This is the question most often asked of me, the designer and creater of the brand Mava Lou – Christiane Bär. And most of the Mava Lou shoppers are a bit surprised at my reply:
And that's simply the way I grew up. Dancing was something that was simply done in my family. Until today, I still picture my parents as the wildest and most talented dance partners there could be.
Either with my dad in waltz time on parquet floors or floating across our living room floorboards, dancing was a deep teenage passion. Today I have fun at basic Salsa Milongas, I can be found at the occasional club rocking on the dance floor, and have even tried Texas Two-Step and Country Line Dance courses (it looks easier than it is). And yes, Discofox as well. I design Tango and Salsa outfits as I take total inspiration from their spirit. As a fashion designer, I could also rise to the challenge of designing, oh, say, motorcycling apparel – it just doesn't float my boat. Tango, Salsa, dancing – this moves me to design stunning garments for the dance floor.
Not so long ago, I spent a considerable number of years building and leading a successful label for maternity fashions. Although this label was a success in every measure and found retailers across Europe, I was itching for a new challenge and new direction. A few currents drew me towards dance and dance fashions, specifically to Tango Argentino and Salsa.
I was fascinatined by the outfits worn by the female dances of Tango Argentino: everything from jeans and T-shirts to the most elegant cocktail dresses. Anything and everything that could be worn. With certain outfits one could just know it was designed for dance and/or Tango.
An idea quickly took hold in my mind – a new line of garments which would not only look good on a Tango dancer, but whose cut and design would purposefully enhance and gracefully accentuate the movements of the dancer.
And that was the inspiration to design Tango fashions.
In April 2011, a mere four months after the idea was hatched, Mava Lou’s inaugural collection was presented in a danced fashion show in Berlin. The combination of elegance and femininity with lasciviousness and playfulness proved a winning formula. To reach all dance-crazed women across Germany with this new collection, Mava Lou was made available in an online shop.
Not long after we moved our German production facilities from an atelier in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg to our own Mava Lou shop and studio in the heart of Berlin’s Kreuzberg. Here customers can come in and browse the collection personally, get the best advice and more importantly, to slip into Mava Lou fashions! Fittings allow our customers to experience the feel of wearing Mava Lou and how the garments sit and move.
As the business grew so did the number of requests to find Mava Lou in new outlets.
In Autumn 2012, Mava Lou became available in the Tango store “Bandoneon” in the heart of Dusseldorf, as well as in Zurich, Switzerland at ‘El Social’.
Our selection in Berlin has broadened to include Argentinian and Italian Tango and Salsa shoes and our customers can outfit themselves now from head to toe with one visit in our shop.
Our online offer is comprised primarily of Mava Lou basics, in response to our customers wishes. In our Berlin shop, as well as in Düsseldorf, Munich, Konstanz, Zurich and Innsbruck we offer our beloved and unique one-offs: individual creations, such as skirts with intricate handworkmanship or overalls with bold and expressive patterns, garments as either a one-time creation or severely limited edition.
You can catch a glimpse of how these Mava Lou individual one-offs are created in our short Mava Lou Film:
Our first and foremost consideration in the design process, alongside the feminine appearance, is the ‘Wellbeing Factor’. This important ingredient is born of the garments graceful movements which compliment the dance.
Dancers feel relaxed, attractive or just feminine-sexy with the proper outfit that glides with every movement or snuggles against the body.
I make it my mission to not only design for the Mava Lou customer who has been in dance training for years or are professional dancers with perfect figures; Mava Lou is made not simply for models, but for every woman who wants to be beautiful when taking a twirl on the dance floor.
In Germany, dancing is a growing and expanding activity, regardless of age, figure or degree of fitness.
‘Social dancing’ grows steadily, and in the larger cities dancing is an activity that binds friends and partners.
Accordingly I design Mava Lou collections to appeal to all women – regardless if they've spent decades hitting the dance floor or simply taking their first step on the dance parquet.
For this reason, Mava Lou is available from size XS to size L.
And for the sheer joy of dancing and movement, Mava Lou designs include daringly backless dresses, trousers with alluring slide slits which reach the thigh, shirts with generous sleeves and knee-length dresses.
The collections are also designed for women who simply want to cut an elegant and feminine figure and are not overly concerned with dance or music. This is proven by the women who amble by our shop in Berlin and are attracted inside by our window, as well as our shoe-shoppers who end up outfitting themselves in a Mava Lou dress – no dancing factored in.
With an eye on the future, and as the designer and proprietor of Mava Lou – together with my team – I'll be working to enlarge our selection and to meet out customer’s wishes. To that end we are expanding our collection of unique one-offs and are aiming to make them available online. Our marketing plans have for some time included making Mava Lou available to European and international markets, and it is with proud satisfaction that Mava Lou now is online in English!Christiane Bär