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Kaviar Gauche.

With their latest collection,
Kaviar Gauche have gone
for first-hand inspiration,
drawing from their own
rich back catalogue.

Author: Alex Bohn

Backstage at Kaviar Gauche.

Mere moments before the actual show is about to start, nothing is quite as planned – not an unusual occurrence in the busy world of fashion. At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week location, the Kaviar Gauche team has to wait three quarters of an hour for its scheduled backstage access – and then make do with a meagre fifteen minutes to prep their Spring/Summer 2013 collection’s catwalk debut. There is simply no way to finish the models’ make-up, hair, dressing and correct runway placement in time. Both designers, however, appear relatively laid-back and relaxed – well, at least they are already dressed for the show. Both sport delicate white blouses and high-waisted, straight-cut and wide-legged black pants as well as tan-coloured heels.

Glistening, brunette tresses vie for attention. So, even if none of their models are ready on time: These two are sure to look great on the catwalk when they take their bow at the end of the show.

© Daniel Mayer

An unconventional start.

Some designers take to the stage in shapeless jeans and used t-shirts to receive their deserved accolades. For them, it is all about the collection’s success. The two women behind Kaviar Gauche, however, expect – and produce – perfection in every aspect. Nothing is left to chance: Ever since their label’s launch in 2004, these two have been taking all their own decisions. For example, while most up-and-coming Berlin designers debut with a comprehensive range of clothes, Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl entered the scene with a carefully curated, high-end bag collection and a ready-to-wear line – and soon made a name for themselves with their trademark key pieces: luxurious handbags fashioned from lamella-shaped leather elements. A wilful and idiosyncratic decision in a city that lacks an obvious audience for luxury goods, yet the right one for this particular pair of 

Berlin-based designers. Kaviar Gauche soon grew in leaps and bounds, established their own clothing line and now even offer a coveted range of bridal wear, including a couture wedding dress studio.

© Daniel Mayer

At the same time, Kaviar Gauche don’t shy away from cooperations, among others with online shopping giant Zalando. At the Mercedes-Fashion Week Berlin, the duo presented these Zalando-bound shoes along with a sneak peek at the cooperation. 

Meanwhile, the models are still in make-up and yet to don their outfits and footwear. It goes without saying that the show’s overall styling concept – including hair and make-up – was also developed by the designers themselves. While others might hire dedicated stylists to plan the right looks and a strong and coherent choreography, Kühl and Fischer-Roehler prefer to rely on their own wits and talents. This season, they fine-tuned their collection’s look and feel right down to the last moment. “Until last week, we thought the looks were too casual, athletic and imbalanced. So, we rearranged and reworked the entire collection accordingly,” adds Johanna Kühl.

© Daniel Mayer

The Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

The label’s range is spread out over three garment racks. Our initial impression: Plenty of dresses, contrasting fabrics, bright flecks of colour. At first glance, it does not look overtly athletic. Some pieces of the collection are cut from laser-perforated black or white leather, adding an edgy touch reminiscent of New York darling Alexander Wang. His fans and clients comprise the tough downtown crowd – and Kaviar Gauche, too, design for strong and self-confident women. Nevertheless, these accents were not inspired by Wang, but by the duo’s own back catalogue.

The new laser-cut patterns, for example, reference the flowery lace employed in a recent collection. And the peplum skirt – available in black nappa leather or a lightweight white fabric version – pays homage to the label’s own trademark item: the lamella bag that started it all.

© Daniel Mayer

Input from the outside.

“We do take inspiration from the outside,” explains Johanna Kühl. “For example, from Christian Stemmler. He is the reason we are so laid-back.” Stemmler works as a stylist. Tall, blond and busy, he bustles around in the backstage area, divides the collection into individual outfits and tells the dressers about potential pitfalls. However, this would not be a bona fide Kaviar Gauche show if they left the entire styling to Stemmler. On the day, he ensures the show’s smooth runnings and take care of the looks’ and show’s overall composition together with the designers.

© Daniel Mayer

Toxic colour schemes.

“My absolute favourite,” states Alexandra Fischer-Roehler, “is the gossamer silk lace wedding dress with its provocative colour scheme.” For their key wedding dress, the label abandoned demure white for a brighter shade of neon or “toxic yellow” as they like to call this standout colour.

© Cathleen Wolf

Perfection right until the end.

Even the show’s soundtrack was picked by the two designers and not compiled by a hired DJ. The songs pay homage to their chosen city with a selection of tracks by Canadian singer and long-time Berlin resident Peaches, French DJane and current Berliner Miss Kittin and – for the grand finale – David Bowie’s seminal “Heroes,” although not in the master’s German version of the song, recorded in pre-unified Berlin. And despite an almost imperceptible delay, the resulting display is a paragon of perfection:

The light gently trailing the models across the catwalk, the twenty-nine looks referencing the designers’ previous work. And, naturally, the immaculately timed stage entry of Kühl and Fischer-Roehler themselves at the end of their coveted show.

© Daniel Mayer

Kaviar Gauche.

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