Berlin's Fashion Week kicks off

Germany's capital turns its attention to fashion this week, with 2012 winter collections on the runway starting Wednesday at Berlin Fashion Week and emerging designers showing off their edgy pieces at the streetwear trade show known as Bread & Butter.

The fashion week shows started with the flowing, ready-to-wear knit fashions of Belgian design duo Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst, known as A. F. Vandevorst. Browns, beiges and blacks dominated the collection, with belted big tops worn over tight pants with boots. Each piece was marked by a bright red thread woven into the fabric.

Austrian designer Lena Hoschek, known for her vintage looks centered on the 1940s and '50s, took a step toward the '60s, with short-waisted jackets over fitted knee-length dresses and fine blouses atop pencil skirts. Browns, mustard yellows and deep reds dominated her palette, with plenty of bold plaids and her trademark bright florals.

Berlin Fashion Week, which often struggles in comparisons to the better known, well-established couture presentations in Paris or Milan, seeks to define itself as a showcase for young and local designers. Some 200,000 people are expected to flock to see the collections of Hugo Boss, Patrick Mohr and Dorothee Schumacher.

Romanian designers and others from Eastern Europe, including Polish designer Dawid Tomaszewski, will be showcased at the event that run through Saturday in the German capital.

Bread & Butter, which opened Tuesday in a hangar of the shuttered Tempelhof airfield in the heart of the city, features 230 jeans and sportswear designers. Although major brands are represented, the show prides itself on highlighting small, trendy and niche designers.