Berlin Fashion Week AW 2016 – My Backstage Review of the Fashion Week

Its Fashion Week! My little personal review of the Berlin Fashion Week AW 2016 with great new fashion collections from old friends like Dimitri and Lena Hoschek but also a lot of new stuff. Come with me to the Fashion Week!

Day 1 / 18.01.16 – The start of Fashion Week, backstage at Riani and the top models

Kick-off Fashion Week! Berlin – here I am

My train to Berlin leaves Cologne on time. The weather: Cold! Due to possible snowfall nationwide, delays and delays of the German railway are expected. And indeed: From Hanover everything is white far and wide, but the sun is shining and I’m not too worried about being late for my first interview appointment at Fashion Week. All the Fashion Week shows and dates are noted down! As I drive, I go over my questions one more time. My first stop on the scheduled appointment marathon is the fitting from fashion label Riani at the Ellington Hotel. Already this afternoon I will interview both the head designer Ulrich Schulte and the managing director Martina Buckenmaier of Riani. On the train I meet other Fashion Week visitors and get to talk about fashion fairs, designers and fashion trends. My anticipation is rising. The train arrives at Berlin Central Station with a slight delay of half an hour. I disembark with my slightly too heavy suitcase and hurry up the escalators, across the multi-level station to a taxi. I have no time to lose and notice by the way that it is a few degrees icier in Berlin than in the Rhineland. At my place in Kreuzberg my team with camera is already waiting for me.

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Backstage – at the fitting of Riani

We arrive on time at the luxurious Ellington Hotel. The fitting has been going on since 10 am, my interview slot is scheduled for 5 pm. Still enough time to look around in peace. Upon entering the room where the Riani fitting is taking place, a few familiar faces immediately catch my eye amidst a flurry of designers, staff and models. Former GNTM contestant Larissa Marholt is trying on a few pieces from the new Riani Fall/Winter 2016 collection alongside TV host and model Bonnie Strange. The outfit for top model Franziska Knuppe is tailored to fit perfectly. Sedcards are sorted in front of a temporary pinboard. A young man welcomes me and my team and introduces us to the PR representative Nicole.

She invites Fashion Interview exclusively to the backstage area of the fashion show the next day. After a nice chat I already meet Martina Buckenmaier, the managing director of Riani GmbH, and the head designer Ulrich Schulte. My interview partners are happy about my interest in the German fashion label and take a lot of time for me, despite the last stressful preparations for the big Riani catwalk show.

Late-night-dinner after work

We end the evening in a good Indian restaurant with impressive ambience. Eating out at 10pm, normal during Fashion Week in Berlin. Too much is going on during the day to spend time comfortably in the restaurant. We strengthen ourselves with chicken curry and rice for the next day, there is a lot on the plan.

Day 2 / 19.01.16 – The first shows among others with Lena Hoschek

My first fashion show at Fashion Week Berlin 2016

The alarm clock rings at 8 o’clock sharp. The tiredness is quickly gone at the thoughts of today. I’ve already laid out my outfit the night before, so after a refreshing shower and a routine styling, I’m quickly ready. The interview cards tucked into my bag, the microphone and camera checked, I set off with my team to the first upcoming fashion show on our Fashion Week schedule: Austrian designer Lena Hoschek is one of the designers ringing in the Berlin Fashion Week with the new Autmn/Winter collection.

I’m excited, knowing that Lena’s collections typically feature some vintage elements that I personally love. The show is inspiring, the music a personal touch from the designer. The collection is characterized by earthy tones, flowing fabrics, fluttery skirts. Everyday fashion with a special flair of days gone by: I like! After the show I quickly make my way to the interview lounge with my cameraman. Lena’s PR agent already meets me in front of the tent and greets us. Despite her success as a designer, Lena has remained very down-to-earth, which I notice right at the beginning of the interview. Besides an interesting conversation, we also have something to laugh about.

Runway the second – Sportalm

After a warm farewell, it’s straight back to the runway in the tent at the Brandenburg Gate. I manage to take a place next to the catwalk just in time before the start of the show of the label Sportalm, which is taking part in Berlin Fashion Week for the first time this year. Among the beautiful faces on the runway I already recognize a few familiar models, like former GNTM contestants Larissa Marholt or Jolina Fust in candy pastel shades combined with lots of white and fur. I am positively surprised by the creations of the Ehrlich family business from Kitzbühel. Before, I couldn’t really imagine much under the name Sportalm, but now I associate the label with modern, luxurious winter fashion, completely in the classic high-quality and authentic Kitzbühel snow landscape look.

