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An eclectic mix of exhibitions, bars, stores, spirits and stats.
HUE BET: Two special events promise to vividly brighten up the proceedings during fashion week this season. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, spring’s Hyères champ Satu Maaranen will show her award-winning Garment in Landscape collection in a catwalk show sponsored by Elle Germany on July 4, while Swiss men’s wear designer Julian Zigerli is teaming up with German megaartist Katharina Grosse.
Maaranen’s nature-inspired looks take cues from classic haute couture. Megahats, gloves gone grandiose and beyond-bold bows are matched with flowing coats, trim cropped trousers and straight skirts, all staged atop platform shoes made by merging shiny dress brogues and imposing wooden soles.
Almost everything in the Finnish designer’s collection is color-drenched with broad brushstrokes — expressionistic silk screen and digital prints splash onto silk, cotton and viscose encrusted delicately with sand, sawdust and grass, which adds volume and stiffness to rippling cuffs and hems.
Maaranen has a knack for pattern recognition — she worked for Finnish textile legend Marimekko for two-and-a-half years while finishing her degree from Helsinki’s Aalto University. Her experience also includes internships with traditional Italian fabric house Erica and Belgian designer Christian Wijnants.
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Prismatic play is also key for witty designer Zigerli. He’s returning to Berlin this summer to present a collaboration with Grosse, one of Germany’s most colorful contemporary artists. Her large-scale abstract works have livened up galleries and museums globally with their bright shades, massive shards, and undulating curves. Creating chromatic worlds, Grosse has previously used clothing in her installations — wedged in rocks and covered in dirt, then painted over with primary shades. And she wore a candy-colored Zigerli jacket to the opening of her current exhibition at Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center.
Zigerli’s spring collection, titled At the End of the World to the Left, finds the two color lovers teaming up for a rainbow that culminates in an off-site art-fashion presentation on July 2 at Cruise & Callas gallery in Kreuzberg. Models become human canvases, as Grosse’s sprays and splotches of paint turn into prints that enliven Zigerli’s layered sportswear cut from functional fabrics.
Julian Zigerli’s garments, known for their sweet humor and sporty chic, can also be found in Collect Showroom at Capsule, which runs July 2 and 3.
— Susan Stone
Garment in Landscape — Satu Maaranen At MBFW Berlin, Strasse des 17 Juni
NEXT: ‘Luxury of Fashion’ >>
THE REAL THING: In the early Sixties, when Lawrence Feldman started squirreling away directional pieces from his family’s Fior retail assortment each season, most people considered these treasures anything but. For in those days, “costume jewelry was called junk jewelry. Now people understand it’s an essential part of the applied arts in the fashion field,” the collector commented at the opening of “Luxury for Fashion.”
The exhibition at the Berlin Kunstbibliothek features almost 300 pieces of costume jewelry from 1950 to 1990 from the Fior Collection.
The Feldman family’s London-based jewelry business dates to 1892 with a first shop selling precious jewelry. In 1932, Feldman’s father, Sonny, decided to focus instead on costume jewelry and fashion accessories in a new store that thrived until the onset of World War II. He rebuilt the business after returning from active duty, opening an imposing Fior store in 1950 designed by Berlin émigré and Bauhaus-trained architect Werner Heumann.
Located in Burlington Gardens, it was an instant success, serving British and European royalty as well as film stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. The only costume jeweler to be granted a royal warrant, Fior also catered to the area’s shop girls, offering little items at 10 pounds alongside elaborate creations from the genre’s leading international producers.
These include Feldman’s “Big Five” — Marcel Boucher, Ciner, Mazer Jomaz, Panetta and Polcini from New York — as well as Providence, R.I.’s Trifari and Coro, and England’s Attwood & Sawyer, Alpha and Mitchel Maer, who produced Christian Dior’s jewelry collections from 1954 to 1956. Henkel & Gross in Pforzheim, Germany, went on to produce Dior jewelry for more than 50 years. (The Fior collection includes 900 Dior jewelry sets, compared to the Dior archive’s 50.) The collection also stars French and Italian haute couture jewelry from Louis Rousselet, Coppola e Toppo and Luciana.
Feldman, who joined the firm in 1959, said some early Fifties pieces his father had set aside were the catalyst for forming this private collection of 3,000 pieces and sets. But the true decisive moment came in 1961 with an exhibition of modern jewelry in London.
