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Tulle, madly, deeply :: love Berlin Fashion Week

5 Jul


Barbara I Gongeni SS110 video at Temporary Showroom  

What a difference a year makes. Rewind 12 months and we were calling in press pics from Berlin Fashion Week shows because we’d been distracted by Suzy Menkes, steps across the runway. Ooh look, she’s clapping. ‘Zitover?. Alas, this year’s vantage point is not so salubrious. In a village lacking even the retail equivalent to electricity – Zara, Top Shop, H & M, give my love to your sales racks – now-singular I can only pull on my best schuhs, set myself up with a bottle of Schnapps, tuck a goodie bag under my gaslift chair, and settle in in front of the laptop. Sure I’ll hardly notice the difference. I hope you’ll join me for the following shows.

Esmod Berlin Graduate Show 2009  

ESMOD GRADUATION SHOW 6pm Tuesday July 6 Take down their names, would you? 
Kaviar Gauche Winter 2010 
KAVIAR GAUCHE 6pm Wednesday July 7 Obscurity one day. Subject of glossy chuffery the next. So the fairytale always reads. But overnight success has taken seven solid years for the pair behind this fashion haus, which recently opened its first Berlin flagship against a muted domestic economic backdrop. But with alignments spanning the globe and including brands such as Swarovski, Kaviar Gauche hardly needs a pat on the shoulder (where, incidentally, you’ll find the strap of a luxurious leather carrier). Score the measured avant-gardity as you might Balmain. Then add a point for the bridal collection. I do. 

PROJEKTGALERIE 11am Thursday July 8 Part of the city’s seismic support for its budding fashion talent, this showroom can be credited with giving many an international ‘one to watch’ its commercial foothold. 

Barbara I Gongeni  

BARBARA I GONGENI 7.30pm Friday July 9 The inspiration for last year’s post titled ‘Great Danes‘, and the subject of this post’s visual and *click, you know you want to* video, this woman turns out veritable confections of tulle that make Carrie’s ballet skirt look a shade underdone for an Under 12s skating competition. The beauty of BIG is her balance of the fantastical with the eminently wearable – a tulle mitre here, a peg pant there. Here a t-shirt, there a tutu, everywhere a… 

ALSO WORTH A LOOK Mongrels In Common :: Michalsky :: Lala Berlin :: Temporary Showroom’s covetable client list including ADD, Odeur, Reality Studio.

(Please check back for pics daily.)   

19 Dec

12 Oct


Berlin gets its fash on

10 Oct


You may remember a rant we posted after lunch with the PR for one of Berlin’s bigger fashion exports. We were miffed that the city spent so much time and (borrowed) Euros on preaching ‘Poor but Sexy’ to the converted, instead of giving local fashion talent a lift across the border. Well num, num, num. That’s us chewing on our words (not to be confused with eating them). An upcoming symposium called ‘Too Fashionable for Fashion? – How Berlin can be transformed into a city of fashion’ at least recognises that Germany’s capital is not yet on the map.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Those who have cracked nether markets  – think the prodigious Leyla of Lala Berlin Lala Berlin’s Leyla and Michael Sontag – will throw their hats into the ring on October 19. Perhaps they’ll mention booking berths at Paris Fashion Week. Wolfgang Joop’s Wunderkind (pictured above) has just shown spring 10 in the City of Lights and while critics were scathing of kneeless compression stockings and other athletic nuances, stirred in with floaty prairie dresses and mushroom-like silhouettes, we’ve an inkling he did it on purpose. Le Berliners are tres strange, non? Oui, but they are German. Got them talking, didn’t it?

second skin

8 Oct


Two days ago this post would have been a different beast.  It was going to be called ‘Skin Coloured’, and assure you unequivocally that spring/summer’s hottest hue is ‘Muted Melanoma’. Then Harry Connick Jr made us see the trend so strong in Vienna and Copenhagen in a whole new light. We mean, way. A tone reflecting the complexion of a percentage of the population, but by no means inferring superior intelligence or value, is next summer’s must-have. Sounds sexy, dun’t it?  We have editorial adoration for the stiff leather shorts in Caucasian Suntan at Vilsbol de Arce, and jumped out of our dermises for Presque Fini’s fringed frock. If you can’t come at getting about in the pseudo-nuddy, opt instead for a faux finger necklace from quirky contemporary jewelstress Margaux Lang. Maybe massage some Ambre Solaire into the knuckles before wearing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being white. Er, we mean faded.)

they’re only nipples

27 Sep


theme_punctured_blackA friend rang during the week just to check, hope you don’t think I’m imposing I just worry, you know that we didn’t really endorse those transparent dresses from 388 Wonderboutique. I mean you may as well photocopy your nipples onto a transparency and turn on the overhead projector. Wait until she gets wind of the evolution of sheer. For ss10, barely-there mesh morphs into what is known in the industry as air. From stanley knife-style circles at Austria’s Butterfly Costumes to fibres that look to have been nibbled by silverfish all winter at Manish Arora and John Rocha, nothing is the new something.  Disclaimer: Fashion Platz does not advocate the exposure of private bodily bits. All trends should be attempted with caution. If in doubt, consult your personal stylist.

unseen design scene

31 Aug
It’s 6.30pm on a rainless August night at Bangkok’s ‘posh night market’, Suan Lum Night Bazaar, where we’ve come in a last ditch attempt  to buy something that warrants, “Bought this in Bangkok. Really cool Thai designer.” Past the fish massage stand, where two red-faced tourists slip off their knockoff Birkenstocks and plunge their swollen toes into a tank crammed with orange Nemos that will nibble away their dead skin, we see it. A  white batwing sleeve, flapping above a floor fan.

