German Stylings, Gaudy and Glowing

The first model appears at the far end of the runway wearing a silk orange evening gown with illuminated detail. A soft chatter breaks out across the audience in the dark room. Haute-Tech — a term used to describe the marrying of fashion and technology — is something most here have not seen before.

Each new LED-illuminated garment appears first in the dark on a model at the base of the runway who then walks toward a flood light at the end of the runway until the elegant evening gown is shown in full.

MOON Berlin is an innovative fashion label by Brigitte Franken and Christian Bruns, arranging soft-circuit LEDs with luxury fashion to achieve a dramatic, but elegant, light and shadow effect on evening gowns, cocktail dresses, trouser and blouse combinations and accessories.

Unlike most fashion designers who are primarily thinking just about cuts, texture and color, Franken and Bruns have technical aspects to consider when designing their annual collections.

“Sometimes we have the idea of a light effect and then think about the design of the garment, sometimes it’s the reverse. Often we also integrate new innovations into our designs, with new possibilities and looks. The design process often starts with a design topic — the story the collection should tell — and the actual technical possibilities we have. Then we start the design process, doing draping, experiments, testing if our concepts work as we envisioned,” Bruns said.

The 2011 collection, “I’m Not a Robot,” emphasizes aesthetics, not science fiction, and has been presented at a number of international fashion shows.

“The reaction is often very good,” Bruns said. “Even in Jakarta the people were excited. They are often not only excited by the lights, they also love the materials, shapes and more.”

Through the increased exposure, MOON Berlin has attracted their first clients in Los Angeles, Singapore and Russia as well as their home country.

MOON Berlin’s runway show closed a long day of German fashion on Tuesday at Jakarta Fashion Week. Eight designers representing five labels were selected from almost 40 others to take part in JFW. The event was hosted and organized by Jerin (Germany and Indonesia), the six-month cultural project series celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Issever Bahri, by Derya Issever and Cimen Bachri, were the first to present. Inspired by their Turkish roots, their use of handcrafted silk, leather and wool motifs with modern, chic and classic cuts was well-received by a crowd of about 100 at Pacific Place mall.

“We [design] clothes that are wearable in everyday life, but still sophisticated. We like it to be rustic, and never cute,” Issever said.

Graduates in fashion design at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Issever and Bachri say they became instant friends after meeting on the first day of school. Each went to work for different fashion houses after their studies, but in 2010 they reunited to start Issever Bahri.

“A lot has been happening, but we are trying to take small steps with our business,” Issever said. Their brand is already being sold in seven concept stores abroad, including one in Hong Kong and is sold online.

Designing is the easy part, they say. The two 29-year-olds share the same tastes for fashion.

It is managing the business side of things that poses a challenge for them. However, they recognize the potential of the Asian market through concept stores and the masses of fashion enthusiasts, who have an eye for boutique brands.

“Asia is one step ahead of Europe in that sense,” Issever said.

Not that European style and panache were neglected at Jakarta Fashion Week.

Boessert/Schorn by Sonia Boessart brought attitude with of daring patterns on garments that are casual but funky.

Hien Le, born in Laos, used airy fabric, discreet cuts and solid colors — red, yellow, cream and blue — to build his spring/summer 2012 collection. The highlight: a stunning maxi length red dress.

Mixing things up a bit was Starstyling, which demonstrated what loud, fun and colorful clothing really is during their carnival-like parade down the catwalk.

Their spring/summer 2012 collection, “Stripes for Your Right to Party,” includes light dresses, T-shirts and shorts. The collection featured painted, printed, foil, woven and knitted stripes.

Katja Schlegel and Kai Seifried are a quirky married couple bursting with creativity. The couple launched Starstyling in 2000, though it’s not until a designer’s 12th collection, they say, that he or she can claim to have been an industry success.

“The 12th collection is the real test,” Seifried said.

Starstyling’s colorful hand-painted leggings and shorts and foil patterns are sold across Europe and Asia, where both of these designers believe their concept and style will fit right in.

“It’s all just colorful and fun, and people have the courage to wear color in Asia,” Seifried said.

Published on November 18, 2011 in Jakarta Globe newspaper


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