“I was looking at sculptures in miniature, which is what I consider all jewelry to be, whether real jewelry or costume,” he said.
From 1962 on, he bought back pieces from Fior each season, guided by the zeitgeist, he said, and what he thought was important rather than choosing his personal favorites.
The manufacturers were all family-owned companies that produced in their own studios and production facilities “with a passion equivalent to a Bulgari. These manufacturers were artists,” he declared, noting that much of the jewelry in his collection and on display in Berlin could never be made again. The cabochons used are no longer produced, the product is too labor intensive — not to mention that most of the companies are no longer in business.
Neither is Fior. If video killed the radio star, then blame fashion’s minimalist trend for the demise of the costume jewelry greats.
“Minimalism was a catastrophe for costume jewelry, and real jewelry, too,” he observed. “It wasn’t only because it reduced the style of the jewelry being made, but with small studs, you have to sell thousands, and that was boring, too.
“But in our case, it was the rents,” which increased by 100 percent every five years in Fior’s four London doors. In 2001, the three Feldman brothers and three of their children active in the business closed shop. The family still owns the Fior name, as well as an unparalleled collection of iconic costume jewelry.
— Melissa Drier
“Luxury for Fashion: Fine Costume Jewelry from the Fior Collection London 1950-1990.”
Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; through Oct. 6
NEXT: Tauentzien Tango >>
TAUENTZIEN TANGO: Tauentzienstrasse, which begins at Wittenbergplatz, where it’s anchored by leading German department store KaDeWe, and morphs into Kurfürstendamm just past Breitscheidplatz and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church, has long been Berlin’s most-well-frequented shopping stretch. With the exception of KaDeWe, which in the past few years has established itself as a luxury beacon, Tauentzienstrasse is more midmarket territory, housing domestic and international brands like Nike, Adidas, Zara, Mango, Bershka, Desigual, Vero Moda, Jack & Jones, H&M, Esprit, Quiksilver, Benetton, a slew of footwear specialists, German specialty store retailer Peek & Cloppenburg, and many more.
At 320 euros a square meter monthly (which translates to $475 a square foot annually), according to realtor and property consultant company Comfort, Tauentzienstrasse also commands the city’s highest commercial rents.
The German capital’s tourist boom and the recent renaissance of Berlin West, however, is adding even more wind to Tauentzien’s sails. This month, it witnessed the German debuts of two young fashion powerhouses, Forever 21 and Pull & Bear, not only on the same day, but sharing the same building.
The American chain moved into four floors and 36,000 square feet of a former book store at number 13 Tauentzienstrasse for its Forever 21, Forever 21 Plus, Love 21 and 21 Men’s collections. Pull & Bear, Inditex Group’s very Palm Springs-inspired guys’ and gals’ label, took a more airy and quirky interior design approach on two floors and 7,500 square feet. Neighboring to the left is H&M, while Levi’s — and the start of Ku’damm — is across the street to the right.
“We’ve never actually opened right next to Pull & Bear, but we’ve been next to everyone else,” noted Kristen Strickler, Forever 21 public relations and social media marketing manager. “It creates a synergy. Plus, we think we offer something different. Everyone has their niche.”
Uniqlo is slated to open its first German door in the former NikeTown premises farther down at Tauentzienstrasse 7b, while Nike is said to be moving into Esprit’s two-floor store at number 9. Esprit already opened a second store across the street at number 15.
Bigger still will be Upper West, a retail project of approximately 37,600 square feet now under construction on Breitscheidplatz, a few steps farther along Ku’damm. Due to open in 2016, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail will start officially marketing the project in the next weeks. The focus, said Andreas Kogge, national director and team leader Berlin, will be on “so-called high-street renters.” Observers said these could include the likes of Zara, Gap, River Island and Topshop, which reportedly has been actively seeking space in Berlin.
There’s been considerable activity at that junction already this year. The new chain from H&M, & Other Stories, opened its first German door in April; Berlin’s first Apple store opened in a former movie theater two blocks down in May, as did a fifth G-Star Raw Berlin door nearby.
