Berlin’s retail scene is on a roll, with international chains and brands multiplying their presence all over town. When Adidas, for example, was looking for a site for its first SLVR store in Europe, the brand chose Mulackstrasse in the hip Hackesche Markt area. Other new neighbors on this side of town include Barbour, which recently opened its second Berlin door on Alte Schönhauser Strasse, and Levi’s, which is moving into new digs on Rosa Luxemburg Strasse, as is G-Star on Linienstrasse. Escada and Boss are both heading back west with new Kurfürstendamm flagships slated to open in 2013.
This story first appeared in the June 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
At the same time the city is experiencing a new wave of independent retailing, featuring a creative mix of multibrand, mixed-genre and personalized concepts.
Here are seven of the city’s freshest shopping destinations.
Visual culture fans have been flocking to Gestalten in the Sophie-Gips-Höfe for a number of reasons. Among them, the Berlin publishing house’s 400 books touching on design, art, architecture, photography and other visually related themes, from new monographs on fashion designer Henrik Vibskov (by Henrik Vibskov), an investigation of brand experiences between pop-up and flagship retailers, to a reference book on animated information graphics or a look at the most current tattoo culture.
But that’s just the start. The loftlike space is filled with handpicked design objects that have graced some of the Gestalten books’ pages, including sundry monsters, a Doner Berlin card game, edible lacquer for cake decoration, Japanese bowls, avant-garde jewelry and contemporary ceramics. There’s also a gallery at the back, where nominees and winners of the Tokyo Art Director’s Club Award could be seen this spring, and illustrator Olaf Hajek’s newest monograph will be launched during Berlin Fashion Week.
— Melissa Drier
21 Sophienstrasse, 10178 (Mitte)
Hours: Sunday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“That’s the kind of shop I’d like,” thought Berlin photographer Jorinde Gersina after seeing an exhibition of the czar’s Wunderkammer, or Cabinet of Wonders, in Vienna. The wonder didn’t take shape for another 10 years, at which point her young adult children told her they’d go in on the project.
Their below-stairs shop, filled with “arts, antiques and little wonders,” has been attracting all manner of treasure seekers since opening its doors last fall. A veritable potpourri of objects old and new, much of the latter is sourced at Maison & Objet in Paris, as well as in Hamburg, Denmark and Dubai, where “you can buy objects from all over the world,” she enthused. Some featured finds: Egyptian mother-of-pearl boxes, Indian tooled leather scrapbooks, Florentine paper boxes, ostrich eggs on sticks, Indian embroidered chests, Panama hats from Ecuador and Danish ruched velvet throw pillows.
As befits any Wunderkammer, there are bell jars, protecting saints, scarabs, shells and such, plus feather quill pens or simply striped quills; antlers and horns, some decorated with a pastiche of buttons; old stuffed fawns and fox cubs, and vintage glass bottles, lamps, coffee canisters, and more. Also in stock: Eva Kantor’s flora and fauna painted furniture, Carolin Frydman’s shell jewelry and creations from other contemporary artists and designers, including Florian Borkenhagen, Georg Polke and Mark Borthwick.
53 Mehringdamm, 10961 (Kreuzberg)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The nomadic, cutting edge men’s shop has opened its latest version: Darklands 4.0. Located in a vast, white 7,100 square-foot former gallery space, Darklands now features a teaser women’s department.
“The new space allowed us the room to do so. After eight years of carrying men’s only, I was again excited about buying women’s items,” said owner Campbell McDougall.
The formal introduction of women’s will come this fall, offering a series of Berlin exclusives, such as Carol Christian Poell, MA+, A1923, MarvieLab, Lumen et Umbra, Munoz Vrandecic, Goti, Ugo Cacciatori, Nora Renaud Adal, all similar in mind-set and aesthetic to Darkland’s men’s ranges. Art installations will change each season, and right now, there’s a bewitching and giant web of string geometrically aligned and suspended from ceiling to wall by Paris based designer and artist Yohan Serfaty.
The store’s aural landscape is equally critical and integral to the Darklands experience. McDougall personally selects all the music on his ever-changing and directional playlist. “Being based in Berlin, of course techno and electronic music have had a large influence on me during the last five years.” One of his current favorites: Ben Frost, whom he saw play live at the last Transmediale Festival.
— Norma Quinto
46-52 Heide Strasse, Building 7, 10557 (Tiergarten)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.
In German, Adrett means “dapper” and this small but well-curated shop is doing its best to help its customers look put-together in a modern way.
