By  on January 10, 2012

Berlin is bursting at retail.

The wave of store openings continues unabated, powered in part by the city’s ongoing tourist boom. About 8.3 million visitors converged on the German capital in the first 10 months of 2011, an increase of 8.3 percent from the prior year. And as Berlin retailers will happily tell you, tourists don’t only tour — they love to shop.

There’s been a slight change in geography, however, and shoppers will be covering a bit more territory than in the past. While the Hackescher Markt area of Mitte (in the former eastern sector) remains the epicenter of shop opening activity, there’s more happening down the side streets and on formerly barren stretches like Linienstrasse. Indeed, Comme des Garçons will be opening shops under both its Black and Pocket monikers there this month.

At the same time, retail pioneer Andreas Murkudis has led a move to less traveled sites in the west. Then, too, former “Old West” strongholds like Kurfürstendamm are staging an energetic comeback, with even more top-notch Ku’damm openings from the likes of Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and 14 oz. slated for this year.


HACKESCHER MARKT

Anuschka Hoevener
Fashion designer Anuschka Hoevener gave up her first store on Prenzlauer Berg’s bustling Kastanienallee (“Chestnut Avenue”) only to plant a tree in the middle of her new shop on Linienstrasse. While the leaves aren’t real, the stem is — and it works perfectly as a second rack for assorted clothes and accessories such as mittens, a belted dress and a handwoven scarf. The move has also brought Hoevener closer to her customers. Her studio is not only situated at the back of the shop, the 1,076-square-foot space is also located in the gallery district, the neighborhood where most of her regulars work.

196 Linienstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Tel.: +49-30-4431-9299
Web: anuschkahoevener.de
Tuesday to Wednesday, 2 to 6 p.m., Thursday to Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.


Le Coup
With its pale pink facade and old-school lettering, Le Coup could be mistaken for a Parisian hair salon circa 1970. And while this addition to the Hackescher Markt neighborhood isn’t about hair, the Seventies aren’t far off when it comes to the shop’s emphasis on sky-high disco-era platforms. Owner Conny Stachowiak claims that Los Angeles shoe brand Jeffrey Campbell is the inspiration behind Le Coup’s selection, which includes Campbell’s patent and leather wedges. Other similarly striking models in the two-room store include Australian shoe brand Senso’s ikat print platforms and Minimarket’s thick profile booties. But watch your step — the stuffed peacock in the window is eyeing your every move.

16 Steinstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Tel. +49-30-6094-4813
Web: lecoupshoes.com
Monday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m., Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.


Sandro
Having done well at wholesale with corners in Berlin’s KaDeWe and Galeries Lafayette department stores, the French apparel brand Sandro decided to open its first German store on Rosenthaler Strasse. It’s become a favorite with out-of-towners, as well as Berliners looking for a Francophile break from the streetwear looks that dominate the neighborhood. In its 860-square-foot door, Sandro offers simple pieces with twists like red sweaters with white cotton collars or navy knit dresses with attached brooches. The men’s side is slightly more trend-driven, with plaid flannel shirts and navy wool baseball-style jackets spread over several racks as well as three marble and wooden tables in the center of this tube-shaped shop.

32 Rosenthaler Strasse, 10178 (Mitte)
Tel.: +49-30-2804-0340
Web: sandro-paris.com
Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


The Flag
Gentrification, a sociological buzzword in Berlin’s Hackescher Markt district, doesn’t usually come with architectural surprises, but The Flag, a venture between Eastpak and entertainment agency Styleheads, discovered one when moving into its new shop. The previous owners, a TV repair service, had hidden landmark-patterned tiles on the walls and the stuccoed ceiling behind a thick layer of cement. The new proprietors laid bare the old interior, incorporating it into the renovated decor.

Despite its affiliation with Eastpak, The Flag doesn’t shout “house brand.” Its assortment includes Eastpak’s classic Padded Pak’r styles, fanny packs and pieces designed in collaboration with Kris van Assche or Gaspard Yurkievich, but it also stocks other labels including Unconditional, Urbanears and Uslu Airlines.

