When you think back to the 1920s Berlin pretty much had a reputation for debauchery. For decades the world thought of Berlin as this sexually free and wild place where everything is possible and no phantasy was forbidden. But the time of the separation of the city changed things. Other things were more important to rebel against. There was still always a highly sexualized underground scene, but it was not really in the center of attention anymore.
In recent years this changed. Nightlife in Berlin is embracing its wild, naughty and sexually liberating side again with parties such as Pornceptual, Gegen and The House of Red Door. Debauchery is back and more excessive and scandalous than ever!
The Lollapalooza festival had its second Berlin edition this past weekend and it was quite spectacular. I hadn’t been to the one last year in Tempelhof, but this year there were a few acts that I didn’t want to miss so I took Absolut up on their invitation to join them, and I’m so glad I did.
This was probably the biggest festival I have ever been to (I admit I haven’t been to that many) and being surrounded by that many celebrating people is quite the thrill. Especially at the two main stages the crowd was so massive and to see them move and cheer with the performances is really powerful.
Between concerts I checked in with Absolut as often as I could. They had a big set-up that was part of the Fun Fair of Lollapalooza, which was a big playground to hang out in and goof around between installations and vintage circus tents.
Last week we had the pleasure to experience the launch of the brand new Men’s Magazine by AXE at the temporary AXE Kiosk in Neukölln. With the event AXE fully embraced the style of the district and made the party inside (and of course in front of) a Späti. Instead of a fancy bar you could just get your drinks from the coolers, and instead of a fancy flying buffet they had typical Späti candy and what we Germans like to call “Stullen”.
The event also brought together a lot of the creative people involved in making the magazine: Albino model Shawn Ross came over from New York, Dressedlikemachines blogger Willy Iffland who is one of the cover models, as well as best-selling author Michael Nast. The magazine is exactly about these type of guys, those that do their own thing no matter what, and you will see photo stories, portraits and interviews with them and a couple more.
Calling the world of fashion a circus if actually not at all farfetched. When you walk into the arena with your outfit on fleek it’s all about the ohs and wows, making an impression that lingers longer than a brief glance, surprising the unsurprisable and in the best case make the people smile. Yes, if a design manages people to feel something, regardless what, it has fulfilled an important purpose. It’s here where fashion transcends what is beautiful to something more meaningful. And that’s glory of it.
A while ago I met up with Hungry, a Berlin character so mesmerizing and iconic that s/he has become a fashion statement her/himself. Together we created this photo series for you guys to draw your attention to the Vogue Fashion Night Out special “Night Circus” at Bikini Berlin that happened in September 2016 and turned the whole place into a fashion circus extravaganza full of surprises and special guests such as star photographer Joachim Baldauf, the rising star of Berlin fashion Marina Hoermanseder and tattoo queen Myra Brodsky.
But in the course of our little photo shoot we realized we interfered much more with our surroundings than we anticipated…
The countdown has begun: In just a few days – from September 2nd till 4th to be exact – the new Bread&Butter by Zalando is happening at Arena Berlin. The consumer trend show has the theme “NOW” this year and will be celebrating what is hot in fashion, music and food. Have a look at the program and line-up now to get an idea.
The Bread&Butter has quite a long and diverse history. It started off in Cologne in 2003, but then moved to Berlin and later Barcelona for a while where it rose to international fame, before returning to Berlin to become one of the major events of Berlin Fashion Week. But as many of you have probably noticed it stopped happening a couple of seasons ago. But this was not the end, it was a necessary period of transition and reinvention. Now it’s back, rising like a phoenix from the ashes and everything is different! What happened? And why should we care? Here’s the break-down..
photo: Denis Koone Kuhnert
Berlin is dynamic, Berlin loves to dance and Berlin loves to Vogue. So it comes as no surprise that the Voguing scene of Berlin is becoming more and more popular.
