Screaming alarm at Fashion Week Berlin: the guest administration port

For anyone who in these wild times would like to concentrate for a few moments on a light spectacle that is quite insignificant in the overall historical context, Fashion Week is finally back in Berlin. The fashion circus is making a guest appearance in the capital, and after a few seasons as a Covid-limited miniature Wonderland edition, is once again attracting self-proclaimed fashion bloggers and the D-celebrity elite to its front ranks. Basically, Fashion Week Berlin is the jungle camp for anyone who can pronounce haute couture correctly. And that’s why I’m right in the middle of it.

This column represents Marie von den Benken’s point of view. Find out how our editors handle opinions in texts.

The winter fashion week, which is still young, starts for the first time without its long-standing main sponsor, an automotive group from Stuttgart. As a car manufacturer, you did not have any particular influence on the level of the collections anyway, so the bleeding did not have any particularly noticeable effect. Well, in day-to-day business, there is no longer a car logo on every serving, every FFP2 mask and every coffee mug, and there are no longer monstrous SUVs parked all over town, seemingly in the names of Instagram and TikTok influencers. selected by random generators are printed. In the past, supermodels or stars could suffer Madonna at the fashion events on the Spree, one is already happy today if at least the third guard GZSZ actors make it to the catwalk.

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Hey man, where’s my car?

Oh yes, yes: the withdrawal of the traditional car brand has a visible effect. Fashion Week is losing its traditional base location. Until now, the main sponsor had always provided a more or less spectacular main location, where the majority of the designer shows took place. Over the years, Modeugen has made guest appearances in white tents on Bebelplatz, in the Erika Hess Eisstadion, in the Jandorf department store, in the E-Werk, in the power plant and most recently in the telegraph office. The designers, who do not want or cannot provide their own location for a largely 10-minute fashion show, suddenly find themselves without a framework. This is possibly also the reason why some veterans of Berlin Fashion Week do not throw themselves into the hustle and bustle of fashion week with their own shows here in January. Marina Hoermanseder, Dawid Tomaszewski, Sportalm or Michael Michalsky – just to name a few.

Other local patriots from Berlin Fashion Week, on the other hand, handled the location shock better and used the new situation for a fashion joint venture, which in principle was not at all unreasonable. The designers Rebekka Ruétz, Marcel Ostertag, Killian Kerner and Danny Reinke have come together, “put their egos back” and created a kind of temporary base camp for fashion addicts in Bolle Festsäle. They offer an interesting space, a chilled, lounge-like atmosphere before and between shows and truly remarkable new creations on the catwalk – but unfortunately also disastrous guest management.

Don’t blame Rebekka Ruétz, Marcel Ostertag, Kilian Kerner or Danny Reinke – a very important note at this point. At such large events, agencies that specialize in this are tasked with inviting the guests, recording the confirmations and, above all, the access control on the day of the event itself. In the case of “W.E4.”, as the four fashion musketeers call themselves this season, the wrong horse was unfortunately spectacularly backed. I have experienced several fashion weeks in Paris, London, Milan, New York and Berlin in recent years. The admission of the guests works sometimes smoothly, sometimes stuttering, sometimes quite underground – but nowhere has there ever been such chaotic, incompetent and at the same time remarkably unfriendly guest management as on “W.E4.”.

The one who shouts is always right

As a little appetizer, and for my take on the guest lead on “W.E4.” also to be backed up with a few facts, here’s a brief look at the highlights. First things first: I personally had no problem watching all the shows. So it is not my intention to be angry about not being allowed into a place. I am merely reporting what I had to experience at the site as I had already gained access to the site. First “W.E4.” day much later. However, this is normal at fashion week. In this case, however, the recording for the first show in the morning started with a delay of almost an hour. Lucky for “W.E4.” that Berlin was quite cold, but at least dry. If it had rained, almost 50 percent of the guests would probably have left to be on the safe side. Presenting the painstakingly put together outfits in “Drown Poodle” mode on the red carpet to legions of photographers would have triggered jet lag in many a fashion junkie.

Up in front of the event area, where you register at the counters to enter the famous circle of show guests, there is support. That too: nothing unusual in the jungle of fashion week appointments. However, the handling of the situation is already starting to become something, shall we say, remarkable. Due to the long waiting time, there is a lot of dissatisfaction and questions from many guests. These inquiries will not be answered. Communication is more along the lines of: “Yes, you’ve been waiting an hour now, but I’ve been here since six in the morning”.

It becomes unpleasant when some list errors are revealed. In the interior, you can hear at every corner that someone has stormed off in annoyance because, despite an official invitation, which he was able to document by e-mail on his mobile phone, he was not allowed access. I get a similar feeling later in the backstage area, which is why I can’t keep an appointment with Kilian Kerner. When a few of my friends who are personal guests of a designer, and whose girlfriends even attend one of the shows, are said not to be on the list, I try to mediate politely. I point out to the lady who seems to be in charge of the listing team that the guys have a personal invitation from the designer with them, that they can call the designer’s cell phone number at any time, or that a quick, short inquiry to the designer’s team will solve the case within seconds would.

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The interlocutor, obviously not only overwhelmed by the overall situation, but also on the verge of a self-inflicted nervous breakdown, responds with a, let’s say friendly, rather loud tutorial that she would hear this story 100 times per day. day and that she couldn’t care less about nonsense. Just between us: She didn’t say “nonsense”. Her vocabulary came from the fecal language box. Having hinted a few times I can vividly imagine there are countless smart chicks out there who think they can sneak in with the story of being the boss’s nephew or the designer’s girlfriend. In this case, however, the authenticity of the statement could be immediately determined via several pieces of evidence if one would only listen for ten seconds with less noise.

I get another profanity-soaked lecture along with the advice on trolling. At the same time, a security officer will be appointed to check that I even have a valid entry permit and to ensure that I am not talking to other official guest leaders. In this screaming scenario, a well-known author suddenly stands by my side and kindly advises the lady that she should consider whether it is really appropriate to call out guests in public. However, this escalates the situation. The lady apparently in charge of guest administration is now screaming in rage. Phrases like “I don’t need mansplaining now” gnaw at the otherwise beautiful mornings. Yes, I interrupt the conversation and note that the lack of skilled workers, which is currently being discussed so prominently in the media, has now also reached the service area “guest management”.

The described episode is of course only a marginal phenomenon and in no way detracts from the grandiose new collections and the brave idea of ​​Rebekka Ruétz, Marcel Ostertag, Kilian Kerner and Danny Reinke to call themselves “W.E4.” to do together. Unfortunately, it also shows: No matter how amazing your new collection is – if you’re unlucky enough to have the wrong service providers for processes that are actually completely natural, then things that otherwise go along with your big show day without a sound suddenly ruin the overall mood of your guests. And that without you being able to do anything about it – and in case of doubt even without you noticing it. Anyway, I really hope that Rebekka Ruétz, Marcel Ostertag, Kilian Kerner and Danny Reinke with “W.E4.” return to fashion week in the summer. Ultimately, I don’t care about guest management. One thing is clear: without these four luminaries from the fashion week in Berlin, the fashion week is really over. You can even survive the departure of major sponsors – but not when the country’s most interesting designers give up. So I’m looking forward to summer. And next week it’s also about Hubert Aiwanger, Boris Poistorius and Juli Zeh. Promised!

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