26 Alte Schönhauser Strasse, 10179 (Mitte)
Tel.: +49-30-5448-9340
Web: theflag-berlin.com
Monday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


The Puppets
Focusing on niche and no-name labels, The Puppets might be considered an outcast in this brand-conscious part of Mitte. But co-owner Andreea Vrajitoru, who designs the Berlin label Adddress, has been a fixture on the local retail scene for a couple of years. Indeed, her Adddress shop is just around the corner from The Puppets, which carries pieces from that collection as well as Ava Berlin, Good Luck and Féminine from Paris, plus jewelry from the shop’s other owner, Theresa Brar. The models in the window, instead of standing, are hanging. Like puppets. Which also happens to be the name of the owners’ favorite band.

29 Alte Schönhauser Strasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Tel.: +49-30-8939-5578
Web: thepuppets.com
Monday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Shani Bar
The city’s Torstrasse is home to a few classic Berlin bars, but Shani Bar is something completely different. The namesake shoe line from Israeli designer Shani Bar melds classic shapes with feminine details like a solid oxford lifted from chunky to cute by its lipstick red coloring, and a flat black ankle boot with ring detailing that’s more mademoiselle than motorcycle. The Tel Aviv-based Bar, who trained in graphic design and photography, has two shops in her home city, but chose the German capital as her first international locale, saying, “Berlin is young, design-oriented, and never takes itself too seriously.” Her shoes, which aim to be well-designed, stylish, sexy and comfortable, might be a good match for the city’s worn-in sidewalks and capricious cobblestones. Prices run from around $178 to $340.

62 Torstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Tel.: +49-30-62-10-119
Web: shanibar.com
Monday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.


Hannes Roether
German designer Hannes Roether has opened his-and-her shops around the corner from each other in Rosenthaler Platz. Like Roether’s clothes, the rough and rustic stores blend country and industrial with sophistication. Casual but carefully cut garments in natural fibers hang on bead chains from ceiling hooks, and a beautiful piano stands ready for play, somehow not out of place amid the weathered walls and vintage telephones on display as decor. The women’s store adds in-wall window treatments as jewelry cases for small treasures, and the men’s shop features a back wall poster of a thinker, Hannes Roether-style — perfectly layered, wrapped and deep in reveries atop a vintage chair.

109 Torstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Hannes Roether for Women
6/7 Brunnenstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Web: hannesroether.de
Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Weekday

The Swedish chain opened its first Berlin shop on Friedrichstrasse about a year ago, and the response was strong enough to go for a second in the Hackescher Markt neighborhood.

Berlin-based architect-designers Gonzalez & Haase took a minimalistic approach to the store, which introduced Weekday’s redesigned interior concept. Wooden pallets, industrial fittings and simple garment rails put the accent on the clothes. These include Weekday’s new low-priced denim line, retailing for  around $40; its designer collaborations, including the current one with Belgian designer Bruno Pieters, featuring cropped suiting looks for around $80, and the popular Cheap Monday jeans line.

17-18 Neue Schönhauser Strasse 10178 (Mitte)
Tel.:+49-30-240-477-88
Web: weekday.com
Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Edsor
Berlin’s resident tie manufacturer — and Germany’s oldest — now has a flagship to call its own. The intimate, 950-square-foot store in the landmark Hackescher Hof complex showcases the Edsor palette of woven silk neckties, bow ties, knit ties, cummerbunds, pocket squares and now, socks. And Edsor’s young managing director and literal poster boy, Jan-Henrik M. Scheper-Stuke, is often on site to demonstrate the art of tie crafting.

Hackesche Höfe, Hof 2
41/42 Rosenthaler Strasse, 10178 (Mitte)
Tel.: +49-30-25-76-0717
Web: edsor.de
Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.


NEXT: Off the Beaten Track, West Sider >>

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

Andreas Murkudis
There’s no sign indicating its existence, and many a seeker has found himself at the wrong Tagesspiegel building. But the new store of Andreas Murkudis, Berlin’s king of destination shopping, has quickly established itself as the treasure trove of choice for those in the know.

Featured in Architectural Digest, Murkudis’ new 10,500-square-foot space in the former printing plant of the Tagesspiegel newspaper airily showcases fashion, accessories, beauty products, objects, furniture, books, schnapps and more from 100 designer and specialty brands. The common denominator, he said, is “quality joined with an aesthetic. And there has to be a story, something one can tell the customer. Great is not enough.”

