c.neeon are so quintessentially Berlin in that they are able to capture the eclectic, adventurous and slightly out-there vibe of this city. Their unique collections, always awash in bold colours and interesting patterns, have won high praise and numerous awards. We're very excited to have both designers - Clara Leskovar and Doreen Schulz - participate in our Designer Interview.

Paper-Doll: How did you get into fashion design?
Doreen: I`m from East Thuringia, just a few kilometers from the Bavarian border former eastern Germany. In our house there was a sort of daily improvisation. We improvised with clothing for instance. I barely had any store-bought clothes; my mother sewed a lot of them herself. Very early I came in contact with tailoring, with textiles and clothes. I really liked that from the very beginning.
Clara: When I started studying textile design at Weissensee I was open minded. I really liked surface design, colours and patterns. But we often did only very small pieces, for instance papers or woven materials. Truly finished products were rarely created - for example to fit something for a specific body. Then I got to know Doreen and we realized quickly that we worked together very well and I got more and more interested in fashion, too.

What is the first thing you designed (personally or professionally)?
D: I´m not sure, but i think it was a carnival-dress when I was nine or ten. But I don´t know if this was design…

When did you launch your own label?
D: The foundation of the label ‚c.neeon‘ was in march 2004.

What inspires you / your work?
C: We are quite influenced by the architecture and fine arts from the Bauhaus era, but also from the Viennese Workshops and Art Deco or Russian Constructivism. And we like also the artwork of Sonia Delaunay-Terk, because of her nice color patterns. Also music is quite important for c.neeon for image building, especially on fashion shows. Our frist collection was called 'Daydream Nation' which is the title of an album of Sonic Youth or we used a song by the UK-indie-band Pulp.
Describe your SS’10 Collection.
The summer collection is called ‚Marble Dust’. The colours are intensive but seem to be overlayed with dust. The prints use colours like a shimmering or turquoise as well as yellow or red which seem to be fractured through the sunlight. These colours contrast to a dark violet. The patterns are printed on thin cotton-voiles, silk-chiffons and cotton-popeline. The cuttings work with the geometric quadrat and folder technique.

What is your favourite piece from your SS’10 Collection?
C: The dress “Satanique”. It comprises of thin cotton-voile and you can tie it up at your waist.

Did you have a personal soundtrack or a favourite album that you listened to while working on SS’10?
D: The soundtrack of “The Darjeeling Limited” by Wes Anderson I heard a lot during that time.

What area of your work do you enjoy the most?
C: Of course the design process! To choose the colours, to design the patterns, making the prints for the fabrics – these are the things we really enjoy. Unfortunately it´s only a small part of our work, but to keep these things always in mind that´s what makes everything else acceptable.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
D: The production-part is the most difficult aspect. Of course it´s not easy to develop a new collection but these things are always fun like Clara mentioned before. The production process depends on so many things and especially different persons you always have to rely on.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened to you as a designer?
D: To win the Grand Prix in Hyères at the Fashion Festival 2005.
C: Usually the winners of 'Hyères' do more feminine clothes, but our collection was more causal.
D: We presented our winter collection with strong colours at that time. All models were coated in a lot of textile fabrics. So we were quite the opposite of feminine fashion. At the end we were totally overwhelmed that the jury voted for us.
C: It was the 20th anniversary of the competition and the winners were not French, but German! Usually high quality fashion comes from Belgium, France or England, so we did not expect anything. It was so great.
D: A lot of things have changed since Hyères. We are invited to festivals and have more possibilities to cooperate with other companys. We will always appreciate that.
If you could collaborate with any designer / artist / musician / etc. on a single project, who would it be and what would you do?
C: We would really like experience with interior design/designers. I studied textile and interior design and for this reason it would be fascinating to combine our work with the interior design.

If you could design a wardrobe for any one person (past/present/real/fictional), who would it be?
D: It would be fascinating to design a show costume for David Bowie during the seventies…

How would you describe your own personal style?
D: Most of the time we wear c.neeon. We design everything first of all for ourselves which means we want to like our garments. But of course we really hope that these garments find their way to the market. We like to wear colourful clothes for ourselves and Berlin is really a grey city for many months a year. So it´s really nice to set something like a counterpoint with colurful clothes.
What is your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?
C: In the moment I like a transparent but colourful tiered skirt from our summer collection ‚local foreigner’ but my taste changes often...
D: I´m pregnant, already in the ninth month. For this reason I prefer comfortable clothes now! But of course I´m really looking forward to wearing my prefered clothes again.

Where do you shop for clothes when you're not wearing your own?
In Berlin we have a very nice little shop in the ‚Mitte’ district. It´s called „Konk“ and sells above all Berlin designers.

What fashion trend would you not be caught dead in?
C: We would never deal with fur.

What is the one item that every woman should have in her closet?
A difficult question. The world is too different to force women to have a specific garment in their closet.
What is your favourite thing about the city you live in?
To begin with an ugly detail we have to say that winters like this winter are really cold, grey and long in Berlin. So it´s very nice when these winters end and you can go out out to the beatiful parks and woods. Berlin is a very green city this is what we really like here.

If you couldn’t be a fashion designer, what other area of interest would you like to explore?
C: We would really enjoy it to experience with interior design I mentioned already. It´s difficult for me to think about anything totally different. Probably the work has to find it´s way to me than I would choose something new in the moment.

What is next for your label?
We always work and plan in small steps, so in the moment we are preparing the showroom for the autumn/ winter collection in New York, Paris and Tokyo. In April we start to work as Fashionteachers at an Art College.

Visit: c.neeon
I love these bold hand beaded pieces by Brokenfab.
Beautiful brass necklace by Hanna Sandin for her jewelry line SAMMA. Available @ Gargyle.
I'll admit to having a soft spot for any label with Arthur Russell playing on their home page. When I got an email from Torres + Bigolin about the FW'10 campaign they shot for Argentinian label The Beautiful Ones, I was happy to learn that brother and sister team Lisandro and Augustina Rodriguez' good taste goes beyond music. The upcoming collection has a confident laid back vibe that I love.
I'm always a sucker for draped jersey, but lately sheer panels and leather have also been etching out a place in my heart. So, I was happy to be introduced to Under.Ligne FW'10, a collection filled with all my favourite things.
Under.Ligne is Doo.Ri's second, more affordable line.

Visit: Under.Ligne


A lovely mini movie previewing the Dace FW'10 collection.

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With Spring taking it's time to arrive in Berlin, I've been in in between mode. It's too cold to even think of spring styles, and not quite cold enough for the winter wardrobe (thank goodness). New Zealand label Company of Strangers by Sara Aspinal gives a nice selection of transitional pieces in their AW'10 collection: soft leathers, perfect layering pieces, cropped jackets & muted prints.
Now if only it were available to purchase in Berlin. A girl can dream...

Visit: Company of Strangers
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A Canadian based in Berlin writing about beautiful design, from fashion to interior and beyond.
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