7, at the old switching station in Prenzlauer Berg. The invitation-only event featured about three-dozen hand-picked exhibitors, and the location and setup was stunning in a chicly alternative, industrial way.

It wasn't exactly bustling, but exhibitors such as Vienna hatmaker Klaus Mühlbauer or Malin Odelfelt, sales manager for Swedish women's collection Rigetta Klint, said they were more than satisfied with the quality of buyers who came.
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