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German winter dressing

German designers are shaping the way for stylish cold-weather clothes, reports Stephanie Hirschmiller

Stephanie Hirschmiller,

Visitors to Marc Cain’s autumn/winter show at Berlin Fashion Week witnessed a recreation of Central Park, submerged in a blanket of snow. The German label bathed the ballroom of the city’s Hotel de Rome in an eerie green light, models crossed a bridge to reach a catwalk flanked by rows of antique park benches against the backdrop of a 3D wall featuring swans, while in the finale a storm of snowflakes fell from the ceiling.

Architects of winter
The event resembled a scene from The Chronicles of Narnia and perfectly showcased the ability of Karin Veit, Marc Cain’s creative director, in the area of winter dressing. The collection itself has been inspired by the architecture of famous parks and gardens around the world. Contrasting textures and volumes are used to great effect: there are jackets in super-light lambskin, fringed and feathered gilets also in lambskin, down jackets with a monochrome glacier print, and over-the-knee boots lined with fox fur. It comes as no surprise that German designers have perfected the art of dressing for the inclement conditions of a northern European winter but such luxurious outerwear, which is chic as well as functional, makes Marc Cain particularly covetable.

Sleek sophistication

The autumn/winter Porsche Design collection proves that the brand’s designers are urban modernists through and through. The collection features asymmetric crop jackets, blazers and cocoon-shaped coats with three-quarter-length panelled sleeves, dominated by sleek black leather with flashes of plum and oily majolica blue. Porsche Design’s creative director Thomas Steinbrück describes his clothes as ‘sophisticated, structured pieces’. This season marks Steinbrück’s second collection for the brand, and his ergonomic shapes and geometric volumes display a high level of skill. Renowned fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh, who worked on this season’s campaign, says, ‘The collection strikes the perfect tone. All the items have a very strong link with the Porsche Design philosophy. They are exactly what you would imagine.’

Vintage appeal

Inspired by Man Ray, the Boss mainline collection for the season may be feminine and sophisticated but it also plays to the vagaries of climate with Tuscan lambskin jackets and coats. The concern with such attire used to be the bulky shape, but these pieces come belted or with asymmetric zips that create the illusion of a narrow silhouette. A sleek trench style is executed in wool for superior warmth and its fastenings resemble the clasps of 1920s vintage suitcases.

Swiss designers at Berlin Fashion Week also showed that they know how to deal with the cold weather. Bally’s womenswear collection features butter-soft bomber-style jackets made from shearling (wool from a year-old sheep) with exaggerated fur collars, monochrome intarsia fur jackets, and après-ski boots in marmot and mink complete with wedge heels to elongate the legs. For men there is the Everest collection with a Himalaya boot in shaved deerskin – a re-edition of the original worn by Tenzing Norgay, explorer Edmund Hillary’s famous Sherpa.

Heritage style

British heritage brand Belstaff was transformed into seriously hot property following its acquisition in 2011 by Switzerland’s Labelux Group. Now, Belstaff’s signature belted wax-cotton jackets have been joined by fashion-forward creations including a stunning three-quarter-length lambskin shearling coat in oxblood and coal and finished with antique brass hardwear, gabardine coats with leather sleeves, and feather-light quilted jackets in taffeta which resemble motocross leathers.

At Escada, design director Daniel Wingate has created an architecture-inspired collection with a strong focus on coats. Fabrics have been smartly mixed to create an elegant silhouette for warmth without bulk; a highlight is an unusual coat/cardigan in grey rib-knitted cashmere and with lamb nappa leather panelling. And looking forward, Escada’s Resort 2014 collection will see the brand’s famous Sport range being relaunched: it will be edgier and more casual than the main line, with a look that radiates Alpine Bond girl style. And who could be a more seductive, yet suitably attired, role model?



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