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Photography

Helmut Newton is a huge source of inspiration for all fans of fashion and glamour photography. He worked for many years for French Vogue but while his work was celebrated, many of his detractors thought that his erotic, racy and challenging work was shocking, if not pornographic. Recurring themes in Newton’s work are the night and the powerful woman, who is often depicted literally teetering on high heels and is a trademark of his pictures.

Juergen Teller has a raw, highly personal and slightly overexposed style of photography. He refuses to separate his personal, autobiographical work from his commercial photography, often resulting in pictures that include him in the shot, standing beside or behind the model, as though it was a casually captured moment in his life. Teller shot campaigns for designer Marc Jacobs – featuring, among others, the director Sofia Coppola and actor Charlotte Rampling in the lead roles –, Céline and Vivienne Westwood and caused a sensation with his work for publications such as W Magazine, Self Service and i-D.

 

 

Fashion

Jil Sander started her own label in 1973 after a short career as a fashion journalist. One of her first shows – at the Plaza Athénée, Paris, in 1975 – had a very lukewarm reception but that didn’t deter Sander. By the ‘80s and ‘90s, the label had become famous for its minimalist, clean aesthetic and brilliant basics. In July 1999, her company was acquired by the Prada group and six months later, Sander left due to a difference in vision. This led to a dramatic plunge in revenue. After returning twice, Jil Sander now works for, among others, the Japanese textile giant Uniqlo, which means that fans of her chic minimalist style can still buy Jil Sander but at a fraction of the price.

Leyla Piedayesh Leyla Piedayesh, founder of the label Lala Berlin (since 2004) is a relative newcomer. Piedayesh started out offering colourful knitted accessories but quickly expanded into a label with a complete fashion collection. Her designs stand out for their use of natural yarns and innovative combinations of different materials. The famous German fashion journalist Suzy Menkes describes it thus: “Over and over again, Lala Berlin delivers ephemeral, anarchistic urban chic in a fresh way with unconventional yet elegant and feminine collections.” From an international perspective, Lala Berlin embodies exactly what the city of Berlin is: free, unorthodox and cool, cool, cool. One to watch.

 

 

Architecture

Architect and furniture designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was known for his clear, measured forms and use of glass, stone and steel. His chunky and slightly staccato style is characterised by straight lines and ingenious corner solutions. You can discern his minimalist motto ‘Less is more’ – yes, that’s where the saying comes from – in his designs: pared back to the essential and in perfect proportions. Van der Rohe’s designs were architecturally sound and celebrated, but not every client was satisfied: the glass and steel used could expand unevenly, leading to leaks that could not be fixed. In 1930, Van der Rohe became director of Bauhaus, the institution for training visual artists, architects and craftspeople, which was based on Walter Gropius’ ideas about form and function. Architecture was supposed to have a social impact: someone living in a bright and sunny, spacious home free of clutter would naturally find more peace and happiness. When he left Germany in 1938 emigrated to the US, Van der Rohe remained true to the Bauhaus ideals. The Bauhaus museum in Berlin offers a fantastic insight into this modernist style.

 

 

Bruderliebe

Once upon a time, unconditional love reigned between the brothers Adolph (Adi for short) and Rudolph (also affectionately known as Rudi) Dassler. In the 1920s, they were partners in the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, a sports’ shoe company. Adi was the shoemaker and his older brother the extrovert salesman. The company flourished, particularly when Dassler sponsored the African American athlete Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games wearing Dassler shoes. An amazing victory for the Dassler company, but the relationship between the brothers was strained. An epic family feud involving all sorts of treachery led in the end to a break between the brothers and a division of the company in 1948: Adolph renamed his half of the company Adidas, a combination of the first three letters of both his first and last name, and Rudolf named his Ruda at first, only to change it later to the more sporty sounding Puma. Both Puma and Adidas are major international sportswear manufacturers. Puma recently attracted pop star Rihanna to design her own Fenty by Puma line, while Adidas grabbed media attention with its Superstars by Pharrell in 50 different colours.

 

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