The brands lining the unrestored vintage plaster-work walls are a who’s-who of Berlin and Munich’s finest up-and-comers in men and women’s wear, among them Raphael Hauber, Esther Perbandt, So Popular, Franzius and Patrick Mohr. An antique display case holds accessories, eyewear and jewelry from Funk Optik and Sous Schmuck.
The store’s owners sought out a classic, even slightly old-fashioned German word for their business, and decided to keep the accent on local talent for merchandise, as well.
“We wanted to give international customers something that isn’t available, for example, in Copenhagen,” said shop co-owner Thorsten Behrendt, who also owns Prenzlauerberg’s chic cafe Marietta.
To welcome and accommodate MBFWB and trade fair visitors, Adrett will stay open until 10 p.m. during fashion week, and plans special sales and offers.
— Susan Stone
23 Weinbergsweg, 10119 (Prenzlauer Berg)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.
ATELIER RENE TALMON L’ARMEE
Nestled among art galleries, the new jewelry shop Atelier René Talmon L‘Armée is a hidden gem. Housed in what served as a butcher shop in GDR times, the space has nonetheless retained some of the original charm of the 1840’s building, including beautifully gilded molded ceilings.
Mathias Kiss designed both this and René Talmon L’Armée’s first store in Paris, which are built around atemporal and stylistic references such as dark blue walls, antique wood drawers and in one room, classical “Pointe de Hongrie” parquet flooring.
“I want people to come in and feel really cozy in my shop,” said the designer, master goldsmith and Berlin native.
Completely handcrafted with a hammer and his old-fashioned tools, Talmon L’Armée’s jewelry is made primarily of oxidized sterling silver mixed with 18-karat gold, rubies, opals, and black, naturally colored and raw diamonds. Men will find silver crocodile print embossed bracelets and oxidized silver dog-tags, while popular for women is a plain 18-karat yellow gold ring with the inscription “amour,” and big silver cuff in a hand-embossed crocodile print.
Women’s jewelry starts at $125, men’s at $185, with individual pieces and special editions running from $435 to $6,500.
109 Linienstrasse, 10115 (Mitte)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.
Berlin’s resident mad-hatter Fiona Bennett has literally opened up the notion of a shop atelier. Two specially outfitted hatmakers have been installed in a section of the 65 feet of windows of her new Potsdamer Strasse shop to allow spectators see just how much craft goes into the production of her signature headgear. Bennett’s retail vision in white is a fitting neighbor to the many art galleries that have moved to this avenue-in-flux, not to mention Andreas Murkudis’ concept store located in the courtyard behind.
The 1,075-square-foot room is all white. She and her partner Hans-Joachim Böhme whitewashed assorted objects, like the wood chairs with feather-shaped backs or the two life-sized lady candelabras, while the custom wood floor by artist Barbara Carven incorporates elements from Bennett’s previous ateliers, such as slices of hat forms or a piece of an old work table.
It’s the hats that have center stage. There are men’s silk-lined Panamas in new woven patterns jutting out from one wall, and ladies’ black creations such as a lace turban — lingerie for the head, Bennett suggested. Brad Pitt’s favorite Malcolm cap is on hand, as are women’s broad-brimmed copper cinnamé straw hats, plus knitted styles from the Kiss by Fiona Bennett collection, and her special high-end millinery collection peeking out from circular insets in the wall that customers are invited to try on in a special private room.
81 Potsdamer Strasse, 10785 (Schöneberg)
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What began as a temporary pop-up store has taken root — at least until February, in its current brick-and-mortar form — and much longer as a philosophy and practice, the Upcycling team hopes. The store takes its name from the term “upcycling,” which is all about converting leftover textiles, apparel and assorted waste into new items of value, such as the Austrian label Milch’s pants, dresses and skirts — which are not culottes but rather skirts fashioned out of men’s pants, the waistband and sometimes ticket pocket appearing at the hem.
Another example is the Upcycling quartet’s own brand, Aluc, which creates shirts and pants out of fabric remnants sourced in Austria. Then, small items like cell phone covers and change purses are made from the production run’s scraps. Or Berlin designer Daniel Kroh’s one-of-a-kind men’s jackets tailored from old work clothes to create looks like a well-shaped jacket splattered with paint. Priced around 400 euros, or $500 at current exchange, “they’re not so cheap,” said Upcycling’s Luise Barsch, pointing to Kroh’s jacket in the window. “You have to think twice about whether to buy one or not. But that’s the idea.”
Added partner Carina Bischof: “These are pieces to live with for a long time.”
77 Linienstrasse, 10119 (Mitte)
Hours: Monday to Saturday,
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.