New to the Team: Fashion Editor Madeleine Abeltshauser

Fashion editor Madeleine Abeltshauser is the newest team member at hey woman!

I went on vacation in September. 31 days. That’s nothing unusual in principle, except for maybe the length – and that I did it.

So while I was on vacation, taking tips and tricks to get a tan fast, lapping down ice cream (twice a day), thinking about things old and new, a marathon was taking place — #Fashionmonth, in New York and London, Milan and Paris. And while my batteries were constantly charging, my friends and colleagues would spend the coming four weeks set to power saving mode.

I left Munich in a daze at the end of August with a heavy suitcase and a heavy mind. Every beginning is difficult, and while my broken heart was trying to reconstruct exactly why I was packing it in again, I enacted a self-imposed fashion ban – no Vogue Runway app, scrolling through closed eyes my new method of Instagram posts and stories, my work phone laid to the side, my private email unspectacular. 31 days.

It was, in fact, a clever means to alleviate the pain of parting. But also to free myself, to experience something that hadn’t been there for a long time: freedom. Breathe in, reboot, stand still – I wanted to do all these things that clever people advise you to do when you’re changing jobs.

The first few days went really well. There was no reception or Wi-Fi – no land in sight. It certainly helped. I automatically checked my email at night (useless), caught myself unsuccessfully trying to open several apps, waiting for messages. Something. But no one got in touch. And then it really happened, the days and places sailed past me – New York Fashion Week, too. I didn’t notice. I really didn’t. It didn’t matter for the first time in many years, and that was nice.

London Fashion Week. I traveled on, waited, waited, waited. And one night I recaptured the internet, throwing my self-imposed principles overboard. I clicked through New York and London. But I did it consciously, taking my time and not rushing. I was delighted by Calvin Klein’s silk shirts and fringed bags, the romantic Brock Collection dresses, as well as the clothespin fastener on Christopher Kane’s red coat (was that intentional?) and Simone Rocha’s perfect location for her collection. So I decided to shape my radical measure into something super flexible. After all, I was really good at it.

Milan started a week later. Half-time.

My choice to switch from print to digital wasn’t a decision for or against anything. It was a desire to take a step in a new direction, the curiosity of moving completely out of one’s comfort zone. But also to adjust, to feel out where one’s currently standing. Being able to work for a big brand also always includes being a little protected – that’s the position I came to during my reflection period some months before.

I emotionally gifted myself Milan and let it be (I secretly consumed Instagram Stories at night). In retrospect, I was pleased with cannelloni as earrings and chick prints on dresses at Dolce & Gabbana. What a holiday can do to you. Too funny.

My first real fashion contact took place shortly thereafter. I was back in the big city for the first time in weeks. While my work colleagues, acquaintances, and friends were running their feet to the bone in Paris and getting to know the most absurd combinations of people (I kept an eye on all of that – it wasn’t fashion!), I was roaming through the streets of Madrid and happy to get reacquainted with garments I had hanging on the rack until the middle of the year for various photo shoots. I diligently explained to the sales staff that I already knew everything about it. Their interest in me quickly faded after it dawned on them that I was definitely not buying anything. Not now, and still not.

At the end of Paris, I was back in full (Céline: terrific, Balenciaga: funny, Saint Laurent: wow). But I also started thinking about what another two months not working would look like. I had discovered free time. At long last, so many afternoon activities that had nothing at all to do with work made me happy. That was met with incomprehension on the part of my partner, who couldn’t understand what was wonderful about being towed for the second time in the middle of the day.

The beginning of October. I packed my suitcase for the fall. Thoughts of all the things I had seen in Madrid came back: Was I crazy for not buying anything? I remembered my wish list for Fall/Winter and mentally added new personal must-haves (Isabel Marant, Loewe, Marc Jacobs). And I was annoyed about my terribly foreseeable color scheme (black, white, sometimes even red).

After 9,000 kilometers, the pain I felt in saying goodbye had given way to anticipation. My new life was almost there, long held ideas, expectations, and anticipation. But that’s what I wanted, after all.

And now I’m there. And it’s beautiful.

Translation: Melissa Frost

Madeleine is a fashion journalist. For as long as she can remember she has been passionate about fashion and accessories, in particular cashmere sweaters and jewelry. After five years of working at Vogue Germany’s fashion department in Munich, she decided to encounter a new challenge and move to Berlin. Her role at hey woman! allows her to combine her passion for styling, creative directing and writing. Madeleine is also good at imitating a Swiss accent and trying to be a cook.

©Phillip Schlegel