From July 12 to 15 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week debuted in Berlin. Ten designers and labels showed their collections for spring/summer 2008 in a tent with a catwalk that led directly through the Brandenburg Gate, the city’s landmark. Hugo by Hugo Boss opened the show schedule officially on Thursday night. Other highlights were Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania, Strenesse and Michael Michalsky. Sports-style and sportswear brands that showed included Rudolf Dassler by Puma and C.P. Company.

In all, the shows were well attended by the fashion press and some German celebrities. But some visitors noticed that only a few buyers and retailers were in attendance and that the event overall was more national than international. Others thought that the week could be improved with the addition of more prominent, international designers.

Nevertheless, organizer IMG, sponsor Mercedes Benz and Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said they were pleased with the event. Wowereit commented, “Berlin is of course not yet on the same level as Milan or Paris, but we saw a very good first edition and the fashion scene has high potential.”

Parallel to the shows, the 10th edition of the new luxury trade show Premium also ran in Berlin. It featured 800 collections at The Station at Gleisdreieck. Friday was the strongest day for attendance while the number of visitors dropped on Saturday and Sunday. About 13,800 guests were registered, compared to 15,650 at the January 2007 edition. Premium said 64% came from Germany/Austria/Switzerland, followed by Italy (16%), the UK (6%) and Scandinavia (5%). Premium directors Anita Bachelin and Norbert Tilllmann said they were very satisfied with the result and think it was a “great show.” However, some exhibitors said they had hoped more visitors, especially on the especially quiet Sunday. Nonetheless, most were very pleased with the quality of visitors, the brand portfolio and the good working atmosphere of the fair.

In addition, Berlin presented quite a lot of simultaneous showroom action. Ideal Showroom at Café Moskau, for example, established itself as a pool for new and avant-garde labels, but here also the number of visitors was expected to be higher.

In general, Berlin gave a lot of room during the week to promote young talents. Fashion school Esmod showed collections of its graduate students on Wednesday and the Universität der Künste (UdK) showed as part of the official Fashion Week at the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday. Another premiere was the New Generation Award of German department store chain Karstadt, the closing event of the Fashion Week on Sunday. Winner Kaviar Gauche, who competed against Macqua, Talkingmeanstrouble and Lala Berlin for the prize, now has the opportunity to produce a special collection for Karstadt.

- Melanie Gropler