Originally from New York’s queer scene, Voguing is inspired by fashion runways. Exaggerated movements are being turned into fierce, strong, overacted self-presentations. The participants of the scene divide themselves into different “houses”, which are more of a family substitute than just a dance crew.
photos: Chris Phillips for Pornceptual
Pornceptual – “That’s a party? With that kinda name? In Berlin? – Oh Gosh!” – I know plenty of people who would already pass just knowing these banal facts; driven by an opinion, formed by nothing more but hearsay. Fetish, leather, sex, queers, techno, darkness; the associations are clear. I, on the other hand, seem to be constantly driven by an insatiable fascination for everything that’s outrageous. So, I went, more spontaneous, than elaborately planned. Well, I got everything mentioned above – yet still, my first Pornceptual was far from what I expected. One night in between naked skin, electronic beats and sexual liberation made me philosophize about what’s queer, what’s compliant and that weird thing called “normal”.
“And what piece of clothing are you gonna take off today?”, the skinny bouncer asked, a crooked smile on his face. His outfit consisted of an old Soviet uniform – without anything down below, of course, just tight leather hot pants. I looked around; the line behind me appeared like a collection of bizarre characters. I already felt very entertained by this; Berlin, just like you’d imagine it. Admittedly, at first I had to realize that I was not truly a newbie to this world. I am queer, I have been to many queer parties – but a party that is this kinky and sex oriented was still on the to-do-list. The facial expression of one of my friends reminded me of how deeply this Berlin party scene has already influenced me. While I was showing a broad smile, her face said something like: “What the fuck am I getting myself into?”
When I first arrived in Berlin a little over a year ago I knew I would encounter plenty of cultural shock. I had no idea, however, that dating in Berlin would be a 9 on the damn Richter scale. My current self wishes she could have warned her past self to brace herself. I was in for a shake up.
The first time I went out in Berlin, I came home feeling convinced that something was seriously wrong with me. No one tried to hit on me the whole night (or so I thought.) Could they smell the American on me? Was I not wearing enough black? Were my dance moves not robotic enough?
Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some positive sides to being a female at a Berlin nightclub. Chances are your butt won’t be groped, your drink won’t be spiked (because having a drink bought for you is highly unlikely), and you won’t have to listen to cheesy pickup lines such as, “would you like some fries with that shake?”— (yes, someone has actually muttered these words to me.) I can’t speak for other nightlife around the world, but going out as a female in the US means you’ll likely spend the majority of the night deflecting unwanted attention. I had normalized this behavior so much that when I didn’t have it, I started to wonder if something was wrong with me.
White hair, a long beard shaking to the beat. Attached to it: A man dancing to techno music, making bubbles, glowing with good energy. This is Komet Bernhard, a living legend in Berlin. If you’ve been out and about the last years in Berlin, you must have heard of him or seen him by now. Like a nightlife mascot (and I mean this in the best way possible) Bernhard is always there, where you wouldn’t expect him, dancing amidst youngsters, having the time of his life. Often, in the gloom of nighttime party banter, it’s not possible to get to know the person behind a glimpse of what you might grasp.
Which is why the makers of freshmilk decided to get to know the raving legend a bit better: In a 25 min documentary. Starting in his apartment of 13 years, the filmmakers follow Bernhard through one of his many wanderings through Berlin by night. And get to know him more with every step.
You can tell: The world is a big wonder for the 67 year old, who seems to have kept a youthful mind and big eyes: “I am dancing for my life – If I wouldn’t dance, I wouldn’t be here anymore” says Komet Bernhard. And in this documentary you might just find out why.
For the collaboration between Spanish sparkling wine brand Freixenet and Michael Michalsky, we were invited to visit the studio and working space of the famous Berlin-based designer.
Sitting around in comfortable couches (also designed by him) we were introduced to his newest collaboration with the Cava brand. Freixenet is a family-run business rooted near Barcelona. One of its best selling products, the Carta Nevada, that is now celebrating its 75th anniversary. For the occasion Michael Michalsky was commissioned to redesign the bottle of their anniversary edition: A slick and modern look for a classic brand. If you want to know more about this collaboration, read on after the jump.