Unfortunately I can’t visit all the shows we were invited to for this Fashion Week. Too many, timely shows at different locations in Berlin. Most of them are divided between the “Runway”, the fashion tent at the Brandenburg Gate, and the “Stage”, the me Collectors Room in Auguststraße. However, some shows also take place “offsite” in various noble hotels and in-locations, such as the Kronprinzenpalais or the Ellington Hotel.

The Greenshowroom at the Postbahnhof – alternative & exclusive

Before my team and I quickly freshen up in our apartment for the Riani show in the evening, we visit the Greenshowroom at Berlin’s Postbahnhof. The Greenshowroom is the fashion show that belongs to the exhibition hall next door, where the labels offer their collections to retailers. Nevertheless, not everyone who has a ticket to visit the Order Fair automatically has access to the fashion show. The ambience is a bit alternative, as soon as we have passed the press accreditation control, the showroom is all about fashion. The show has already started, the way to the Postbahnhof was longer than expected. Models strut across the catwalk, but stop: no music! Is that intentional? After a few minutes I answer the question myself: I don’t think so. But the models professionally run their choreography. Their steps in time to a music that seems to take place only in their own heads. The next label presents its collection, the music starts again. Next to the catwalk a DJ booth is set up, next to it a singer. Both the DJ and the singer know their trade, the music is great. Very fitting for a catwalk presentation. The collections are as diverse as the labels, from casual wrap creations, to chic business dresses, to street wear. In the front row I can spot model Marie Nasemann. Interested, she takes notes and snaps a photo or two. If fashion is your passion: on AND off the catwalk.

Backstage at the Riani Show – celebrity next to celebrity

While my colleagues visit shows of Odeur and Dawid Tomaszewski, I prepare myself with three colleagues for the backstage visit at Riani. On time, as agreed with Managing Director Martina Buckenmaier, we meet the Riani team at the back entrance of the fashion tent at the Brandenburg Gate. Already on the way to the reception, where we get our backstage passes, I meet well-known TV personalities, like model Lena Gerke or former GNTM contestant Stefanie Giesinger. All hell breaks loose in the backstage area, in a good sense. The not too big room behind the catwalk is filled with the Riani collection on clothes rails, make-up mirrors and tables where make-up artists and stylists are already hard at work. Models are getting changed, chatting animatedly, taking photos and waiting to be able to go into “make-up”. Besides former GNTM contestants Luisa Hartema, Rebecca Mir, Stefanie Giesinger, Vanessa Fuchs, Larissa Marholt and Anuthida Ploypetch, I also see Franziska Knuppe and Bonnie Steange again. And to my big surprise: Olivia Jones! And she’s a lot taller than I expected, even though the shoes aren’t that high. While Steffi and Luisa get their nails painted, assistants look for the fake nose rings or talk frantically into their head-set. And yes, I’m a fashion editor and reporter at Fashion Week, so I shouldn’t be surprised to see a celebrity or two, but OH MY GOD: Was that international top model Irina Shayk walking past me just now? The ex-girlfriend of Christiano Ronaldo and current girlfriend of Hollywood beau Bradley Cooper attends the Marc Cain show at Fashion Week. The show takes place in front of Riani in the fashion tent. The mood is slowly getting tense, anticipation paired with a certain excitement is spreading, it’s about to start. However, it is rather the employees of Riani who are getting nervous, but not the models. Routinely and professionally they let themselves be styled, smile for photos and give interviews. Again and again you hear the shouts of the assistants: “The next model to make-up! Who hasn’t been yet?”. Anuthida Ploypetch is also allowed to take a seat on the make-up chair right away, before she gives an interview!

Riani Catwalk Go – a highlight in the fashion tent

The models get ready, the show begins. My team and I quickly pack up our camera equipment and make our way to the main entrance of the tent. We are late, could not tear ourselves away, here still a photo, there still a contact made. We enter with our passes the lobby where a big screen is hanging, broadcasting the show live next door. The music is playing and the first models are already walking down the catwalk. The showroom is packed. The Riani show is one of the highlights of Fashion Week in Berlin. Riani GmbH has been presenting its new collections in the German fashion metropolis since 2013. Riani’s 2016 fall/winter collection is characterized by contrasts and rich colors under the motto “Silkroad Souveniers – you are unique & Riani loves you”. In terms of colours, dark yellow and red tones dominate. The viewer is taken on a journey along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road. In the front row, as at some other shows, I see Mirja DuMont next to Sonja Kirchberger and celebrities and bloggers.

