Fighting to be fashionable in communist East GermanyIt was a time when the parties were underground, the drugs were good and Nick Cave was just your arrogant next east german fashion 1980s neighbour with a gun. The influence of 80s Berlin is evident east german fashion 1980s a quick glance at the Berghain queue on any given weekend — you are bound to see an array masteron dbol deca Blixa Bargeld-esque leather get-ups and eyeliner inspired by Nina Hagen. The Yerman Deutsche Welle movement formed Berlin as we know it — and photographer Ilse Ruppert captured the epoch in all its glory. Her historical photographs are incredibly seductive, appeasing all of our Berlin fantasies that vanished with the Iron Curtain. West Berlin was excessive, edgy and had a sexiness about it. You could live how you wanted. West Berlin had a special and unique legal status.
13 Best Fashion Looks From 80s Berlin Cult Heroes, By Ilse Ruppert
In s communist East Germany, nearly all clothing available was mass-produced and functional rather than fashionable, leaving little room for individuality and self-expression. But as a new exhibition in Berlin shows, there was a vibrant underground that offered not only fashion alternatives but also a subtle way to rebel against the oppressive regime of the German Democratic Republic DGR. For organisers of "In Grenzen Frei" "Free Inside the Borders" at the capital's Kunstgewerbemuseum Museum of Decorative Arts , this clothes-as-dissent was a small but valuable contribution towards the peaceful revolution that tore down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago this November.
One of the curators, Grit Seymour, recalls the period with horror. A student thrown out of her East Berlin fashion college "for political reasons" in , she went on to become a successful international designer. People often got ideas from "Sybille", a GDR fashion magazine with much more interesting outfits but ones not available to the masses -- as either way too expensive or never made it past the Iron Curtain.
The magazine, however, included patterns and instructions on how to sew the outfits -- if you managed to find the materials. Photos from "Sybille" form part of the exhibition and replicas of patterns are on sale in the gift shop. There were , copies printed but each magazine went through at least 10 pairs of hands," Seymour says. There were also shops called Exquisit offering clothes by Paris-based designers like Norwegian Per Spook and Frenchman Daniel Hechter, but they didn't come cheap.
Fashions from the West slipped through in other ways, and were seen as a glimpse into an exciting new world. The pictures showed an intense decadence, a feeling that was breaking out in me more and more," Kuehne says in a book accompanying the exhibition.
Inspired, Kuehne and his friends searched everywhere for clothes and accessories to recreate the look of "new romantic" bands such as Adam and the Ants or Spandau Ballet, taking eye patches from first aid kits and holding illicit happenings. There were even secret, avant-garde fashion shows organised by groups that sprang up with names like "Allerleirauh" "All Kinds of Fur" and "Chic, Charmant und Dauerhaft" "Chic, Charming and Enduring" or "Omelette Surprise".
Videos of these wild-looking evenings -- which were almost exclusively organised by and for women, with men present only as models or porters -- also feature in "In Grenzen Frei".
But the scene went beyond fashion, with dress doubling as statements of both freedom and subversion. This was a form of resistance that was completely new to me, it was a form of resistance through refusal. Gericke, who made a film about the GDR punk scene called "Too Much Future" -- as opposed to the Sex Pistols' "No Future" -- also holds that "just ignoring the state" helped bring down the system in But they also pushed further the limits that we had opened," he says.