Schumacher opened her winter 2012 show with a bright red suit, followed by models sporting turquoise and orange dresses and tan, go-go boots. The established German designer, who released her first collection in 1989, is known as a maker of feminine, neutral-toned clothes for businesswomen.
But she threw audiences a wild card with her new collection, sending sassy models striding out in a 1960s and 1970s inspired items overflowing with eye-popping colors. Models sported floppy, oversized felt hats more reminiscent of summer than winter, but wore colorful striped scarves – and one made of fur – that flowed for a yard (meter) behind them on the catwalk.
The collection also featured cropped houndstooth jackets, cable-knit sweaters that cut off right below the bust, and one forest green, patent leather jacket. Schumacher cited 70s pop icon Bianca Jagger as the inspiration for her "rebellious" collection and "neo-pop colors." Emerging Polish designer Dawid Tomaszewski opted for a more muted, nature-inspired approach. His show was presented to the sounds of pouring rain and thunder, while overhead lights flickered like lightning.
Tomaszewski’s models wore entirely neutral colors – gray, steel blue, and beige. One presented a strapless steel blue silk dress with lush, moss-like material around the chest. Several sported pillbox hats made of brown fowl feathers.
The Berlin event, which runs through Saturday, focuses on highlighting young designers who compete for attention with big names in New York or Paris. But it still attracts some large labels – Schumacher, Escada and Hugo Boss among them.