After the show we have a glass of champagne in the lobby, toasting to the successful day. It’s 8:30 p.m., the evening is not very old yet, but we make our way to Kreuzberg, to our comfortable place to stay. The video and photo material has to be edited and the preparations for the next day should be made. Good night Berlin!

Day 3 20.01.16 – From Anja Gockel to Kilian Kerner

Early Fashion Editor Gets The Best Seat On The Catwalk

The fashion fever wakes me up again at 9 o’clock in the morning. I realize I need my big Caffe Latte to start the day really fit. Sleep is a luxury, that’s what Fashion Week reminds me of. But who needs sleep when you can see the new collections of hip designers LIVE here in the German capital and talk to the designers directly: Well, not me!

First stop today: The Fashion Tent at the Brandenburg Gate. I visit the show of fashion designer Anja Gockel. Anja Gockel is a German designer with charm and an expressive personality. She puts her heart and soul into her collections and pays attention to feminine shapes. Her credo: the fit is the be-all and end-all.

Anja Gockel – From poppies to horizontal stripes

In the meantime I find my way around Berlin quite well, at least on the short routes around Kreuzberg to the Brandenburg Gate. What I noticed immediately: The subways here are very different than in Cologne, somehow much lower and seem older. But the connections are great. I walk up the stairs from the subway station to the Brandenburg Gate. Cold air flows towards me, I pull my scarf tighter. The view really blows me away. As soon as I leave the last steps, I look at the impressive Brandenburg Gate. I tell you: Fascinating! In Cologne we have the cathedral, which radiates a special aura through its height alone. So it is in Berlin with the Brandenburg Gate. I don’t have much time for a selfie or two, after all I don’t want to miss the fashion show. Shortly before the tent I meet a model friend who has just walked the catwalk for Dorothee Schumacher. She spontaneously accompanies me to Anja’s presentation. We drink the obligatory champagne and then take our seats in the showroom, directly at the catwalk: perfect. Anja Gockel’s 2016 fall-winter collection is characterized by cheerful orange and red tones or velvety wine reds, paired with lots of black. Shiny fabrics, flowing silk and in between the one or other fake fur. Poppy patterns and horizontal stripes pop up again and again as accents. Earthy tones such as brown and stone grey round off the collection. Elegant and wearable combinations, anything but boring, for the modern but feminine woman. Completely in the style of Anja Gockel.

Two Cologne girls on the streets of Berlin

After the show I am picked up, luxuriously, by Yvonne, a make-up artist friend, with the car. We go for a bite to eat, stroll a little through Berlin and stroll through one or the other boutique. By car we drive past the Holocaust Memorial, unfortunately there is no time to get out. We take pictures of the Reichstag and drive up to the huge roundabout with the Peace Column, the sky above is shining blue. WOW. After what feels like six laps around the roundabout, it even has its own traffic lights, we make our way back to the Brandenburg Gate. The next show is coming up: Rebekka Ruétz.

Rebekka Ruétz Autumn-Winter-Collection – From the big wide world

The big city amazon, who likes to mix materials as much as design extravagant and idiosyncratic collections. The show begins as spectacularly as it does personally. Rebekka’s voice opens the catwalk with a dreamy quote. “When you travel the world, you see home through different eyes.” In keeping with Rebekka’s collection motto “So close, so far”, a video shows the contrasts of Tyrolean nature and the big city of Berlin. After the first impressions, the first model enters the catwalk. The show begins. This time I am not disappointed: The new collection of the Austrian impresses with different natural prints, which remind of the Tyrolean landscape, from “flowing brooks” to “singing birds”. The fabrics are varied, as usual: silk meets wool or faux fur. The focus is on the female waist, among other things wide belts are used. I am blown away.

<h3 id=””preparations”>Kilian Kerner fashion show preparations: Me & My Straightener</h3>

Around 5 pm it’s time for me to hurry back to Kreuzberg. While my colleagues still go to the fashion show of I’vr Isabel Vollrath, I have to prepare for the evening. I swing the brush & the straightener in record time. For me and 3 colleagues it goes to Kilian Kerner in the Ellington Hotel. I am, admittedly, excited and anxious to see what awaits me. For me, Kilian Kerner’s show is one of the shows I’ve been looking forward to a long time before getting there. The young designer from Germany is for me a genius in the field of fashion design. His biggest inspiration is always emotions, which he turns into an image with flowing fabrics and asymmetrical cuts. Since 2008 he presents his collections 2 times a year at Fashion Week Berlin, so he is already an old hand in the model business. Since 2012 the designer, originally from Cologne, has been working with jersey fabrics in his second line Kilian Kerner Senses, which can easily be worn in everyday life.

