Berlin's Kaviar Gauche reveals how opposites attract. By Erin Wylie
The way that Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kuhl, the designers behind Berlin-based Kaviar Gauche, tell it, staging a guerrilla fashion show in front of Colette in 2003 was only natural. Although Kuhl had experience at Martine Sitbon and Vivienne Westwood under her belt, and Fischer-Roehler's graduate collection from the ESMOD Fashion School in Berlin was honored with a sponsored runway show, they felt their options were limited. "It was very hard for an unknown label from Germany to attract attention in Paris," says Kuhl. "So we had no other choice but to do it ourselves." The fact that they relay their rebellious approach with such a blasé attitude mirrors the contradictory meaning behind the label's name; It's an inversion of 'gauche caviar,' a term that refers to jet-setters who like to play with the revolutionary ideas of socialists, but not live by their principles of hard-work and commonality.
Which is not to say that Fischer-Roehler and Kuhl are insincere in their views or designs—they just really enjoy contradiction. Their fall collection plays with texture by juxtaposing matte and shine: Slick satin trims the pockets of a wool coat, lacquer-finished leather strips are fused to cotton tops, and sequined busts add a sexy contrast to a matte silk gown.
The spring collection, which won the New Generation Fashion Award at Berlin Fashion Week, is also preoccupied with nuance. "It's called Pixelromance, and we took inspiration from the opposing themes of nature and technique. The natural side is reflected through elements like scales and flowers, while the technical side comes through in pixels and mirrors," says Kuhl. It's a stunning glamazonian collection of slinky separates bearing swags and pleats that evoke petals and reptilian texture, as well as intricate origami-like puckers that resemble flowers. Meanwhile dark metallics, hardware and mirrored fragments are picked out on dresses to represent the hi-tech hard edge that anchors the feminine silks. It's the harmonious melding of synthetic and organic, couture and simplicity, artifice and nature, proving opposites—where fashion is concerned—really do attract.
Berlin's Kaviar Gauche reveals how opposites attract.