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Germany

Berlin Fashion Week Ends After Championing the Offbeat

The 3rd Berlin Fashion Week comes to a close Sunday having drawn crowds of spectators and German glitterati galore to celebrate the four-day off-beat spectacle.

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The Michalsky runway boasted a vibrant 2009 spring/summer collection

The edgy creations on show at the clothing extravaganza underscore the vibrant creativity of the booming fashion scene in the German capital, which is now home to some 800 designers.

Leipzig-based label Lac Et Mel, kicked off a whirlwind schedule of shows at the Mercedes Benz fashion-week central Bebelplatz in the heart of Berlin Thursday, with a throwback to the Golden Twenties.

The label's Spring/Summer 2009 collection combined bold, yellow satins and silks, with black jeans and fine cord in a modern-day twist, which served to update classic styles from Berlin's heyday.

A model walks the runway at the presentation of German designer label Lac Et Mel

Eco label Lac Et Mel wowed the audience in Berlin

"I'm so relieved," said the label's designer, Gregor Clemens, after the show as red-lipped models hurried out of gowns amid a crowd of reporters and well-wishers.

Lac Et Mel is the first fashion label worldwide to produce clothing in carbon neutral.

Celebs drawing as much attention as designs

Flashbulbs fired off once again around the attending starlets at Sisi Wasabi's catwalk show with Lucy Diakovska, the star of German band No Angels, and model Eva Padberg, drawing a swarm of photographers to the front row.

Wasabi designer Zerlina von dem Bussche enjoyed several rounds of applause for her luxurious braided silk waistbands adorning elegant culottes and light, flowing dresses worn with classic cropped- jackets.

German two-time Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt

Former skating champion Katarina Witt added extra glitz

Von dem Bussche presented one of several fanciful, full-length evening-gowns on display. The designer's most outlandish creation made a play on a circus tent with an orange-and-white striped balloon-shaped dress taking hide-it-all maternity dresses to another level.

Lac Et Mel, meanwhile, closed their show with a black mourning gown complete with a fitted head scarf and a spacious cape - straight out of a Federico Garcia Lorca play - which a blond model solemnly swept down the runway, flowers in hand.

Subtle is this year's ostentatious

Off piste, there was plenty of action with a smattering of catwalk shows staged across town. In his first outing at fashion week, Joop! chief designer Dirk Schoenberger chose the trendy Wriezener Bahnhof, the site of the old Wriezen-Berlin train terminal, for his Joop! Jeans show and after- show party.

A model walks the runway at the presentation of the spring/summer 2009 collection of German fashion label Unrath and Strano

Subtle? Hmmm...

The Potsdam-based designer also held a showroom at the splendid Hotel de Rome on Babelplatz for his women's wear label, Wunderkind, which unveils its new collection each year in Paris, alongside other German heavyweights, Karl Largerfeld and Bernard Wilhelm.

Sex in the City star Kim Cattrall and British actor Rupert Everett attended the Hugo show at Westhafen in the former West Berlin, while a second home-grown label, Penkov, held its unusual collaborative show with the Royal Porcelain Manufacturers (KPM).

The collection worked jewelry and porcelain into Penkov clothing to create "decorative body armour."

"KPM, with its style consciousness, is a perfect partner for my new collection," said designer Bernadett Penkov.

Arty settings for arty designs

Fledgling label c.neeon meanwhile, chose the perfect spot for its graphic prints and asymmetrical designs at the Kunstgewerbe Museum.

Fashion Week Berlin - Basso & Brooke

Classy and classic met flamboyant and fussy

Bag designer Eastpak, and Anglo/German label Basso & Brooke, staged two of the week's most anticipated shows on Friday when the three-day trade show Premium opened its doors.

Now in its 12th season, Premium, which showcased some 850 designers, saw increased competition this year from a plethora of temporary showrooms all over town.

Proving popular were the Best of Labo Mode showroom at the French department store Galeries Lafayette, and Saskia Dietz's jewelry exhibition at the Pulver Store in Berlin Mitte.

Other designers staging events, included eye-wear house Mykita, which is one of Berlin's best-selling fashion exports.

Fashion school tyros taking first steps

model walks the runway at the showing of the Karstadt New Generation Award

New talent got to show what they could do

Many of the above designers hail from Berlin's nine fashion schools, several of which staged collective shows here, including the Kunsthochschule Weissensee; the Berlin offshoot of the Paris fashion school, Esmod; and the University of Fine Arts where British designer Vivienne Westwood previously taught.

Westwood will close Berlin Fashion Week Sunday with a show from her Anglomania label for younger, more casual customers. This season, her inspiration comes from Greek antiquity.

Leading up to the Westwood finale will be the presentation of new collections from the German luxury label Karen Ly; Belgrade-born accessories queen Slavna Martinovic; and New York-based German designer, Kai Kuhne.

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