77-87 Potsdamer Strasse, Haus E, 10785 (Schöneberg)
Tel.:+49-30-680-798-306
Web: andreasmurkudis.com
Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


F95
The Premium team’s retail window, F95, moved closer to home last fall, taking over what was once the ticket hall at the postal freight depot — also known as The Station, the site of Premium’s offices and exhibition halls. From its start in Friedrichshain six years ago, F95’s raison d’être has always been to “show how Premium works,” said show co-founder Anita Tillmann. “We don’t want to compete with our clients, but there are tons of little stores out there fighting to survive. We’re simply trying to give them some creative reorientation.”

Ninety-eight percent of the almost 100-brand assortment of men’s and women’s wear, shoes, accessories and lifestyle products have been culled from the Premium exhibitor palette. Or in the case of bicycles and chic cycling accessories, from The Station’s Berlin Bicycle Show.

4-6 Luckenwalder Strasse 10963 (Kreuzberg)
Tel.:+49-30-420-833-88
Web: f95store.com
Monday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Modulor
It’s an inspiration warehouse. Three floors and almost 65,000 square feet are packed with every type of art material — paper, plastic sheeting, packing material, hook, rubber bands, tiny trees for architectural models and more — for sale in an open, loftlike core.

There are also small studios and ateliers around the perimeter of the Aufbau Haus space on Moritzplatz, where 30 Planet Modulor partners have taken up creative residency. They include photo specialists, goldsmiths, mosaic craftsmen, wallpaper designers, carpenters and other artisans. There’s also a sewing studio where one can rent industrial machines by the hour or just learn the basics, plus design shops, a book store, and a creatively regional restaurant in the middle of Coledampf, the kitchenware emporium.

85 Prinzenstrasse, 10969 (Kreuzberg)
Tel.: +49-30-690-360
Web: planetmodulor.de
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Bless Shop Home

Bless closed its store on the bustling mini shopping stretch Mulackstrasse a year ago in order to prepare for something more personal — a shop on the third floor of a typically Berlin back house, in an apartment that used to be the home of Bless’ co-designer Ines Kaag. And a home it still is, because while there are shoeboxes piled up as towers in one corner, clothes from the current spring-summer collection hanging in the bedroom closet, Bless’ cable jewelry leading the way to the nearest socket, a fur hammock spread across the room, Bless bedding on the mattress and a Bless fabric chair to sit on by a large wooden table, there are just as many, strangely personal looking items in between. But those aren’t for sale, although some shoppers have already tried them on by mistake. They belong to Mira Schröder, the Bless resident who has moved into this home-turned-retail-concept in May in order to live, work and open her door to a steady stream of customers every Thursday.

60 Oderbergerstrasse, 10435 (Prenzlauer Berg)
Tel.: +49-30-2759-6566
Web: bless-service.de
Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m. and by appointment.

Mongrels in Common

Though still officially located in Mitte, for the uninitiated, Mongrels in Common’s little nook of a shop feels like it’s over the river and through the woods. Opened just before Christmas, the 250-square-foot space is a fitting showcase for designers Livia Ximénez-Carrillo and Christine Pluess’ hybrid thinking. For besides representing their signature masculine-feminine, casual-chic, romantic-urban stylistic blends, the store’s interior is outfitted with recycled — and reconceived — trash.

The planks of the white wood tables come from a former scaffolding, and the waving hanging rack was an old drain pipe. Customers have a good chance of being advised by the Mongrels duo themselves, because like many Berlin designers, their shop is located at the front of their atelier.

29 Tieckstrasse 10115 (Mitte)
Tel.:+ 49-30-280-95997
Web: mongrelsincommon.com
Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or by appointment.


WEST SIDER

Bershka
Inditex’s youngest fast-fashion chain Bershka made its German debut in Berlin, and its store on Tauentzienstrasse is one of the chain’s largest, filling more than 165,000 square feet on two floors. More than 6,000 fans signed up to attend the launch-day party via Bershka’s Facebook site, resulting in the most successful opening in the retail brand’s history (it started in 1998).

Bershka’s target 13- to 25-year-old gals and guys have continued to throng the store for its sport and streetwear ranging from about $5 for simple tops to $95 for winter coats. Color is key for the trendy looks, but green rules the roost. The Berlin location has an eco-concept that includes mannequins made from recycled plastic, efficient water and light usage, renewable energy and more — but prismatic fixtures and a lively light show in the escalator bank keep the green scene fun.

14 Tauentzienstrasse, 10789 (Charlottenburg)
Tel.: +49-30-2101-8411
Web: bershka.com
Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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