NEXT: Spirits of Berlin >>
SPIRITS OF BERLIN: Berliners are going local when it comes to quenching their thirst for something special, as the recent spate of home-grown liquor brands illustrates. Part store, part bar, Our/Berlin vodka opened on Kreuzberg’s riverside clubbing stretch this spring. The vodka is distilled in the back room — definitely worth a peek in itself — whereas the potent drink, which is sold in large old-fashioned milk bottles at 13 euros ($17) a pop (for 350 ml., or about 12 oz.), deserves a front-row spot in any liquor cabinet. It is the first in a chain of Our vodka distilleries that will be set up in chosen international cities, and retains a local charm despite its financial backing by industry behemoths Absolut Co. and Pernod Ricard.
Vincent Honrodt is a Berliner who is also getting into the spirit. After successfully going against the grain by re-branding Korn — a traditional corn-based spirit — for a new generation, he recently launched a gin under his Berliner Brandstifter label (37 euros, or $49, for 700 ml., or about 24 oz.). Infused with a unique concoction of organic cucumber, elderflower and hollyhock flowers, it promises to hit the spot with eco-conscious Berliners as well as heartier gin fans.
“I wanted to create something that people will really enjoy, rather than just drink to get drunk,” said Honrodt. Brandstifter gin made its debut last month in Mitte’s King Size bar and Grill Royal restaurant.
The Schnapskultur store specializes in high-quality, hand-crafted spirits from around the world. Proprietor Dr. Thomas Kochan curates a “Berlin corner” that features brands he believes are worthy of “belonging to Berlin, both in terms of high quality and local production.”
Alongside beloved Berlin tipples Adler gin and vodka, which are distilled at the Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur in Wedding, his latest tip is Pijökel 55 (27.50 euros, or $36.50, for 500 ml., or 17 oz.), a Kräuterlikor, whose low sugar content and conservative list of ingredients are hand-crafted to create a sophisticated liquor.
Kochan didn’t have to go far to source it: Pijökel 55 is made by hand on a parallel street in Prenzlauer Berg by Henning Birkenhake and Gabriel Grote. The two friends started producing the liquor in 2010, following a recipe handed down by Grote’s late father, who was a pharmacist. With the dominant notes of ginger, cardamom and Ceylon cinnamon promising various health benefits, this is the clear choice for guilt-free drinking.
— Jessica Saltz
NEXT: Le Croco Bleu >>
BURLESQUE FANTASY: The Bötzow Brewery was once one of Germany’s largest private breweries with a capacity of about 5.5 million gallons of beer and 53,800 square feet of underground cellar space. The freshly renovated landmark, which will soon house a 200-person research center, already hosts art projects, culinary excellence from star chef Tim Raue in his latest eatery, La Soupe Populaire, Mario Hernandez Voigt’s Curry B and notable Berlin barkeeper Gregor Scholl’s new cocktail hot spot, Le Croco Bleu.
Infused with the melancholic industrial charm of a bygone era, machinery and nature meet in an offbeat way, with twisted apple trees as decoration, mushrooms as bar tables, local fauna in kitschy splendor, plus the bar’s two crocodile namesakes. The capital’s cocktail culture authority, Scholl serves up a varying selection of exotic cocktails from around the world such as the Prince of Wales (Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Dry Orange Curaçao, DOM Benedectine and Champagne); the Yuzu Mai Tai (Bacardi 8 Year, Appleton V/X, Rum Fire, yuzu, Dry Orange Curaçao, lemon juice, Yuzu-Almond Espuma); the Fairy Floss (Sazerac Rye, gomme, bitters, Absinthe-Fairy Floss), or the Frog (Ketel One Vodka, Ile Four Limited Edition Sake, cucumber, dried ginger, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer).
Le Croco Bleu
Die Bar auf Bötzow
242 Prenzlauer Allee
10405 Berlin (Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg)
Hours: Thursday to Saturday, from 6 p.m.
DRINKING AT HOME: Designed by Berlin’s Novono interiors, the idea behind the Bonbon Bar was to create a special place where people would feel relaxed, comfortable and almost like they were at home.
Every detail was well thought-out, including the bathroom lounge, which — aside from the bar — seems to be the rave. The drinks are the main focus, with a knowledgeable bartender making the most of quality ingredients. One notable drink is the Bonbon Mule, which is their passion fruit variation of the famous Moscow Mule. From Thursday to Saturday, live DJ sets from local and international artists will entertain those who can get beyond the doorman.
