Short names seem to be the most successful in fashion. You know how it goes; from Acne to Gucci and Fendi
to Prada. Now there’s an addition, EINE: a label that launched last summer by MA Fashion graduate Petra Metzger, who has previously worked with Haider Ackermann, Chalayan and Peter Jensen. We love a little flash of flesh, which is in perfect accordance with Petra’s strong view on femininity: well-cut clothes with a dash of S&M leather. We found out a little more about her theories of uniform dressing and sex-appeal.
Let’s start off with your aesthetic, do you predict you’ll stick to the same elements every season?
The tailored element will stay and some of the accessories will stay, but the aesthetic will change. There’s a core that’s quite focused on silhouettes.
Are there things that you definitely won’t do?
I think it’s about how you do it – the details – if it works or not. I’m not really decorative but some people can really rock it. It depends on how it’s done.
Who do you admire most in terms of renewal in fashion design?
I really like Christopher Kane, obviously, because he’s got a big variety but still manages to pull it together. It’s not my style and also not my target group, but it’s a nice coherent collection. And big houses, I did like the… God, I didn’t look through much yet.
When you look at the distinction between fashion and style, can I presume you design for a stylish woman, rather than a fashionable one?
Yeah, or a young rich kid.
Young rich kid… [laughs] The price-point is quite high?
Yes, it is. I make garments after order, so in that way it’s of course more expensive. And I put big effort into the making of them.
In a way, it reminds me a bit of The Row, who design for more mature women who search for great quality and know their style.
It’s kind of like contemporary classics. They’re more collectable items, rather than just quick ones that pass. Well tailor-made things we should keep somehow. My designs fit more to a feminine figure than just a slim model-like figure.
Haider Ackermann. He was like this royalty and I got to do everything, from the research to designing shoes. It was nice to follow up with the sampling and to just do the whole thing. I worked together with Haider and his direct assistant, so it really was good team work.
Would you say that your aesthetic shares any similarities with his?
He has tailored elements, especially in his blazers. They’re always very well-cut blazers. But in terms of aesthetics, I think he’s more dreamy. I’m more straightforward.
Where do you think that straightforwardness mainly comes from?
I think because I appreciate the tailored aspect, and if the proportion works, you don’t need much more. It’s just choosing good fabrics that work, maybe some texture, but it’s mainly about proportion and silhouette. It’s so strong already. If that’s well made; it’s strong and convincing, then it’s a statement. I don’t know where it comes from, maybe my German roots.
Did you have many tailored clothes around you in your childhood? What were the fashions that you mainly saw around you?
My parents were quite fashionable. They traveled a lot, so there were many influences. My grandmother was an opera singer, so she was usually dressed very well. There always was a fashion aspect around- of course it wasn’t a trend element, just beautiful things to play with when I was a kid.
What did you wear when you were sixteen?
Oh god, I was a skater-girl with baggy trousers and Skechers.
How do you see your brand developing?
That’s really an insightful question. A rough idea is to develop into a lifestyle brand with a website and blog, and it’s not just about clothes- it’s all about a certain lifestyle as well. So we would portray certain artists, music, whatever involves in the EINE philosophy.
Are there any particular artists that you would love to collaborate with?
Yeah but it’s not only artists, it’s all kinds of designers and craftsmen. It becomes very interesting to bring together the design philosophy through collaboration.
Will you have a legion of collaborators in your army colored clothes? Is this also your uniform, by the way?
No it’s not but I kind of adore wearing it.
What do you think about uniform dressing?
It makes every day easy, if you don’t have to think much. It makes sense for some people… But I think the joy of dressing is being able to express how you feel and every day you feel a bit different, so it’s also a source of energy for me. I can really feel it when you’ve got an outfit that you wear three days in a row, how the first day you feel great and the third day you’re kind of like…’hmmm…’
If you would have one piece of clothing that you would have to wear all your life, which would you choose?
I do wear trousers a lot, so a good pair of trousers would be the key-garment for me.
[twocol_one]How do you see the relationship between trousers and sexuality/femininity?
Trousers have something more practical, it’s less exposing and more for movement, so the practical aspect is definitely there. And also it’s a different statement, you sit differently; you move differently, so the body language also expresses. Body language brings across a different sexuality. I do very much like well-cut trousers, yeah [laughs].
What kind of fabrics are you most likely to use?
I love a good cashmere wool, and I like to combine fabrics. Especially PVC works very well as a clash. And it gives a very subtle contrast with colors that are the same, so it’s just in the material. It’s about bringing together something really beautiful and expensive, and something more cheap and tacky.
How do you spread your presence?
I create events for my clients to build direct connections. It’s very satisfying and motivating to see my clients trying things on and to be in touch with them, it then feels like I’m in a conversation.
Do you have a favourite iconic woman from a bygone era?
Grace Jones. In a way she has a certain calmness and strength. Some women have a fragile expression somehow – like waiting for approval from a man – and Grace Jones is just calm and still and beautiful.
Do you design here in your studio?
Yeah and I research in the library at King’s Cross.
You did your MA at the new campus, right?
Yes, the second year was at King’s Cross. The first year was still at Charing Cross.
What was the difference between studying at both locations?
The new building is extremely cold… I was there in the first year, so many things didn’t function. They locked doors. And also this huge gap in the middle, it’s just a waste of space [laughs]. And students are struggling to have studio space, so I think the design failed, in my eyes. Also, the location in the middle of Soho was just brilliant. The fountains in front of the new building feel like a theme park in the summer… It just takes a bit of time before the building will be merged with the students again. It was time for renewal.
What advice could you give to MA students and recent graduates?
There is no recipe for the MA at Central Saint Martins, because everyone is different and for everyone it’s a completely different experience. An important thing is to keep a healthy distance from the whole thing and to not get completely eaten up by it- but then at the same time it’s an intense experience and I don’t think there’s any other course like that. For some people it’s right, and for some people it’s wrong and some people only find out afterwards. It’s a ride. You just need to enjoy the ride and see. But, it’s not right to push people through because they applied in the beginning and they’re paying. It doesn’t fulfill the responsibility of the course, so I think it’s very important to reflect students honestly and not just let them pass. Otherwise people finish their degree and they’re not really strong enough for the industry. So, I think it’s important there’s honesty in education.
What’s the most important thing that Louise personally taught you?
To really listen, to really have an honest communication and to see things for what they are and not what you want to see. And that’s the thing for life, I think.