Rechenberg Spring/Summer 2013 Collection

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The woman who wears Rechenberg may be a bit older, but she is by no means out-of-touch. She avoids trendy or flamboyant fads, opting for classic cuts and textiles that are elegant and flatter her shape. She feels no need to prove herself, having already honed her sense of style.

I have come to expect a certain look and level of quality from the Munich-born designer Kathrin von Rechenberg, who trained in Paris under top couturiers from Dior and Chanel and has been based in Beijing since 2000. (In an interview I did with her in 2011, she cited tea-silk – a unique textile from Southern China that has since become a signature of her brand – as her reason for visiting China, and meeting her Chinese husband as her reason for staying.)

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She is now onto her 21st collection. Yes, you read that right, people. In the past, Ms. Rechenberg has always tailored her fashion events first and foremost to her faithful clients, and this year was no exception. The crowd at her afternoon presentation of her Spring/Summer 2013 collection at the Opposite House was a mix between expat and Chinese women, and a handful of local press.

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The show opened with a surprising pop of color: an asymmetric printed top reminiscent of traditional Chinese watercolor paintings, paired with a mustard-yellow silk jersey skirt. No one could accuse Ms. Rechenberg of not being conscious of a women’s body; she creates pieces that enhance rather than reveal.

While the pieces that followed stayed true to her minimalistic spirit – from sinuous jumpsuits to scarf shirts and crepe pants – the appearance of bright and very spring-appropriate prints marked an interesting new direction for her label. For the most part, she used to rely on tea-silk’s distinctive sheen (achieved through a process that involves being dyed over 40 times, then covered with mud to give it texture) to play with light and shadow. Her latest source of inspiration has, for the first time, turned her attention towards lighter fabrics and marbled colors. As her press release states:

“The crackled paint on traditional building arches and doorway beams, the softened, merged colors of painted murals and panels bordering on the abstract have been a major influence on her range of garments.”

Some of her prints were more successful than the others. A respectful hush went over the room when a red floral-patterned silk chiffon evening dress stepped out onto the platform (pictured below).

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Overall, while not exactly cutting-edge, the collection – with all its beautiful leather piping details and strategic draping – is sure to please her current clientele. There are plenty of work-appropriate items (structured blazers, flowy pencil skirts and wide-leg pants), and the way she works with tea-silk in new and unexpected ways season-after-season is quite impressive. I'm a big fan of the tea-silk dress pants (pictured below), a fun alternative for leather pants.

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To signal the show's conclusion, Ms. Kathrin von Rechenberg herself walked out in one of her latest creations.

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Below are the rest of the photos I took that weren't featured above. 

Rechenberg's latest collection is now available for purchase at her courtyard studio. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm (or by appointment). Xinyuanli Dongjie (yard behind Bldg 12), Chaoyang District (6463 1788)