Rita in Palma - Haute Couture in Neukölln
When Vogue Germany's editor-in-chief decides to drop by your studio in Neukölln, rest assured that it means something. Thinking of Christiane Arp's visit still makes shop owner Ann-Kathrin Carstensen nervous.
Rita in Palma's premises reveal themselves room by room. Reminiscent of a giant jewelry box, they're filled with whimsical and unique creations and as if that wasn't enough, the space hosts a studio and a crocheting workshop for Turkish women, too. Jewelry and other accessories are staged on precious hangers and in glass vitrines, all Ann-Kathrin's designs hand-made in Berlin.
Born in Hamburg, Carstensen first started out in Med school, but decided to drop out and move to Berlin to pursue a career in fashion design. Rita in Palma is a dream project of hers, proving to the fashion world that haute couture can actually fuse creative and social components and leave behind all clichés of a superficial industry.
The upcoming weeks will also be crucial to the next move: samples are sent to maestro Karl Lagerfeld to possibly get him onboard as a potential commissioner for the Turkish seamstresses. No easy endeavour, but if you've seen Rita's pieces you know everything is possible.
In 2012, on top of it all and completely separate from the fashion label, Ann-Kathrin Carstensen launched Rita's Chrocheting Club in order to give Turkish women in Berlin a shot at an independent career path. This social and economical innovation did not go unnoticed and received the Chancellor's Special Award.
German Text Constanze Hallensleben