How a Berlin fashion label caters to the needs of a modern urbanista by creating a dress that looks perfect 24/7, even out of the suitcase
With a studio in Berlin’s hip, new and modern district Mitte and a solid fan base among German actresses, models, lifestyle experts and fashion editors, Liebig is the brand for a modern urbanista.
Liebig (pronounced: Lee-big) is a Berlin-based fashion label specializing in fashionable and yet sensible dresses. Isn’t this exactly what a girl wants? We met the brand’s managing director Olivia Pflugfelder and designer Sandra Liermann to learn how versatile a dress can and should be.
HOW HAS THE LIEBIG JOURNEY BEGUN?
Olivia: We had a very clear concept and have started right away in 2009. We wanted to make a dress that rocks it 24/7.
Sandra: This was certainly different from how most fashion designers in Berlin might work, but our approach has been clear – determine what’s missing on the fashion market and fill the need.
Olivia: Plus we knew who we designed for, we knew where and how to position the brand in the retailing.
Sandra: Our motivation has been to find out what the fashion market can handle. The Liebig woman is a working girl, with a busy schedule – with or without children.
SO THE DRESS IS A PERFECT OUTFIT FOR AN URBAN LADY?
Olivia: Yes, and her clothes need to fit into any situation from morning to night, without a long styling process in front of her wardrobe. Every woman is familiar with the situation when you have a hard time deciding what to wear because the day that lies ahead is taking you to very different places – kindergarten, job, reception.
Sandra: And we’re really backing this thought, this is no coquetry whatsoever. We wanted to create dresses that make you look great. Dresses you can alternate by your use of accessories. In a city like Berlin a day has so many different faces and you want to look your best in every situation, whether it’s business, running errands or a night out.
YOUR MODELS ARE FRIENDS OF YOURS, WHY?
Sandra: Because we wanted Liebig to preserve the intimate, private feel it has to it. Also, our friends are our customers as well and it’s a great way to keep in touch, to hear them, to see what they miss or what they want.
YOU’VE RECEIVED THE PREMIUM YOUNG FASHION DESIGNERS AWARD QUITE SHORTLY AFTER FOUNDING LIEBIG. HOW DID IT FEEL?
Olivia: Remember, Liebig is very young; we’ve started two and a half years ago. Receiving the Premium award was fabulous and highly motivating.
Sandra: You find yourself standing at the trade fair for the first time, taking in the feedback and the recognition, it was amazing and very helpful.
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WHAT ARE LIEBIG’S STRONGEST MARKETS?
Olivia: In Germany it’s North and South that are strong markets for us, and so is Switzerland. Internationally we started to work with retailers in Russia and this year, in Norway.
Sandra: And this is recognition, too, when stores approach you and you feel their enthusiasm, their interest. Liebig is created with a lot of heart’s blood so it’s imperative for us to have a good feeling about our partners.
YOU’VE STARTED WITH A COLLECTION OF SIMPLE BUT ELEGANT SILK DRESSES. TODAY IT’S ALL ABOUT PATTERNS AND COLOUR MIX, FALL-WINTER IS LACE, COCKTAIL AND FLOOR-LENGTH. HOW DOES THE LIEBIG STYLE EVOLVE?
Sandra: Well, the clean look of a silk dress became overhauled one day. The idea behind Liebig is to provide chic and at the same time sensible clothes, and we had to keep adding functionality to our dresses. So we developed the dress that looks perfect even out of the suitcase. We went for more colours and prints and it was gratifying to see how the customers loved these styles. Look at the kaftan and tunic dresses [Summer 2012, editor’s note] – they are perfect for such a hot summer we’ve experienced in Berlin a week ago. So we follow the needs, you see. If the demand is for longer skirts and sleeves, for example, we’ll incorporate the needs into our designs. And the next collection will offer festive looks. In Berlin it’s almost impossible to get a beautiful, elegant dress for a black tie occasion without breaking the bank. And affordable dresses are a disaster. Liebig will deliver the cure for that. We also keep improving the choice of fabric so that you don’t need to run to the dry-cleaners.
Olivia: We will definitely stick to silk in the future, but easy-care fabrics are what’s important in the everyday life.
A GLIMPSE ON SUMMER 2013?
Sandra: The prints of the summer collection 2013 will be amazing. It’s about old, hand drawn 1920s patterns that I picked from archives and recreated in modern, bold colours.
BERLINER-BY-CHOICE OLIVIA, BASED IN WEST BERLIN
Little Paris in Berlin for breakfast and lunch: De Maufel, Leonhardtstr. 13
Bookstore for architecture, design, photography and art: Bücherbogen am Savignyplatz, Stadtbahnbogen 593
Shop for Vintage treasures: Glencheck, Joachim-Friedrich-Str. 34
WEST BERLIN-BORN SANDRA, BASED IN EAST BERLIN
Schwarzhogerzeil, Mulackstr. 28
Playful affordable jewels: vonhey, Brunnenstr. 158
Furniture, interior design, gifts: Parkhaus Berlin, Schröderstr. 13
Lunch: Lokal, Linienstr. 160
—by Nath Fedorova
Photos: Courtesy of Liebig