Augustin/Teboul Fashion Crafted for Black Queens

Portrait Augustin/Teboul
Photo (detail): Esra Rothoff

German-French fashion duo Annelie Augustin’s and Odély Teboul’s collections in mystic black show that in Berlin, rock’n’roll garb can be designed as haute couture. The designers are now taking the next step toward international business.

Jet black is always the color of the collection of the two Paris ESMOD graduates Annelie Augustin and Odély Teboul. However, an unmatched wealth of detail characterizes their work. Typical of this is the mix of materials – leather, wool, silk, lace. Their new winter collection “Somewhen” features ethnic elements such as cable patterns, tassles and ornamental fringes. After showing in Berlin, this very sensual collection also made its debut in Paris. No surprise then that Annelie Augustin’s and Odély Teboul’s perfectly tailored avant-garde gowns stand a good chance of capturing the attention of industry insiders and fashion fans in Milan and New York as well. Now that the Augustin/Teboul label has made its mark in Berlin, the designers are set to prove themselves outside the German capital.

Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen | Photo: Rosa Merk So, why always black – and only black? “We play around with fabric a lot,” says Annelie Augustin, a native of southern Germany “Since we work an array of graphic and ethnic elements into our garments, the base can remain just black. We put a lot of thought into our designs; it helps when we have a subdued background to work with.”

Indeed, far from coming across as austere and bleak, the black garments are lavishly sensual, surreal and mysterious. Designed without bright colors on purpose, the garments are particularly suited for making a grand entrance – and not just in Berlin, precisely where the monochrome palette works well – but also with audiences worldwide. Berlin, with its youth scene and favorable business conditions is a perfect home for artists – for the two designers as well. They prefer, however, to sell their work elsewhere.
 

  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
  • Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Foto: Rosa Merk
    Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen
Going by the enthusiasm of young fashionistas in the city, Berlin still favors a spruced up flea market look, but a piece of clothing from Augustin/Teboul will always be just the opposite even though both looks see Berlin as their inspiration.

Augustin/Teboul isn’t offering Berlin young ladies more alternatives to Cinderella’s apron dress, but rather fairy-tale fashion for black queens. “It’s not like we make fashion you cannot wear,” says French designer Odély Teboul “but you must, of course, be ready to embrace our things.”

Many have done just that, first and foremost industry professionals such as Christiane Arp, head of German Vogue, a declared fan who has promoted their work ever since the designers’ first small collection in 2010. The rest of the German press has been equally enthusiastic in the last few years: echoing the head of Vogue, almost all trade journals and blogs have been praising the two designers as ambassadors of the new cool Berlin. The dramatic staging of the Augustin/Teboul collections in Berlin galleries turned out to be the highlight of the recent Fashion Week and have certainly contributed to the label’s acclaim. The fact that Madonna and Beth Dito have already placed orders for the label has surely helped as well. “Of course, it’s great for us that everybody is so thrilled,” says Odély Teboul “It gives us a big boost…now we’ve got to see where that’ll take us.”

Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen | Photo: Rosa Merk Both already know that business is tough outside Berlin, they have previously worked at large fashion houses: Annelie Augustin at Yamamoto for Adidas and Odély Teboul for Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris. They got to know each other more in London and realized they both had the same goal in fashion. They decided to “take the plunge and put into practice their idea of workmanship and excellence,” as Odély Teboul puts it, and with great courage took on the risk on their own. Since then, they have been complementing each other well not just artistically but also in terms of the actual fashion business. “It’s always good when you don’t feel alone, but have someone beside you who sees things the same way you do,” Annelie Augustin adds.

Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen Augustin/Teboul, Somwhen | Photo: Rosa Merk This could prove even more important now that Augustin/Teboul is growing from being a small avant-garde label with an atelier in Berlin’s hip Neukölln neighborhood to forging ahead into the world of big-name labels.

One thing is certain: in the long run, such a sophisticated label can’t thrive on good press alone. The two designers are already able through their great personal dedication to realize their artisanal and artistic ideas. But now the time seems to have come to take the next step forward, namely, to expand and position the label in the market. Berlin has been taken; Paris awaits. “We are really excited and happy about it,” says Odély Teboul.