We spoke to designer Itamar Zechoval, this year’s curator of Bikini Berlin’s “Look of Fashion Week” about his career, the German capital and what he loves about Fashion Week.
How did you get into fashion and design?
Here in Berlin I started out as a fashion designer creating collections and customised orders, mainly for singers and performance artists such as Bela B., Marius Müller Westernhagen and Marilyn Manson in L.A. Over the years, my work became more and more individual with a focus on creations ordered on request. In addition to pure fashion outfits, I began creating more costumes, for theatres or musicians – outfits for the entire stage crews. I create mini customised collections, not just single shirts or jackets. I am also working more for the film and music industry. I create film costumes, am responsible for entire shows, advise film projects and design sets for video clips.
What makes Berlin, as the location of your atelier, so special for you?
Berlin is pretty versatile. There are so many things you can do here, from artistic work to fashion business projects. There’s a lot of freedom and it’s okay to do things in a certain rhythm, a different rhythm to the one I know from my years in Milan or Shanghai. The city is very comfortable so there is no constant pressure. The only thing is: you need to be very disciplined and self-motivated. In Milan or Paris, the first thing people ask is what you do for a living, but people here aren’t really bothered. But you need to be progressive to name your brand and achieve success. You need to set your own goals. But that’s an advantage in this disadvantage here: it’s all in your own hands. At the end of the day, fashion is a business (with a lot of processes like the construction of a collection and its promotion and you need to work hard on this).
So let’s talk about your “Look of Fashion Week”: what made you choose these pieces in particular? What was your inspiration behind these items?
It’s all in the mix! I really like structured clothes so I took this very structured vest. It felt very studied but also very extravagant, it’s like a combination of a corset and a vest, I love the cut. And then, taking inspiration from Berlin, I found a pair of leggings with paint splashes on them and super heavy boots to add another contrast. It’s a reflection of my personal taste, which is very constructed, and the weather in Berlin – when I had to choose the shoes I wanted something furry and warm. And, as a small accessory, a clutch which, in contrast to these heavy boots, is very feminine. So it’s a bit of a crazy mix I have chosen.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
In the past it was always either fashion design or creative works for films and music. Now it is both – I do not want to decide between the two, I want to do both. For me 2017 will be really exciting because I will be able to see my projects for the film and music industry growing and I hope the mixture between all genres will be great and versatile.
And for Fashion Week? What is your personal highlight?
What I love during Fashion Week are the exciting people who flock to Berlin and can be spotted on the streets and in restaurants, especially in Berlin-Mitte where I live. Everyone really dresses up to the nines – it’s like a big playground and a whole lot of fun. Berlin is not that serious in many aspects, which is very charming. They all come here for the same reason, to get inspiration, to be part of this special fashion hub here in Berlin. It’s a kind of get-together of different but like-minded people who share the same interests. There is a very creative and special atmosphere in the city. I really love it.
Itamar, many thanks for the lovely chat. And for your styling of the “Look of Fashion Week”, which our readers can come and see until Saturday. Great work!