Zeh minutes. Johannes Boehl Cronau didn’t have much more to present his fashion label “ioannes” in July 2019 at the headquarters of the luxury online shop Net-A-Porter in London. So the fashion designer hastily pulled one garment after another out of a large bag; a ruched dress, a mesh pencil skirt, a flared coat that drapes with movement. “I was prepared for a real presentation and then I just banged everything on the table,” he says. “Then my slot was over, everyone said thank you. I sat in front of this mountain of clothes and thought, life won’t work out.”
It’s quiet in Boehl Cronau’s Berlin studio, the backyard location keeps the noise of Kreuzberg out. “Usually,” says the designer almost apologetically, “we listen to music all day long.” The autumn sun casts small patterns on the white curtains, as if to show what else is hanging here: dresses, skirts and tops with distorted floral prints and abstract brushstrokes, of which none other than Kylie Jenner is a big fan.
In 2019 Johannes Boehl Cronau founded his label “ioannes” (the name is based on Giovanni Bellini’s humanistic signature), and he now heads a small team. After stops in Paris, Antwerp and London, he has arrived in Berlin, at least for the time being. Boehl Cronau places two colorful Murano glasses on the cork-topped desk, the mood board is leaning against the wall, and samples, fabric samples and patterns for the next collection are hanging on a clothes rail. Net-A-Porter will also sell these online exclusively.
From Frankenberg out into the world
Boehl Cronau was born in Frankenberg in Hesse in 1989 and grew up in Bottendorf on the premises of the family business. “My mother had me young, at 23 years old. There was a time when we lived alone in my grandma’s house under the roof, stuffed with Marilyn Monroe posters. We subscribed to Vogue and always had girlfriends around the house. I think Cher’s “Shoop Shoop” song is my first sonic memory.” But it was all set in a village context. And Boehl Cronau wanted to get out into the world without knowing what he wanted from the world. After graduating from high school, he did an internship with an interior designer in Frankfurt, began a basic course in art at Parsons University in Paris, was interested in theater, film and performance and ultimately ended up studying fashion. Boehl Cronau loves research and can quote from Doris Day films as well as from Gottfried Semper’s clothing theory. “I’m interested in how a fabric conforms to the body when I tie a belt around it or shrug my shoulders like kimonos and Greek robes,” he says. “Substance defines the space in which a body can move.”
Boehl Cronau completed his bachelor’s degree with honors, completed an internship with Haider Ackermann, then studied women’s fashion for a master’s degree at Central Saint Martins College in London (whose alumni include Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, who died in 2010). “In Paris you learn a trade. In London, on the other hand, students are self-confident in their creativity. That challenged me. I’m not the type to glue fabric together with a spray gun.”