Rike Feurstein’s showroom and store on Berlin’s trendy Rosa-Luxemburg-str is one of those places one always notices. Like Rike’s designs, the exterior of the store is lean, unostentatious and apparently understated. But, one always notices it since, no matter the weather, there always seems to be a small crowd peering through the window at Rike’s stunning headgear designs displayed within.
Treading a notably different path from many of the current trends in hip and happening luxury headgear, give or take a few pieces, Rike Feurstein doesn’t really go for froth, excessive decoration or girly spangles. Instead, she has gained increasing attention for her, sleek almost architectural forms constructed in traditional materials and generally in fields of bold colour rather than pattern or complicated textiles. Hers is fundamentally a modernist approach with the historic references to those traditions popping up here and there; the engulfing lines of the 1920’s cloche or the helmet-like futuristic caps of the 1960’s.
This doesn’t mean she’s a one-trick pony. On the contrary, the current women’s collection includes a number of feathered pieces very much in keeping with the fashion for retro girly cocktail hats and a couple of faux leopard models that play the same games with a historical source. Or there is the Stanley, a trilby-esque little number that sees Rike reinventing a very traditional masculine hat form, largely through the us of dramatically bold blue.
For those who believe that there is a connection between aesthetics and climate, Rike Feurstein’s work might provide some strong argumentative evidence. It’s notable, for example, that many of the materials and forms that she has favoured over the years are far more practical for Berlin’s freezing winters; sheltering the head and ears from icy winds. And, indeed, she has also produced a line of creative knitted hats, reinventing the woolly stalwart as a more hip affair.
Although not unisex, her men’s collections often share points of crossover with the women’s collection such as in the case of the Stanley model, produced for a male market in more sombre colours. For the slightly more adventurous, there are also a number of handsome models that take traditional caps as their starting points and reinterpret their lines or play games with mixing and matching knits with more traditional hat materials.
After years of quietly getting on with her special craft in the showroom in Berlin, it’s also notable that she has been gaining increasing international attention from those who have now started to look to Berlin’s maturing fashion sensibility as being one which is distinctive from the more polar centres of international fashion. Who knows, perhaps some of them were simply walking by and stopped to stare through that window?