First it was the clubs. Then it was the stores. In the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was only one way to go if you wanted to be part of the action: east.
Over on the former east side of town, Friedrichstrasse and Gendarmenmarkt actively laid claim to a luxurious retail past, while the area surrounding Hackesche Markt successively developed into hipster central. The old west, and in particular, Kurfürstendamm or Ku’damm, as the central shopping boulevard is more popularly known, became old hat.
That doesn’t mean the majority of the big international designer names — including YSL, Chanel, Gucci, Cartier, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Jil Sander, Bulgari, Burberry, Porsche Design — already housed on the preferred six-block stretch of Ku’damm between Uhlandstrasse and Leibnizstrasse pulled out. Some simply opened second branches in the east, while others dug in their heels and/or hired Russian-speaking sales personnel to better cater to Berlin’s important new Nineties shopping clientele.
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