Kilian Kerner at the Ellington Hotel – A Catwalk Highlight

The clock shows 19:25, we park briefly in the no-parking zone near the Ellington Hotel, time is running out. In the foyer of the impressive luxury hotel we already see the small queue in front of the accreditation stand. So we are not the only ones who are short of time. Behind the counter there are about five employees, we get our tickets and press wristbands very quickly. We quickly hand in our jackets and hurry past the security man up the noble stairs. The hall is already full, we get a place with a good view on the catwalk. The photographers are standing on an elevation, like a pack of wolves, cameras ready in hand. The doors close, a staff member from the event organization speaks into her head set “The doors are closing now, no one is getting in. Too late.” Whew, lucky us! My colleagues and I take a few more photos, having dressed up extra “fancy”. I’m wearing my favorite Guess dress: a black, tight-fitting, knee-length dress in a comfortable ribbed fabric with a sophisticated bolero. Gold elements on the straps and bolero stand out simply against the deep black. After all, we’re still invited to the after show party afterwards.

The Kilian Kerner Show – Anna Huntington in the Magic Forest

The lights get darker, the music starts, a live band next to the catwalk sets the mood. The motto “The Huntingtons – Chewing Gum & Love Affairs” is implemented through an enchanted forest atmosphere with high-quality papier-mâché trees around the U-shaped catwalk. As I learn during my interview with Kilian Kerner after the show, there is a fictional family story behind it. The getups of the models, blonde pageboy wigs and big sunglasses a la Anna Wintour, are also based on this story. Kilian Kerner’s fall-winter 2016 collection is a dream of dark blues and blacks, pleasant shades of cream and gray, paired with some pastel elements. Feminine modernity, slim silhouettes or slim pants, a play on femininity & the androgynous. I am in love! After the catwalk presentation Kilian tells me more about his inspirations for the new collection and how he came to Berlin as a Rhinelander in the first place.

The Kilian Kerner aftershow party – a blast at the luxury hotel

After a sympathetically honest conversation with the star designer, the mood is perfect for an exuberant after-show party. A few quick snapshots in front of the photo wall in the foyer lead us to the restaurant and bar area of the Ellington Hotel. And there I really have to say: double wow. A buffet of the finest for the guests of Kilian. Besides delicious mini dumplings, there is plenty of meat and numerous delicacies. Just the right thing before the way leads us further to the cocktail bar. The one or other nice conversation with other fashion enthusiasts and colleagues, the one or other glass of champagne. Very likeable: Kilian mingles with his guests. He goes from group to group and asks personally how his guests liked the show, whether the food was good and toasts to the evening. In an adjoining room the music gets louder, a DJ turns up the mood with the music. It is getting boisterous, in a positive sense of course. After a short time the dance floor is full to bursting, cocktails are passed over the bar counter at turbo speed. We let the shreds fly until 3 o’clock. A great night in the middle of Berlin.

Day 4, 21.01.16 – My last MBFW day starts with Dimitri

Dimitri gets me out of bed…

My alarm clock becomes my biggest enemy. At 9am, the good guy rings for what feels like 10 minutes until I make it out of my bed to my phone and turn it off. I stumble over my roommates’ air mattresses to the bathroom. A cold shower shock-frosts me awake abruptly. The night was too long, the morning is too early. No one had better talk to me before my eagerly awaited coffee. In the corridor I meet a half sleepwalking colleague, a growled “morning” is squeezed out. Half an hour later, I’m standing in front of the large wall mirror and quickly straighten my hair. At 1:30 p.m., Dimitri’s fashion show begins. His fashion collections are simply amazing! I love his feminine but strong designs and look forward to the show accordingly. Marina Hoermanseder’s show starts an hour earlier, unfortunately I can’t make it to both shows without problems, so I send a colleague to the Kronprinzenpalais, where her show takes place.

Live high the 70’s & 80’s at Dimitri on the Runway

I make my way to my favorite place of the last days, the Brandenburg Gate. The foyer in the fashion tent is crowded, not only I am a big fan of the Greek-Italian designer. I meet my colleagues and we just make it into the showroom through our press passes. Behind us more guests are put off with the screen in the foyer, which broadcasts the show live. Models like Rebecca Mir or Alisar Ailabouni walk down the catwalk in dream dresses. The colour black dominates, paired with a glamorous gold. Dimitri’s inspiration is immediately apparent in the new collection: The 70’s and 80’s, borrowed from diso divas like Bianca Jagger or Debbie Harry. Slim silhouettes, expressive looks for confident women. Keys of his creations: Shiny fabrics & futuristic cuts. Exactly my taste. Once all to go please!

