This season German designer, Iris von Arnim took the storytellers route when it came to shooting her Spring/Summer 2013 collection. Recognized as “The Queen of Cashmere” in Europe and head of the Apolda European Design Award, Iris von Arnim chose Hamburg based photographer Sven Hoffmann to create a beautiful, New York backdropped story. For me, it shows the simple beauty found around the Big Apple. Not this oversexualized, head to toe made up look it’s stereotyped for. Focusing on her base of cashmere von Arnim demonstrates with one medium, a designer can always discover new ways to put it on display.

Do you have to be in the zone to start creating designs or is it something that comes naturally?

In the beginning there is only a vague idea or a mood. It is something you sense but can’t explain. I flip through illustrated books, listen to music, talk with friends, take a walk on the beach or watch the people on the street. Moreover, I always think practically: What am I missing in my wardrobe? Who am I designing for?

Did you start out with your own line, or did you work with other houses to learn hone your skills?

Good design requires life experience, or as we say in German: a life lived. The more you have experienced and seen, the better you understand what we really need or feel good in. For me, it was learning by doing – I had no training in design nor was I surrounded by luxury clothing during my childhood.

You’re called the “The Queen of Cashmere” in Europe. Where did that come from?

In the 80s I was among the first designers who introduced designed cashmere to Germany. The press wrote about my intarsia and bold color combinations and sooner or later, they called me “The Cashmere-Queen”…. I know I should feel flattered, but I can’t really take it seriously. I find it amusing…


A lot of designers copy each others’ ideas and styles today, how do you set yourself apart from the rest?

I find this overflow of stuff very tiring so I like to stay away from that. I need to want to wear the pieces I design, to want to keep them on immediately. Then they are good. Really great styles should always be kept because they belong to you and are part of you. The ‘trendy’ is not the driving force, but rather what’s to last.

You’ve worked with Claudia Schiffer, one of the few true supermodels in the industry, how did that happen and how was it to work with her?

My son met her on the luxury conference in Berlin. Soon after she came to visit me in Hamburg and we decided to design a collection together, which we did successfully for two seasons.