NEXT: Trust Bar >>
HITTING THE BOTTLE: If vodka is your religion, the reincarnation of the Trust bar is the place to worship. The bar features small (350-ml., or 12-oz.) bottles of vodka that are sold along with mixers, making you your own bartender. Located right under the S-bahn tracks in Hackescher Markt, Trust has maintained the same dark wood paneling and leather seating as its predecessor. The downstairs room, or the bathroom bar, as it is called, is enticing for those who are up for a bit of people-watching as Trust’s guests go in and out of the restroom.
10 Neue Promenade
10178 Berlin (Mitte)
Hours: Thursday to Saturday, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
SERIOUSLY GIN: The idea of a pure gin-and-tonic bar is the pet project of Bastian Heuser (Barworkz), Mario Green Fields (Rocco & Sanny, Amano Bar) and Sebastian Brack (Thomas Henry).
At G&T, the flavors and versatility of the classic drink is celebrated, along with a changing seasonal menu of carefully composed long drinks and cocktail variations. One such special offer is the infusion of tea with gin and tonic. Experimenting with different aromatics, such as tea leaves, turns each cocktail into a custom-made drink. Guests also have the opportunity to create their own gin-and-tonic blend.
Throughout the year, G&T will host a series of workshops, lectures and events around the theme of gin and tonic.
10117 Berlin (Mitte)
Hours: 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
MEZCAL TASTING: Located on the increasingly hip Torstrasse in Mitte, the shop Mercado San Cosme is like a typical Mexican market but with a more contemporary atmosphere. On hand are design products like bags, jewelry and ceramics, plus edibles including vanilla concentrate, agave syrup, jalapeños and mezcal — a drink made from a different type of agave, the plant from which tequila is distilled.
In the evening, the tasting room in the back offers 10 different types of mezcal for those interested in sampling this more artisanal and extremely power-packed spirit.
NEXT: Heidenpeters >>
BEEROISSEUR: That’s the term used to describe people with good taste and judgment regarding beer — and Johannes Heidenpeter is one. A Berlin artist by trade, he started brewing in his kitchen two years ago and became fascinated with the art.
His microbrewery sits in a small corner inside the Markthalle Neun — a newly redeveloped indoor market featuring local and regional wines, vegetables and organic foods. Heidenpeter’s microbrewery currently produces 500 liters of top fermented beer per brewing day. A one-man show, Heidenpeter designs, brews, bottles and sells his beer, which costs 2.50 euros ($3.30) by the glass and 4 euros ($5.30) for a 750-ml. (25-oz.) bottle.
In der Markthalle Neun
10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Hours: Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.
BELGIANS IN BERLIN: Herman is a beer lover’s paradise, especially for Belgian beer enthusiasts. Order a domestic pilsner from the tap, or try one of 100 different Belgian beers, such as a bottom-fermented lager or top-fermented ale, a Trappist or abbey ale, a Lambic or Gueuze, a Saison or India Pale Ale. There’s wheat or fruit beer, black-brown-red-amber-orange-golden-white colored beer, a rich malty dubbel or bright yellow trippel, organic or fair trade, clear or cloudy, pasteurized or unpasteurized, bottle conditioned or draft….The list goes on.
There’s a Belgian beer to suit every taste and preference, be it sour, sweet, fruity, roasty, floral, herbal or dry. And if you’re not sure, you can always ask Bart the “beerologist” to help find a favorite.
173 Schönhauser Allee
10119 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
Hours: 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.
NEXT: Top 10 Districts by Retail Purchasing Power >>
POWER STAT: The calculation of GfK Retail Purchasing Power for Germany takes into account expenditures on groceries and luxury food items; clothing; shoes and household items — including furniture, flooring, household electrical appliances, textiles, gardening articles and cleaning supplies — health and body-care items; education; entertainment (e.g., TVs, radios, books, photography supplies, magazines, toys and sporting goods), and personal effects (watches, jewelry, etc.). Purchases related to cars, fuel, services and repairs are not taken into account. GfK is a market research firm based in Nuremberg, Germany.
WWD converted euros into dollars at the exchange rate of 1 euro to $1.33; click on the graphic to enlarge.
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