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Peter Hornstein née Bertsch

The German-born Siberian graduate from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp presents his new collection winning several prizes

Peter Bertsch was born in Germany as the son of Siberian emigrants, graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp with his collection “Bionic”. Peter gained international recognition and several prizes, among others the 1.2.3 award at the Hyeres 2007 and the Creator Award of Ann Chapelle. In 2008 Peter started his own brand using his grandmother’s name Horstein. The style of the brand has the aim to create a new consciousness of wearing clothes by using the space given between the body and the garment.

Dazed Digital: How did you become interested in fashion?
Peter Hornstein: I’ve was first interested in dance and wanted to become a dancer, but I always enjoyed the costumes. I grew up watching all the old Fred Astaire movies. And at one point the passion for fashion took over, but I knew it already quite early.

DD: When and why did you start designing?
Peter Hornstein: Simply because I am not satisfied with reality and I am not good AT anything else... I think my first sketches must have been from when I was 6 or 7 years old.

DD: Tell us about your collection?
Peter Hornstein: The A/W 09 collection is based on the potency of colours in the dark. I love how the bright colours get mixed with blue light in the dark. I tried to create powerful shapes with using sometimes just one seam, especially the jackets. The fabrics consist of doublé tweeds, silks, wool, and a great puno milano quality for winter. I found this beautiful jeweled lace with an original design from the sixties. I wanted to have a bit of a sixties feeling with all the tweed, the soft shoulder and the turtle necks but in a younger way.

DD: You have won several prizes, including the Hyeres 1,2,3 Prize. How has that changed you?
Peter Hornstein: It was a beautiful experience because I fell immediately in love with the Villa Noailles, where the Festival of Hyeres is held. I stayed there for two weeks and met a lot of nice people. On a personal level to work together with Maida Gregori-Boina and Thierry Dreyfus on my show was fantastic. And that I had the chance to meet Christian Lacroix, president of that particular jury at Hyeres, was huge for me because I have adored him since my childhood. It was also the first international "outing" after Belgium and my studies at the academy of Antwerp and it gave me the chance to reach a broad audience, out to China and Australia.

DD: Why do you think Antwerp is so ingrained in fashion?
Peter Hornstein:  It’s a crazy town. It’s still mysterious to me why it is what it is. It is so small; especially the center of the town but the variety of the people is immense. The common interest in fashion and art is present everywhere. And after years you still keep exploring things and places that you would next expect.
DD: Where do you seek for inspiration?
Peter Hornstein: Everywhere. But my inspiration is always coming from my own life experiences. I am not so much of a theoretical researcher. At the end of the day, you have to stay excited about each collection at least for six months...

DD: What are the difficulties  a designer faces today?
Peter Hornstein: The old system of the fashion industry, how we knew it, is finally crashing down, which will leave a lot of space for new ideas, new ways of distribution and new people in the industry. In our times the big houses are making money with anything else but the actual pret-a-porter. And Lady Gaga is considered a fashion icon; it is high time for a change!
Private investors for young designers and cultural ideologists are becoming very rare in Europe but they are getting more and more (prevalent) in other parts of the world where an interaction with the recognized fashion industry basically did not exist before, like Russia and Asia.

DD: What are your plans for the future?
Peter Hornstein: To grow and extend of course, I would love to make also menswear and interior. I love furniture and architecture. But I am also interested in cars and would love to design a car once. And fragrances are something that always interested me.

Photography Zeb Daemen