Balletshofer Berlin Spring 2025

Don’t know how you did it, Allan Balletshofer, but you read my mind. Glancing down at the Balletshofer’s show notes while sitting waiting for his show to start amidst the ebony marbled grandeur of the Martin Gropius Bau museum, this caught my eye: “Upon arriving in a city, an individual adapts to its specific codes and conventions. Moving through the urban landscape, a newfound familiarity emerges from park to pavement, bus to metro.” List-wise, the only thing I didn’t manage to achieve was taking the bus, but otherwise, the last few days here in Berlin for the spring 2025 shows have been a speed lesson in immersing myself in the city—and the city’s fashion scene. And as to what’s become familiar, it’s that the city is capable of providing all sorts of terrific surprises.

Balletshofer turned out to be one of them. He’s done precisely two collections thus far, so he was a bit of an unknown quantity. (Well, to me at least.) Soon it became clear, however, that he has a pretty distinct vision. Look 1 set the tone: minimalistic black tailoring in the shape of a boxy cut collarless jacket, worn with straight cut trousers which contrive to do that elusive thing—somehow be cool, yet classic, and vice versa, and succeed. With his models walking at quite the clip, a zip-front jacket in sturdy black leather with matching leather pants flashed by, as did a black shirt with electric blue panels inserted into its sleeves, only to be echoed on the look’s pants, and then a black—are you noticing a color palette choice yet?—neoprene jean jacket with, yes, matching jeans.

Much of Balletshofer’s collection was focused on twisting and subverting all those tropes of classic menswear—suits, shirting, even ties, which here added a touch of formality, and a bit of an American Psycho vibe tbh, when worn with an oversized black flannel shirt-jacket (technically, I guess, this makes it a shacket, but I’m adding that to my list of verboten fashion words) and wide trousers—fusing traditional and athletic/technical fabrics. Those same show notes mentioned that Balletshofer was inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Ichi-go ichi-e, which is apparently about capturing the unrepeatable nature of a moment.

In other words: the moment goes, but it also lives on in the present, and that’s a pretty good way of summarizing how he fuses the memory of heritage with the reality of today. Balletshofer grounded his approach quite literally with the show’s Timberland collaboration, where he took the classic boat shoe and added a leather toe cap in black or electric blue, which transformed it in the most fantastic way, without denying the integrity of the shoe. As the last look exited, my seatmate turned to me and said, ‘I’d wear all of that.’ Not sure I could do the same, but in terms of a collection that offered a ton of desirable clothes, he was spot on.

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