‘Our collections are based on contradictions. We love women who are chic and feminine yet still have a sense of rebellion.’ The designers behind Kaviar Gauche have been breaking fashion rules since they set up the label in Berlin 10 years ago. In fact, the brand entered the international style world through an act of rebellion, when Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl debuted their collection with a guerrilla catwalk show on the street outside Parisian concept store Colette in 2004.
Since then, Kaviar Gauche has shown twice in Paris, as part of the main schedule: its spring/summer 2015 show was ‘successful and sensational,’ say the designers. ‘Showing in Paris is quite different to Berlin. In Paris, we have to convince an international audience that may have never heard of us before. In Germany, you could ask an unfashionable elderly woman in one of the smaller towns and she would probably know who we are.’
Rock 'n' roll glamour
It’s true to say that Kaviar Gauche has become known worldwide and that its typical clientele is far more glamorous than the average German granny. Strong, beautiful and talented women are the target audience for the label, and its fans include Heike Makatsch and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. The label’s aesthetic is ‘feminine avant-garde with a modern glamour, combined with elements of rock ’n’ roll’, and the designers say they would love to see Keira Knightley and Joséphine de la Baume wearing their creations.
For spring/summer 2015, the women have produced a collection that can be seen as a culmination of all the experiences, influences and inspirations they have shared in the last decade. The collection strikes a perfect balance between masculine and feminine styles: expect feminine silhouettes paired with opulent oversized elements and flowing volume with displaced shapes, executed in a palette of intense yet soft colours.
Since graduating in fashion design from Esmod in Paris, Kühl and Fischer-Roehler have become known for the effortlessly chic nature of their work. The label’s name is taken from a French expression: ‘It’s based on “gauche caviar”, which can be translated into Champagne socialist. It pretty much describes our design and consumer philosophy,’ Fischer-Roehler explains. Kaviar Gauche’s collections often feature an intriguing interplay between textures, transparency and volume, helping to create a look that combines cool seduction with modern glamour. Couture detailing and the incorporation of luxury fabrics add a touch of exclusivity.
The label’s wide recognition within Germany can be attributed to a series of high-profile collaborations. In 2008, Kühl and Fischer-Roehler produced an exclusive collection for the Karstadt group, featuring 1970s-inspired dresses, tunics and blouses; they launched a shoe range for Görtz in 2010 and produced a limited-edition cosmetics bag for natural beauty company Dr Hauschka. A shared understanding forms the basis of any partnership: ‘It just needs to be a fit. The other company needs to be convinced by our aesthetic. Otherwise it will not work,’ the designers explain. ‘Of course it is still a co-operation and you cannot ignore the partners’ wishes, but they have to trust us. The projects that have been based on these principles were very successful.’
A winning partnership
Collaboration is something Kühl and Fischer-Roehler excel at, having worked together for 10 years with minimal creative differences. ‘Of course, sometimes we have different opinions, but it is quite rare as we trust each other.’ The influence of two creative minds may account for the duality that has become a trademark of the label; the spring/summer 2015 collection plays with contrasts, pairing casual drapery with strong geometric shapes to great effect.
It’s a winning formula and the label shows no sign of a loss of momentum after reaching its 10th anniversary. ‘We are planning to expand on the international market,’ the designers confide. ‘Licence deals are being sorted out right now and we are planning to open more mono-label stores; our stores have been very successful.’
It seems that Germany’s fashion rebels are becoming respected members of the global style community.