Traveling with Tillmann Lauterbach


Arriving chez Tillmann Lauterbach this morning, we were party to an exciting delivery. The young German designer, whose A/W13 collection shows in Paris on Saturday, has just crafted a massive travelling case—a Knicks’ player could comfortable walk inside the leather-bound trunk—and it’s a delivery from one of Spain’s premium ateliers. A little large to be walked down the runway this weekend, the trunk will become a part of his traveling menswear boutique—a wandering trunk show where customers can touch and try his collection, then place their orders via iPad.

With the trunk’s first stop in Vienna this April, the woolen felt that Lauterbach has turned into coats for Saturday’s show originate from one of Austria’s oldest felt manufacturers, Loden Steiner, before being laser-punched in Belgium. This pairing of new and old is a keystone of the designer’s distinctly Euro-Asian aesthetic, honed by his frequent travels to China, where he has been creative director of menswear at eco-friendly megabrand JNBY since 2009. Tying waxed cotton jackets across the body like a kimono or zipping a shirt-cum-turtleneck down the shoulder are more of Lauterbach’s unconventional turns, and a flat-polished silver button is a signature he has carried through since starting his Paris-based label seven years ago. Those, and a penchant for raw edges, hit the right mix of dressed-up and dressed-down that characterizes the more market-friendly side of Paris’ avant-garde scene.

Saturday’s AW13 runway will preview a series of ambient sculptures and artworks the designer has linked to his collection and will exhibit in Vienna this spring. Furthermore, Lauterbach has commissioned a charity project of crisp white tees emblazoned with mottos from five international personalities (’60s supermodel Veruschka included), with proceeds heading straight to Ethiopia.