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Culture

Fashionistas wilt in sweltering Berlin during Fashion Week

This season, Berlin Fashion Week has to compete with the FIFA World Cup. But as DW's Susan Stone found out, there's plenty of rivalry at the show, with guests scrambling for free stuff and designers vying for attention.

A model wears a creation by Austrian fashion designer Lena Hoschek as part of her Spring/Summer 2011 collection presented at the 2010 Berlin Fashion Week

A new view, after nearly a month of shin guard-clad legs

Berlin Fashion Week officially lasts 4 days, but it sometimes it feels like a month. The fledgling event, which celebrates its third birthday this summer, is crammed full of on- and off-site runway shows, parties, presentations, trade shows, concerts, and - even models on bikes!

From internationally known names like Boss Black, Calvin Klein, and G-Star to local favorites including Kaviar Gauche, Esther Perbant and Lala Berlin, there's plenty to see.

And there's star watching too - celebrities including Zoe Saldana, Diane Kruger, Milla Jovovich, and Boris Becker are on hand for the festivities.

But just because the guests look good doesn't mean they're all well behaved.

Unfortunately, pushing, shoving, and stepping on toes can happen to the best of us. Many designers kindly treat guests to a "goodie bag" or other gift - sometimes a notebook, sometimes a tote-bag, and on occasion truly odd or generous items like boxing gloves, a porcelain coffee cup, or silver jewelry.

The swag is often confined to just the first row or two, leading to some bag-jacking. Last year at the show of one designer (who will remain nameless), third row guests grabbed first-row gifts (a brand-name hair-styling appliance) and covertly shoved them into bags and under seats, sometimes nabbing two for themselves!

At least there's plenty of free water, energy drinks, and beer to go around.

Models with bicycles show creations from the label Reality Studio at the 2010 Berlin Fashion Week

Models on bikes stage an impromptu fashion show for the label Reality Studio

Sweaty stilettos and smeared mascara

With sweltering temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius predicted for the end of the week, Berlin starts to droop.

"It's not so good for photos," confided one street style blogger, noting that sweaty fashionistas don't make for the freshest of images.

Funnily enough, the official Fashion Week bag given to accredited journalists include a box of fabric underarm clothing protector shields - a decidedly unglamorous but practical addition to hairspray and a mini cocktail shaker.

Still, a few fashionistas managed to wear opaque black tights with their trendy clogs, long sleeve silk blouses and elegant trousers without passing out in the heat.

Photographers at the 2010 Berlin Fashion Week

The press was welcomed with useful perks - like underarm sweat protectors

Competition from the pitch

As if an overbooked schedule and steamy weather wasn't enough, the FIFA World Cup is also vying for our attentions, with the final and third place games taking place this weekend.

Trade show Bread & Butter is playing to the crowd, offering up an outdoor stadium-style grandstand for 3,000 viewers, complete with a 60-square-meter television screen, and - of course - lots of beer.

The semi-final match between Germany and Spain took place on the opening night of Fashion Week. It's tempting to imagine a similar head to head from the catwalk - Custo Barcelona against Boss Black, perhaps?

Designer Guido Maria Kretschmer, whose label is appropriately based in Muenster (Germany) and Mallorca (Spain), presented the perhaps presciently titled collection "Dancing With Myself" right before kick-off. But German efficiency insured that the models left the catwalk before the players hit the field.

Off site, it was World Cup versus the World of Calvin Klein, as guests at the designer's perfectly produced party and presentation turned their backs on underwear models (some sans underwear) to watch the game.

Later, those rooting for the home team could drown their sorrows and party until dawn. One Berlin journalist remarked as the game ended, "Now we can concentrate on fashion for the rest of the week!"

The World of Calvin Klein at the 2010 Berlin Fashion Week

Pitch or catwalk? For some, an easy choice

Author: Susan Stone

Editor: Kate Bowen

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