01/18/2012 11:37 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT

Berlin fashion week begins: Austrian designer's collection reflects hard times

BERLIN - Berlin's twice-yearly Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has opened its doors, with an Austrian designer giving her collection a low-key look at a time when Europe faces economic gloom.

The Berlin event, running Wednesday through Saturday, is seen as one where young designers who might struggle to get noticed in traditional fashion centres can highlight their creations.

Austrian designer Lena Hoschek, known for vintage looks centred on the 1940s and '50s, gave her collection a new note of simplicity reflecting the financially troubled times.

She said: "The design of my creations (is) simpler and cheaper, although my creations here might be not cheaper, but at the least the shape of my collection is more low-key."

Hoschek's was one of the first shows at the event near Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate.