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The style spotlight shines on Berlin this weekend, where fashion industry powerhouse IMG is launching the first-ever Berlin Fashion Week, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. The event only confirms what locals, expats living in the city and its jetset fans have known for a while: That Berlin is abuzz. Drawn by cheap rents and a bustling café culture, artistic types have come to Berlin from all over the world, putting down roots in ex-East districts such as Mitte. Over the past year, the city’s energy has reached critical mass, crossing the threshold from something underground, gritty and street, to a scene with enough above-board and international appeal to draw IMG and its stable of corporate sponsors.

The four Berlin-based labels competing for the Karstadt New Generation Award – Lala Berlin, Macqua, Kaviar Gauche and Talkingmeanstrouble – certainly deserve wider attention. To judge by these lines alone, the fashions coming out of Berlin cover a broad spectrum, from Lala’s flirty dresses with their punkish wink, to Kaviar Gauche’s slyly feminine space-age sensibility, to the Talkingmeanstrouble sister’s serene, fastidiously patterned and tailored clothes, to Macqua’s draped jersey elegance. More young designers are moving to the city every day, and/or graduating from Berlin’s design school, Esmod, Berlin, style capital, will be with us for a while.

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