Prep Party: Most store owners don’t celebrate an opening nine months before the fact, but that’s precisely what Karl-Heinz Müller did in a cavernous construction site on Berlin’s Kurfürstendamm Thursday night. The Bread & Butter chef and 14 oz. retailer is not only wagering a move to the city’s old west for his second multi-label 14 oz store, but has taken 6,500 square feet of prime space in the landmark Cumberland House on Berlin’s most designer studded stretch.
Müller pulled out the stops to convince his neighbors — such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent — that his isn’t just any jeans store moving into the neighborhood. And he also meant to show valued 14 oz. suppliers like Jason Denham and Trickers that there’s life beyond Mitte on Berlin’s trendy east side.
Borchardt’s catered, the Ruinart champage flowed, a slew of leather Chesterfield sofas dotted the bare concrete floors and vintage 50’s and 60’s photographs by famous German fashion photographer F.C. Gundlach hung from the revealed brick walls. The jazz combo Barfleas opened the musical menu, and surprise guest Helge Schneider — known for his unlikely croonings on such topics as cat litter boxes — amused before DJ’s Hell and Kaos took to the turntables.
Built in 1911-12 by Robert Leibnitz as an exclusive boarding house (complete with its own cinema), then turned into a grand hotel and later used as regional tax offices before standing empty for a decade, the Cumberland House is currently undergoing a complete renovation. Müller aims to have 14 oz. up and running by the next Fashion’s Night Out in September. As for the interior, Müller said many of the 200 international guests insisted “keep it like it is” — that is, palatial but rough and un-restored.
“I’ll have to check our architects’ contract and see what we can do. This party was expensive, but it may have just saved me a lot of money if we leave the space as it is,” he joked.