A Brave New World: Esther Perbandt Dominates the Runway at Berlin Fashion Week

photos: Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Nowadays. 

When I met Esther Perbandt back in 2010, she was one of the already quite established Berlin Designers that decided to join Designer Scouts – the runway show event at Berlin Fashion Week for avantgarde and upcoming designers that we hosted as a sister project to iHeartBerlin. I was pretty much at the start of my involvement in the creative scene of Berlin and I remember I was especially in awe of those who had already made a name for themselves in the city. I admit that I was a little nervous at first. But Esther was so approachable and kind, there was this instant familiarity that she builds with you that made her so many friends over the years.

Esther was always a bit of a wild child in Berlin. She rarely joined the official runway of Berlin Fashion Week, rather making her own shows and events, in the streets of Berlin, or in one of Berlin’s biggest theaters, the Volksbühne, and one time even as a concert where she performed herself. She never really fit in with the other designers, because her designs were always beyond any current trends or established aesthetics, nor were they particularly compatible with pop culture. Esther has always designed for the type of individuals that want to remain individualistic. She was always bending gender norms and mixing up male and female silhouettes and details – long before genderless fashion became a trend. She always stayed faithful to the avant-garde and artistic side of fashion.


photos: Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Nowadays


Despite her marriage to the color black, her runway show with us back in 2010 actually showed designs in mustard and purple, to my knowledge, this remained one of the very few times she broke her own rule of not using colors in her career of almost two decades. The only other time I can think of was in the later episodes of her run on the design competition show Making the Cut with Heidi Klum back in 2020 where she premiered designs in metallic gold. The participation in this show turned out to be somewhat of a turning point in her career as it pushed her to international fame thanks to being a favorite not only of the viewers of the show but also of the most respectable jury member: Naomi Campbell.

Thanks to the hype around the show, Esther was thriving more than ever, right in the wake of a pandemic that set most creative workers miles back. We loved watching her on the show and seeing how her designs evolved ever since. In an interview we did with her back in that year, she admitted, that the show pushed her outside of her own box and gave her the courage to do things she previously never dared to do.

When I look at the new collection that she presented at Berlin Fashion Week earlier this week in the incredible Kraftwerk I can see a lot of that elevation she went through. Esther is still in that black avantgarde universe, but clearly on another level. She dared to abandon some trusted and familiar silhouettes and recurring details for a more sleek and cosmopolitan look. There is still a lot of her core identity to be found in the collection, but overall I see another level of confidence and openness. It’s like she let go of the rope that guided her in the past decades that she held on to for a long time and now she just floats freely in her black universe and shines even brighter.


photos: Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Nowadays

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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/admin/" target="_self">Frank</a>



Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of iHeartBerlin. He takes photos, makes videos, and writes texts mostly about what's going on in Berlin. His vision and interests have shaped iHeartBerlin since its conception back in 2007 - and he hopes to continue bringing you the best of Berlin for many years to come.