The Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Kunstbibliothek ‒ Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Mourn the Loss of Uli Richter


With the death of the couturier, Berlin has lost one of its most important fashion designers of the German postwar period. Uli Richter, born in 1926 in Potsdam, died in Berlin on 8 July 2021. He was 94.

Stations of a Great Fashion Designer

After training to become a textile merchant, followed by an apprenticeship at Modellhaus Horn in Berlin, Uli Richter became the head stylist and then managing director of Schröder & Eggeringhaus, starting in 1952. With the founding of his company, Uli Richter Modelle GmbH, in 1959, he would decisively shape trends in the German fashion capital well into the 1980s.

Richter’s credo “Less is More” expressed itself primarily in his unembellished designs and his unusual and exclusive material combinations. Uli Richter significantly modernised the look of German women. He also helped prominent female public figures associated with Bonn’s political arena, including Rut Brandt, to establish international images.

Richter was the first German fashion designer to develop a prêt-à-porter collection for a young audience, consequently opening up couture fashions to a broader target audience. When he became professor of “Experimentelle Gestaltfindung im Bekleidungsdesign” (Discovering Experimental Forms in Clothing Design) at the Hochschule der Künste (now the UdK/Berlin University of the Arts), he was able to pass on his long-standing knowledge to the next generation after the closure of his company.

Uli Richter’s Oeuvre at the Kunstgewerbemuseum and in the Kunstbibliothek

Uli Richter’s body of work is closely tied to the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts). As early as 2005, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) acquired his extensive fashion collection consisting of 660 original models, completed by some 500 accessories, for the Kunstgewerbemuseum, as well as photographs by leading 20th century fashion photographers, 11,000 collection drawings and archival materials for the fashion imagery collection at the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library).

The Kunstgewerbemuseum has shown the designer’s works in diverse exhibitions, most recently in 2016 in Uli Richter Revisited – Fashion Visionary, Teacher, Inspiration to mark his 90th birthday. Richter’s contribution to German fashion history is preserved at the Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Kunstbibliothek and will continue to be presented in future fashion exhibitions.

The Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Kunstbibliothek mourn the death of this exceptional man. His surviving relatives are in our thoughts.