Monday, September 28, 2009




September 22, 2009


Words, Images Judith Ecochard

We thought the sophisticated, very elegant and modern RTW Summer 2010 runway show by Dorothee Schumacher (-Singhoff), celebrating the 20th anniversary of her eponymous label, was the ideal way to start Berlin’s Fashion Week.

Yet, it’s only when we made a sojourn to see the collection at the tastefully, hip Gramercy Park Hotel, did we fully appreciate the clever details, textiles, design flourishes…AND the amazing woman behind this Manheim, Germany based label.

PLUS: Assigned to the nether regions for the show, we didn’t see the shoes at all. Now, we finally got an up close look and tactile-wise experienced those fab accessories too.


Dorothee Schumacher was raised in Düsseldorf, and got her fashion education/training via the high-end Italian and French textile industries.

(Which explains why the exclusive fabrics used in her collections are outstanding, unique to the label…and why “they come to me because we have built a relationship.”).

Returning to Germany in the 80’s ---when women in the work force blended in, wardrobe wise with their male co-workers - Schumacher launched a shirt collection that stood “in pure opposition to the strict business look…to be better men”

“I had the feeling that there was something missing on the market,” she noted.

The contemporary collection grew organically, “with the aim of presenting women as beautiful and multi-facetted figures…an approach to life.”

In a tailored suit, for example, “…it is okay to show off we are different, more interesting, more unforgettable.”


After our wide-ranging chat with the designer on the lushly planted terrace overlooking Gramercy Park…we would say that the soul of this company is truly emblematic of its leading light.

A strong woman, that has “a life’---who travels, works, raises a family (or not), who has a sense of self…and appreciates the “classic femininity and fashionable avant-garde with a heart” of the designs.


The 350 piece collection covers the day to night wardrobe needs of a wide swath of worldly females…from knitwear, blouses, and easy to wear frocks…to plush leather bags, belts, shoes/sandals and travel accessories.

Naturally, the entire lineup was not on display in the hotel suite…but we did see some of our favorite runway ensembles up close casually hung on garment racks…and adorning a model recruited for the occasion.

Our want it now garment is the exquisite gold sequin bodice dress that is a genius top off to a deliciously slouchy cargo style silky bottom, with two oversized pockets that lay perfectly flat.

There is a plethora of hand-crafted in... the “mosaic of contrasts” in shapes and materials.

Hardware elements (silver buckles on a sleeveless top) play off the soft silk of fabric of a tank.

The popular twin sets and jacket pockets are delicately finished at the hems with ribbons .

Hand pleating shapes a scooped neckline.

The decidedly girly bows and amusing butterfly brooches that are a theme throughout the collection--- are ideal foils for the high tech touches.

The soft color palette of “Floral Green, Soft Bleached Blue, Dusty Khaki, Creamy Rose” etc. reminded us of the Arizona desert. But here too, the sparkling metallic sheen from sequins provide extra oomph…

…as does the obvious quality of the luxe napa leathers (cut in a zippered motorbike as well as a wear anywhere blazer), the sensuous feel of the flower printed silks boho tunics, the light as air sheerness of chiffon.

Yes, ladies…this is what one’s pays for.

Silhouette wise, contrasts also play a role…from the casual sportiness of cargo/harem pants, “voluminous dresses with figure flattering belts,” to slimly fashioned skirt suits. Think - the sexy secretary finally earned AND got a promotion.


The butterfly adorned flat strappy sandals and comfy (really) platforms with durable tractor soles attractively finish off any ensemble…including the ‘what we wear all the time’ denim. (Schumacher makes high end jeans too).

Handbags run the gamut…from clutch, to totes and shoulder bags…with tasteful grommets that make the haulers modern…offset with the signature oversized bows.

Mixed materials, contrast stitching, and quality construction are readily apparent. Even to an untrained eye.


European designers have a sensibility…that is slightly different than their counterparts across the Pond. IMHO.

“A women’s soul is international,” Schumacher pointed out to us…in response to our query about sells best, where.

“We all have the same dreams.” And mostly similar wardrobe needs.

“It’s not the age of the woman, but the soul,” Schumacher reiterated when we mused about her customers. “She has life in her heart…freedom and strength too.”

True. The “same piece can be worn any way,” she added ----the tops all work with jeans as well as evening skirts, the materials travel well, and in a nutshell…are “correct and sophisticated…and can be expressed with accessories.”

“If I see someone, I can see her in my clothes.”

And we feel Schumacher’s no nonsense attitude fused with romantic sensibilities spawns a refreshing MO…celebrity dressing is not a priority.

Very European.

Like the late 20’s something Schumacher employee we met who had worked for the company at its German headquarters…and was leaving for South America adventures with her boyfriend.

“It was her decision to travel,” Schumacher proudly pointed out…she (the employee) is a hard worker with her own identity” And clearly the type of gal that is a template for Schumacher designs...including the feminine travel accessories that can be carried in rugged rumpsacks..


We both agree---“Carla
Bruni (-Sarkozy) is a WOW.”



Most of the Spring/Summer collection ships in early winter. Store locations (600+) span the globe, including Takashimaya NYC, Ultimo, Chicago, Lane Crawford, Hong Kong, Jofre, Barcelona, Harrods, London, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Auckland.

See web site for current boutiques and department stores.