Biography

On the floor rays of rust and cherry-red light filter reflections, the play of chiaroscuro through Chinese windows, creating lacy paper-cuts and origami patterns on floors and walls. These shadowy images spill over the creative mess of sketches and paper-cuts strewn on the wooden desk where Kathrin von Rechenberg works, refining the textures and lightness that characterize her choice of fabrics. The walls are covered with pinned, hand-drawn sketches attached to pieces of cut fabric in indefinable shades of rust. Her blue indigo-stained hands, almost sculptural when folded, reach out to touch the colors, feel the textures.



When she breaks the rhythm of her work to go out into her garden maybe that‘s where she captures all the details of the afternoon sun and the blossoms.

Sometimes, you enter the studio to the sound of classical music playing and recognize her love for Bach, inspiring her as she leads her small team with precision and attention to every minute detail.Her rigorous and unrelenting process in the search for the lines and architecture to be teased out of the unstructured silk fabrics that then freely adorn the shapes of her wearers, is unique.

She folds and cuts the patterns into geometric shapes - triangles, squares, and lines - then blends those freely, releasing the fabric from its geometrical grid and transforming it into light and floating forms, akin to musical punctuation, stops and pauses.

These are the lines and melodies found in free-form poetry: she wrapped you as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals in your dress and it fly like a dash of wind around your body.

Kathrin von Rechenberg has made her home and has been working in Beijing since 2000. Graduated from Paris’s distinguished fashion and design school, the “Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne” she honed her craft in various Haute Couture houses such as Jacques Fath, Jean-Louis Scherrer, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix and Chanel before striking out on her own.

She came to China in search of a very special fabric known as “tea-silk” which has since defined her and become the signature on which she founded her own label. It remains today a cornerstone of her collections. The natural dyeing process of this special silk continues to fascinate her and has inspired her to work with other natural dyes. She creates her own materials by experimenting with different traditional and natural dyeing.

rechenberg boutique design


The new Rechenberg boutique opened in late spring 2019, in the Qianmen East area of Beijing, located South of the city’s historic Legations quarter.  This leafy revitalised corner of the city is drawing more and more people attracted by its growing number of individually styled restaurants, inviting cafes and design-led boutiques. Entering Rechenberg is to experience an “authentic immersion" into Kathrin’s world. The Rechenberg name stencilled  onto an iron Stele, stands beside the entrance, defining the signature haute-couture brand for which she has become justly known.  It is an invitation to explore the realm of her imagination, expressed through the elegantly simple clothes that sophisticated women love to wear.


The new space, interior-designed by Kathrin herself, extends over 2 floors. She explains ‘I followed the same thread I use when I design my clothing.  In the same way as I create space around the body, I created a wallpaper, ‘fabric’ with which to line the walls,  and a look for the boutique interior that gives the space an organic and translucent feel’. The long lengths of handmade Xuan paper, randomly overlaid, marking the organic texture of Kathrin’s garments and the walls appear to be breathing.


The focal point of the boutique’s interior is the staircase that encloses a void and, at the same time, expands the space as it connects the two levels, each one marked by high ceilings. The traditional wooden structure of the roof can be admired from the lower level.



The natural Indian slate floor reflects the many hues that inspire Kathrin as she creates her color palette and forms her shapes, taking nature as her teacher.



Plants are an intrinsic part of Kathrin’s workshops and showrooms. The shuliang creeper-vine whose tuber provides the tannin and red colour essential for Tea silk dyeing is a clear metaphor for her art.



The lower level often serves as open space extending to the street for events and concerts. On first entering the space, a high wall with openings from floor to ceiling attracts the attention.  Long and translucent silk hangings conceal an area behind the openings used as a storage room for silk clothes, evoking a ‘sense of timelessness’" inspired by Chinese ink scroll painting and dyed by Kathrin herself. The walls become their frames and reflect Kathrin’s passion for the principles of geometry, an essential element that informs but never dominates her designs.


The boutique is also an attractive gathering place for Kathrin’s friends, musicians and artists who enjoy coming together in the inviting space to share their respective talents. Recently, following Amy Grubb a contemporary dancer, and Kathrin’s sister Helene von Rechenberg, He yi a Chinese singer and Guqin artist, who loves to wear rechenberg on stage and in daily life, was delighted to be photographed modelling selections from Kathrin’s collection.



rechenberg Art Couture address

N°112 Xixinglongjie, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100062

工作室地址:

北京市东城区西兴隆街112号

We are looking forward to seeing you here anytime from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 6pm, and by appointment

营业时间: 周一到周六,早10点-晚6点,可提前预约。

tel:+86 10 64631788

info@rechenberg.cn

www.rechenberg.cn

http://www.facebook.com/rechenberg.studio




Craftsmanship means producing simplicity from complexity.
Kathrin von Rechenberg has honed her craft for the past two decades to produce simple, elegant garments from complex structures and designs. Her approach is that of a sculptor as she crafts and teases the fabric into the desired shapes on a traditional wooden mannequin. Never afraid of going the extra mile, many of Kathrin von Rechenberg’s designs are reversible, adding complexity to the confection of the clothes so that they look and are simple to wear regardless.

She is a stickler for detail and many of her designs are finished with fine leather or tea-silk piping and fagotting, to enhance the paper-thin profile of her fabrics. Thanks to her long working experience in Paris Haute Couture Houses, her made-to-measure garments are made to fit each wearer perfectly.
She dedicates herself to training and coaching her staff so that they are capable of meeting her exacting standards. Many of her team have been working alongside her for 10 years or more.          

Tea-silk is all but forgotten in present-day China. A complicated, completely natural dyeing process makes tea-silk unique and precious. Kathrin von Rechenberg collaborates with a traditional dyeing workshop in the Pearl River Delta where tea-silk processing is still carried out by hand.

The silk fabric is dyed 30-40 times with the juice of the shuliang root (dioscorea cirrhosa) and after each dyeing process, laid flat in the open air to dry in the sunshine. Covering it with river mud after the dyeing gives it its characteristic glossy brown/black sheen. This natural and traditional fabric, processed in a completely ecological way, reflects water, sun, sand and changes in temperature. Its luster, like that of the pearl, increases with time. The uneven shading makes the fabric unique. Properly aged tea-silk is as rare as fine wine; thus some ‘items’ are only available in limited quantities.

Besides Xiang Yunsha, for which natural dyeing process rechenberg studio commissions artisans in the Pearl River Delta, Kathrin von Rechenberg dyes a range of fabrics herself. She uses locally grown traditional dyes such as pomegranate peel, shuliang and banlangen (indigo) all of which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Natural dye has a great luminosity that gives fabrics a vividness of colour and texture which cannot be reproduced with chemical dyes. Experimenting with different traditional dyeing and resist-dyeing methods often involves a number of time-consuming and laborious steps. This painstaking work allows Kathrin von Rechenberg to obtain a variety of colours and textures and create one-of-a-kind fabrics and garments.

In each timelessly designed, hand-dyed and handcrafted piece you can feel its connection to thousands of years of history.