Exciting, glamourous, creative, but above all: exhausting. It’s a good job Berlin Fashion Week only comes round twice a year! Last week I went from fashion show to trade fair, from after-show party to pre-show fitting, in search of an authentic Fashion Week experience. If you missed the post about my visit to the Premium fashion trade show, which celebrated its 10th birthday this year, then you can catch up here, whilst the exhibitions I mentioned in my Berlin Fashion Week for All post will be running until mid-February. But now it’s time for my Berlin Fashion Week round-up…

Nina Hagen entertaining the crowds at the Bread&Butter opening party

Nina Hagen entertaining the crowds at the Bread&Butter opening party

There were so many opening parties to choose from, but just two which really caught my eye: the “Dandy Diary Squat House” party on Friedrichstraße in Mitte, the official unofficial opening party organised by one of Berlin’s best men’s fashion blogs, or the Bread & Butter opening party at Metropol, a former theatre at Nollendorf Platz. In the end I opted for the latter, slightly tamer party, as did Berlin’s mayor Klaus Wowereit and a number of other prominent guests. Judging by these debauched pictures of the Dandy Diary party I think it’s a good job I did!

Former theatre and cinema Metropol

Former theatre and cinema Metropol

The location and people epitomised the city’s trademark casual chic. Everybody was dancing and mingling. Germany’s legendary “Godmother of Punk” Nina Hagen and the Capital Dance Orchestra got the party going, before handing over to one of Germany’s most famous DJs Sven Väth. This video sums up the night rather nicely.

Bread & Butter opening party January 2013

Bread & Butter opening party, January 2013

But for the designers in particular, Berlin Fashion Week isn’t all VIP parties and free champagne, it’s an important opportunity to win over journalists and buyers with their latest collections. Leandro Cano, winner of the prestigious Designer for Tomorrow award, really impressed me at the last Berlin Fashion Week in July 2012. His outlandish designs, featuring plush leather humpbacks and white knitted onesies, earnt him an extensive support programme, including financial support, his own studio and visits to the Paris and New York studios of the award’s patron Marc Jacobs – and most importantly, his first solo show at the recent Berlin Fashion Week. I was invited along to the final fitting, the day before his big show in the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week tent at the Brandenburg Gate, to watch him make the final preparations.

Designer for Tomorrow award winner Leandro Cano at the final fitting before his solo show

Designer for Tomorrow award winner Leandro Cano at the final fitting before his solo show

One by one, the models were helped into the delicate outfits by the assistants, before Cano made his final adjustments. Then the models walked up and down the room with Cano and team watching to ensure each movement and gesture was just right. I managed to have a few words with he man himself, who was understandably a little distracted, but surprisingly calm. He told me that the most important thing he has learnt from the programme is how to manage the business side of things (I can’t imagine him ever being stuck on the creative side of things!) – how to source high quality materials, manage his budget, stick to a strict schedule…

Designer for Tomorrow award winner Leandro Cano at the final fitting before his solo show

Designer for Tomorrow award winner Leandro Cano at the final fitting before his solo show

…to be continued! Tomorrow I’ll tell you all about Cano’s first solo show in Berlin, what it’s like inside the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week tent at Brandenburg Gate and what two British princesses were up to in Berlin…