Steps from the ensuite-size booth sandwiched between two deserted aisles we place bets – knockoff Comme des Garcons. Does Reality Studio sell in Thailand? The pale latte wrappy-drapey thing, gotta be Margiela. Why didn’t anybody tell us about this place, instead of sending us off to the putrid polyester-filled Chatuchak?

Within seconds we’ve relieved te racks of half their stock. “Who designs this stuff?” we ask a figure slumped, head down in  the corner, struggling not to drop a forehead-high pile of clothes.
“Yes,” says the tiny Thai shop keeper, rising from his wooden seat to pull a metre-wide curtain along an overhead rail.
The shopman-slash-designer, who has more than a touch of Akira Isogawa about him – deep creases from years of embarrassed smiles, round glasses about two seasons too early, and head-to-toe black cotton – looks at the racks carrying avant-garde designs with perfect drapes, folds and tucks in pure cotton and silk, and shrugs.
“Just small business.”


Indeed, the God Bless You stand is Peerapun Tranerattapit’s only retail point of sale, and it’s no stroll in Lumphini park. Survival demands his presence at a tiny booth in an airless shed from 6 to 12 seven nights a week, to catch the fashion-forward wheat in the fake Tiffany bracelet-hunting chaff. Even then, each sale is a battle between he and haggle-happy westerners who refuse to pay prices that top out at AUD36 for an exquisitely-made cotton/silk dress that would have the Met Gala crowd choking on their Beluga. A Garcons-esque pure cotton jersey cocoon top is AUD16.
Peerapun’s is just one of many stories of unsung fashion greatness in this city, where marble super malls neighbour slums drowning in uncollected waste, and test-driven luxury cars overtake tuk tuks.
While the Thai Government is backing a number of programs to put local fashion on the world map, and link-heavy websites such as and showcase a few savvy labels with Bunka pedigrees and baht to spare, the official channels neglect many designers whose creativity more than matches their agency-represented counterparts.

Peerapun’s heartly laugh at the suggestion of a website reflects the prevailing attitude to what is essential for any modern marketing, and begins to explain the failure of many fashion designers to rise to the level of world-famous Thai labels Sretsis, Senada, Fly Now and Kloset. Even the card we collect from a young man with perfect English at t-shirts and accessories label Green Dragon House leads to a defunct MySpace account.

When Gi launches her new collection next month, it will not be in a tide of blinding flashes in Siam Paragon, but heralded with a sign in her 2m x 3m ‘1606 Shop’ booth at the end of an out-of-the-way aisle abutting a darkened alley.

“And I will get a website!” the petite 20-something designer exclaims, reaching for a pen to write our email address in her Tesco notebook.

Wholesale is where it’s at for designers without a ‘name’. The sheer volume of marketplaces in Bangkok – most suburbs have their own retail tent cities measuring acres – ensures steady demand for product. A suite of labels including Brio, Mama Don’t Cry and Mama Say Zeed turns up in stands everywhere from Sukhumvit Road to Silom. But this promiscuity presents its own problems. While it can generate a decent income, it also guarantees that a designer will never join the likes of Sretsis on the world stage. The intellectual property is valueless.

Gi is genuinely shocked that we return, as we promised, to buy a pure cotton shirt with perfectly-executed pleating and ’winged’ sleeves seen in the European ss10 collections. And that we agree to pay 500 baht (AUD17.50), when wholesale customers would take 20 pieces at the price. We hope she puts it towards web hosting, and that one day we’ll be the proud owners of ‘vintage 1606’. (Bought it in Bangkok. Really cool Thai designer.)

Other ’labels’ worth seeking out in Thailand’s unofficial fashion landscape

Brio – oversized chambray shirts with batwing sleeves and on-trend dye techniques
Every Perfect – oversized jersey with interesting button details (sensing a trend?)
Green Dragon House – unique t-shirt designs & accessories
Now Or Never – hip asymmetric jewellery & accessories, and t-shirts, all limited edition
Four Fiftyseven Co – hints at Balmain, margiela, and other designers du jour
Mama Say Zeed – oversized jersey & pale denim pieces, at suan lum bazaar & soi 4, siam square
Mama Don’t Cry – a frill here, a shoulder detail there, all on-trend
December No 5 – more oversized, Japanese-influenced styles
Art Self ( – hand-painted & died tanks, tank dresses & tees in pure cotton
Exhibit – ‘upmarket’ brand with well-made sack dresses, drapy things & shirts, in a proper branded tore on Soi 4, Siam Square