From Vivienne Westwood’s punk roots to Lady Gaga’s avant-garde ensembles, fashion and music have long been happy bedfellows. And the latest figure to emerge from this ongoing artistic dialogue is Kilian Kerner, a Berlin-based actor-turned-designer, who is as well known for his understated designs as he is for featuring unique live musical performances during his shows.
After studying drama in Cologne, Kerner moved to Berlin to pursue theater, film and television. His all-encompassing eye eventually led to fashion, where he has channeled this creative energy into eponymous womenswear, menswear and streetwear collections as well as accessories. Although Kerner’s theatrical background might call for more bombastic looks, his purist formations, clean lines and elegant use of fabrics hints at a subtler, more emotional undercurrent.
Inspired by music and lyrics, Kerner develops his initial design concepts around what he describes as “a world of feelings made clear through music.” With this creative catalyst in the foreground, he partnered with Berlin-based band Bad Habbits for one of his early shows and later developed the Fashion & Music project, which has subsequently functioned as a twin platform for Kerner’s designs as well as local musicians.
More than just tandem performances, these collaborations inform and inspire one another. Experimental electro outfit Mor La Peach accented the electrified materials and unusual silhouettes featured in Kerner’s a/w ’10 collection. Tunes of Dawn‘s melodic, goth-romantic rock highlighted his black, red and fuchsia color palette for a/w ’11. And Kerner’s ongoing work with Splinter X frontman Ben Ivory has yielded four original songs written to complement the designer’s clothes as well as a concept video featured on Vogue Germany’s website. “We achieved a lot together and developed ourselves further,” explained Kerner of their creative partnership.
For his upcoming Berlin Fashion Week show on July 9th, Kerner has partnered with Danish singer-songwriter Mads Langer, who will lend lilting, soulful music to a suggestively romantic collection called “Our Journey Until Somewhere Else.” Keep your eyes—and ears—open for more genre-bending work from this rising talent.