Kathrin von Rechenberg for The Opposite House, Beijing

April 11, 2012

German designer Kathrin von Rechenberg has been in Beijing for over a decade, devoting her time and efforts to her eponymous label Rechenberg Couture. The distinct style of the designer plays with light and shadow, fine fabrics and a range of textures and adaptable designs.

What were the challenges to design the uniform for our Guest Experience team? As you work primarily with tea silk, you had to tailor the design and form to uniforms, how did you adapt your style and designs?

Actually, we did all the details in tea silk. The band ties are made of tea silk, and they can be washed and are not that delicate that they have to be dry cleaned. The colour of tea silk will change over time, the browns get darker and the blacks can get shinier or washed out. It changes alot over time, a little like leather, the age changes it.

Where did you get your inspiration from?
The style is primarily my style. I was briefed that it had to be practical and a one piece dress, it had to have big pockets and the rest of it was up to my creativity.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s through the forms and fabric, the textures and how they fall. It’s like making my own wardrobe with each collection and commission, and I’m inspired by creating outfits that I like to wear. My ideas spring internally, but of course I’m always influenced by what I see. My style doesn’t change much with the forms, but of course I also move with the fashion.

My father was a sculptor, so for me it was always interesting to transfer the two dimensional to the three dimensional and it’s always interesting to see how the line changes. Simple lines and how it drapes over the body. A straight line seen from different angles, completely changes the shape and visual.

So, what made you decide to come to China?
It was the tea silk. When I was still in Paris, I worked several times in Taiwan and there was a fashion designer who worked alot with tea silk and that’s when I first discovered tea silk. I went to Hong Kong several times before and bought my first pieces of tea silk and then I went to Beijing. I felt a kind of joy to do something here in Beijing, the creative vibe and the possibilities. You design a few things and you have a tailor to have it done. It’s much more difficult and complicated to start your own business in Paris for example. I’ve been here for 11 years and it seemed to me much easier to start up in Beijing.

What do you think about the Chinese fashion scene?
Everything goes very fast fashion in China and at the moment this period about the international brand craze is also soon going to past. Even my clients (both local and expats) go more for exclusivity, bespoke designs. We are doing commissioned pieces, and yes we also do wedding dresses as well as special designs for clients.

Would you say there’s alot of competition doing fashion design in Beijing?
Most designers here doing alot of evening dresses and not many of them do day wear too like I do. Of course there’s always competition. For my designs, you can wear the outfits in many different ways. For evening dresses, there’s alot more fancy details involved, and it has to look good from far with the glitter and elaborate details.

About Kathrin von Rechenberg:
Kathrin von Rechenberg came to China after finishing her training at the famous fashion design school Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris and has worked in various Haute Couture houses in Paris. In search of an original fabric for her creations, she discovered tea silk, which fascinated her because of its quality and how comfortable it is to wear. In her designs, she also uses fine natural fabrics sourced in China and Europe.

Rechenberg pret a porter designs and collections are available in Beijing and selected stores in Germany and the USA.

Rechenberg Atelier
Xinyuanxili Dongjie, yard behind building Nr.12
100027 Beijing, V.R China
Tel: +86 10 6463 1788

Interview and content by Juliana Loh, Social Media Manager, Swire Hotels and editor-in-chief of the blog who was recently in Beijing. Follow her tweets: @bilbaobab or 微博 @julianaloh

#chinese tea silk, #fashion design, #kathrin rechenberg, #the opposite house beijing, #uniform
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