An interview with my favorite designer from Italy

After the show I meet Dimitri for a short interview in the interview lounge. This is his second interview for Despite his great success, the Italian-based designer is wonderfully modest. Instead of a big party he is much more happy to toast his catwalk presentation internally with his family. He also tells me more about his inspirations and personal highlights of the season.

The Fashion Week Hot Spot PREMIUM – The Order Fair

The wild ride continues. In addition to a few fashion shows, the order fairs have been somewhat neglected on the agenda. My colleagues and I jet off in a chauffeured Mercedes Fashion Week bus towards Premium. THE order fair here in Berlin. The ride is wonderfully pleasant, 10 minutes of relaxation. I lean back in my seat and let the streets of Berlin pass me by. Tomorrow it’s back to Cologne for me. More appointments & events are waiting for me in the Rhineland. I have to say: I like Berlin. I like the city, the hustle and bustle now during fashion week and the many different people who just dare to do something. Until now, my favourite cities in Germany have been Cologne and the beautiful, Nordic Hamburg. Now definitely also the exciting Berlin. The chauffeur drops us off right in front of the Premium entrance: What a service! At the counter we briefly pick up our press passes. This time there isn’t a long queue, but that’s because we’re just catching the last two hours of the fair. Lucky, or rather: perfectly planned.

I stroll with my camera through the aisles of the exhibition halls. The area is huge, outside there are currywurst or coffee stands. (At which we also stopped briefly, what must, that must.) Inside it’s nice and warm, so slowly I’ve gotten used to the current Berlin cold, but that doesn’t mean I like it. The Premium convinces me. In a pleasant atmosphere the visitor can have a look at the latest trends of the fashion labels. The staff in charge are friendly and ready to answer questions. I see one or the other “I want to have”, but unfortunately I can’t take it with me, after all it’s an order fair for retailers and co. I content myself with impressions. The order fairs are just as much a part of Fashion Week in Berlin as the fashion shows, which is why it’s important to me to have visited one. Unfortunately I had to miss Ewa Herzog’s show today. Next time!

HolyGhost as the conclusion of Fashion Week Berlin January 2016

It’s 4:45 pm by now, oh dear, time is short, so I really want to go to the presentation of the designer duo of Holy Ghost on the stage. After a short consultation with my team it’s clear: I probably won’t make it on time. I do my best, grab a taxi and pray that the Berlin traffic hasn’t conspired against me. And indeed: Luck is on my side! I arrive at the me Collectors Room barely late. The show is on. The collection is surprising. My first impression: Somehow I’m confused, without judgement I have to let the impressions of the collection sink in. New norms, new ideals, total individualism. My second impression: I am thrilled! Holy Ghost stands for the strong & self-confident woman who makes her own rules. Generous silhouettes paired with simple cuts. Besides clean dresses and elegant suits I also see the Holy Ghost typical overalls again. White, khaki and grey are at the forefront of the colour palette, punctuated with petrol, mustard and prints. The gauntlet through Berlin (via taxi) was worth it. I’m glad I was able to catch the Holy Ghost show. A successful fashion week finale for me!

The Macke fashion boutique – a Berlin institution

Before I head back to Kreuzberg, I stop by the Berlin fashion boutique Macke. A fashion photographer friend of mine, Oliver Rudolf, is fitting me for an upcoming shoot. I seize the opportunity, next to another and last (yes really) glass of champagne, I interview the boutique owner Hela. She is a Berlin veteran and only carries selected labels in her shop. She tells me more about the speciality of her collections, her regular customers and of course about her Berlin.

Bye Bye Berlin – Thanks for the great time & see you soon

Arriving in Kreuzberg, I pack my suitcase with one laughing and one crying eye. So many new impressions gathered, so many new people met, so many new experiences turned into great memories. I had a great time in Berlin, with a great team! I’m looking forward to my new projects in Cologne, to a warmer climate, yes, still the time at Fashion Week in Berlin went by too fast. I’m getting my tickets and passes together for tomorrow’s train ride. My dear friend Yvonne will kindly take me to the station. There’s only one thing left on the agenda for today: delicious pizza & pasta at the Italian restaurant around the corner with my dear colleagues. I enjoy the well-deserved dinner with my dear colleagues. Exhausted, but happy, I let myself go. Berlin, I will come again. Soon. You can count on it!