All seats are taken, the catwalk shows are packed with people, but still the second edition of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin (27 - 31 Jan) (mercedes-benzfashionweek.com) misses international flair. All in all it is a rather national auditorium that came to see about 20 fashion shows, some of them in the official IMG/Mercedes-Benz location at the Post Station (next to the Ostbahnhof), some in quite amazing off-site locations spread all over town.

Nevertheless, people seemed to appreciate the event, especially after rumours in December that the winter edition was to be cancelled. All considering, IMG and main sponsor Mercedes-Benz managed to present a solid and well-organized schedule that certainly strengthened Fashion Week Berlin for further seasons.

The opening show by Hugo (Hugo Boss) in the impressive Tempelhof airport on Sunday evening was one of the glamourous highlights of this fashion week, especially due to the debut of new creative director Bruno Pieters. The Belgian designer showed quite minimalistic silhouettes, all in black, gray and dark blue – not breathtaking, as people stated, but solid and making a clear statement about the direction that Hugo will take.

The Joop! Show in the Olympic Stadium on Monday left the same impression. German designer Dirk Schönberger, in his second season, showed menswear in pure and clean, dark looks. Whereas Strenesse Blue, the second younger line of German designer brand Strenesse, tended towards girly, romantic looks with chunky knitted coats together with light floral-printed dresses. The collection seeemed to be well-accepted by the audience and should give the label a new kick.

Tuesday saw another highlight with the show of Michalsky in the beautiful Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz, especially his womenswear with sharp yet feminine tailored jackets, skirts and dresses with a relaxed elegance. Michalsky’s men were dressed in clean and simple casualwear and showed new fits for jeans with super wide legs that were slim on the ankles, as pictured above.

Apart from these established designers, German newcomers like Marcel Ostertag, Sinemus and Macqua were also bound in the official show calendar that ended last night with the presentation of Zac Posen’s cruise collection – intended more to give some international feeling to this fashion week than to impress with striking design.

As with last season, many off-site events, openings and presentations took place in the German capital at the same time as Berlin Fashion Week. Last Saturday the traditional Beck’s newcomer designer show took place, folowed by the Karstadt New Generation Award on Monday and the official launch of the Adidas and Diesel denim collaboration.

From today onwards the trade show Premium (premiumexhibitions.com), (1 – 3 Feb) will dominate the fashion schedule, together with the premiere of new luxe show Stark (stark-berlin.com), the ideal show space for avant-garde designers and showrooms.

– Sabine Kühnl | Executive Editor