Back to black

FASHION INTERVIEW: Paris-cum-Berlin duo Odély Teboul and Annelie Augustin of Augustin Teboul.

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Photo by E. Rotthoff

Fashion’s obsession with black has been under threat recently from the bright neons and pastels that flooded the catwalks in fashion capitals this summer, not to mention all the bold ethnic prints, colourful wools, rich wine tones and florals that we have seen in recent autumn/winter collections. Black was relegated to merely dyeing asymmetric leather jackets and plain deconstructed dresses.

Thankfully Augustin Teboul is bringing us back to black in a way that mixes classic women’s wear with a modern twist on romanticism. The design duo have been strict with their palette ever since their first collection: “We decided to limit the colour to black and then focus more on experimenting with cutting and detailing,” explains Odély Teboul.

The pair first met as students at ESMOD fashion school in Paris; German-born Annelie Augustin then earned her fashion stripes working for Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas in Paris and Tokyo, while Teboul stayed in Paris to work for Jean Paul Gaultier. The pair then met up a few years later in London where their collaboration started out as “a project,” says Augustin. “We don’t have fixed ideas and we don’t draw many sketches, we just feed off each other’s thoughts.”

Now based in Berlin, they still have “one foot in Paris”. They source the various types of intricate lace used in many of their evening dresses in France and their creative influences also seem to flow from across the border: their spring/summer 2013 collection recently shown at Mercedes-Benz Berlin Fashion Week was entitled “Les Fleurs du Mal” after a volume of Charles Baudelaire’s poems.

The clothes in this collection certainly express elements of eroticism and dark femininity in a way the French poet would surely have appreciated: delicate beading trickles down the back of a silk evening gown or a transparent crocheted flower-print top pulled into some tough leather pants. Their beaded crochet is becoming a trademark for the brand and has been used to create everything from cigarette pants to dresses and headwear. All of this in black and in a style that is entirely their own. “To say that we are not comparable to any other label is the best compliment you could give,” says Augustin.

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