Can Berlin Be Germany’s Fashion Capital?

Claudia Schiffer handing Karl Lagerfeld his award. We see he put his fancy silver gloves on. Photo: Getty Images


Watch out, Paris and Milan! Germany wants its own spot on the fashion map. But first it needs to establish a city to act as an actual fashion destination. So art-centric Berlin came to mind, which just held its own Fashion Week. It seemed like a good choice, given the hipster and art quotient. But Berlin also has a less than stellar economy; the city suffers from high debt and unemployment. Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit calls the city "poor but sexy." Even the director of the German fashion association said at the start of the week, “Berlin doesn’t have any commercial dimension. Business is done in Düsseldorf.” Sigh.

But Berlin Fashion Week soldiered on, rolling out 120 shows including one for Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania label. And week's end, they held an awards ceremony that honored the one and only Karl Lagerfeld (he's German!), which he accepted from German supermodel Claudia Schiffer. And just as Lagerfeld took the stage to give his acceptance speech, it seemed perhaps Berlin had arrived at last! But then, the New York Times remembered Lagerfeld works in Paris, Schiffer lives in England, and the award's sponsor, German Elle, is based in Munich. But surely, Karl would make the world forget all that with his forward-looking acceptance speech!

“In the ’20s, German fashion played a leading role,” Mr. Lagerfeld said after receiving the award, adding that he was working on a book about the era.

Or … not. At least they all appeared there in fancy dress together.

Berlin Ends Fashion Week, Eyes on Glamorous Past [NYT]