Tillmann Lauterbach's adventures on the dark side. By Jenny Feldman
The Paris-based designer Tillmann Lauterbach has a morbid side. He cites the Pére Lachaise cemetery as one of his favorite hangouts, Goethe's Faust is one of his top books, and he says that his fall collection was about "insanity, especially the hidden things beneath the surface."
"Most of the garments were built to be discovered from the inside. I used raw, common materials for the exterior, and then thin layers of cashmere and silk on the interior," Lauterbach says of his high-waisted pleated trousers, tailored trenches, and softly layered knits—all in a spare, melancholy palette of camel, gray, black, and cream. Similarly, for his spring collection, christened "Departure FF/Our," the 30-year-old Lauterbach addressed the notion of a woman hiding her femininity beneath masculine dress. "It was about a mixture of pain and fear, but also the strength of a new beginning," he says.
While it all sounds very abstract, Lauterbach's line is actually easily absorbed by the eye, and into one's wardrobe—it's even a bit utilitarian in its minimalist aesthetic. "I spend most of my time trying to find the balance between wearability and innovation—translating beauty into common language without losing its magic," he says.
The designer, who was born in Germany but raised on the bohemian island of Ibiza before studying fashion at Esmod College in France, has been showing his women's line in his adopted city for six seasons. This spring, he launched menswear. "It happened by accident," Lauterbach admits; he had been making clothes for himself, when the Maria Luisa men's boutique offered to stock some of the pieces on a consignment basis, and one thing led to another. Still, the womenswear will remain his focus. As he puts it, "I'm thinking about the men's line as a prelude to the women's, and always trying to find new ways to tell a story."
Tillmann Lauterbach's adventures on the dark side.