SHOPPING in Berlin:
The Michalsky fashion show was once an essential part of the Berlin Fashion Week in Bebelplatz and the name is not to be forgotten. Admittedly, the Michalsky-StyleNite, booked as the highlight of the Berlin Fashion Week 2009, didn't quite go down as planned. Hilary Swank, Milla Jovovich, Matt Dillon and Wolfgang Joop snuck out to the Grill Royal restaurant quickly after a disappointing show.In our opinion, it couldn't have been the collection on show, apart from the fact that Michalsky has almost become too wearable for the big, wide catwalk. Since 2008, Michael Michalsky's latest collections have been paraded in his boutique store at Monbijouplatz. His labels MICHALSKY, M-67 Michalsky Jeans and MICHALSKY-Eyewear are being sold to fashion-conscious Berliners. The setup of the store reminds one of Paris and Haut Couture. On the other hand, the fashion on sale is rather casual, a bit sporty and almost fit for everyday life. Of course there is also something for the big appearance: gorgeous flowing evening dresses.
We can imagine that Mr. Wolfgang Joop doesn't need to watch his hard-earned pennies anymore. Nonetheless, the fashion tzar has brought another label to the market. Lazing about doesn't come into question for the master of fashion: in the blink of an eye the master has whipped another cencept out of his non-existent top-hat.'Wunderkind' is the name of the latest label to come from Joop, which has allowed the designer to design himself anew. The creations are new and feminine, mostly straight, rarely frisky and somehow unbeatable.The new collection is also quite expensive and so maybe there's a bit more sense and pleasure to be had in searching through the vintage Joop collections. It's the sort of stuff that true fashion-victims wouldn't be seen dead wearing, but perfect for those that appreciate classic fashion, even if it's a few seasons old. The ambience here is almost as noble as the flagship store on the Markgrafenstrasse, where the latest collections are to be found.
Lozek + Stütz
Is your apartment shabby? It doesn't have to be. A step in the right direction would be a visit to the Lozek & Stütz showroom. The two revered interior designers don't just know what looks good, but also where it should be placed. They are the masters of design.They are both passionate out-fitters and fashion collectors, which met at - you guessed it - a house-warming party. Alexander Stütz is responsible for the unusual, eccentric solutions - which he learnt rather well during his days as Anne Maria Jagdfeld's assistant. And his partner, Claudia Lozek is responsible for matching colours to forms for that perfect look.The duo have a unique synergy, which results in the Prenzlauer Berg showroom being something quite special. How this could transfer to your apartment, is really up to you. Wall decorations, antiques, the strange and the beautiful, it's all here along with fabrics, furniture designs, one-offs and art pieces. The one thing you can forget after having Lozek and Stütz redesign your apartment is the house-warming party- it would be too much of a shame!
SIGHTS in Berlin:
Off we go to the Grunewald and to its highest point at 115 metres: the Teufelsberg (devil's mountain), an elevation that was made from WWII debris and attracts walkers, mountain bikers and kite-flyers to the fresh open air in summer and cross-country skiers in the winter. The view is great, covering the area surrounding Berlin and it's city skyline. And this is very reason why this place was once a spy post. During the cold war, the Americans and the British used to position their listening devices here. Every now and again curious ones stumble into the dilapidated facility, even though it is prohibited and officiall cordoned-off.It looks like the building permission expired here, as a considerable apartment and hotel complex was once in the works, along with David Lynch's aspirations for a university and meditation centre. Thankfully nothing became of these plans and the Teufelsberg remains wild mountain territory, apart from the local vineyard. Those who are searching for a green space to recharge their batteries should definitely do it here. A small tip: don't forget to bring your swimming gear, as you will pass by the Teufel lake on the way up the mountain. But if you do forget them, don't worry, as the naturist community also has a good presence.
Please don't touch? You won't hear this sentence in the DDR Museum. There aren't any national treasures stored in showcases, but rather exhibits that are there for you to touch so that you can experience history for yourself. The interactive museum is a lot of fun, but it also calls for visitors to consider how life really was in DDR times. It wasn't just sunny trips in Trabi wagons and plattenbau apartment blocks, but also surveillance, fear and chocolate substitutes. So that you understand how it went, take a seat in the living room of a plattenbau apartment, but watch what you say as someone will be listening. The musuem answers the call of the DDR-nostalgia boom that Berlin has experienced in the last couple of years. The collaboration of historians has however pushed the nostalgics to the side, as this museum provides an objective and true version of the story. The exhibition pieces come from all areas of life; the home, work, recreation, holidays, fashion and culture and are nothing more as the left-overs from old DDR households. But today the kitchen cupboards are anything but private here in one of the most innovative museums in the world.
A Stoll Along the
It may not sound like it belongs to a typical holiday, but it is certainly an impressive experience. So take some time to stroll along the old Berlin Wall, well, what is left of it. So start at Checkpoint Charlie, a museum full of interesting exhibits illustrating the story of the wall, its fall and the innovative fugitives that escaped to the west. Armed with knowledge, take a walk along the wall and have a think of the events that once took palce here.The longest surviving stretch of the Berlin wall is found along the Mühlen Strasse and has been painted by more than 100 artists from around the world. Over 1300 metres in length, it serves as a great guidepost and the largest open air gallery in the world. The paintings on the wall are not grim, but rather brightly coloured and speak of the great enthusiasm artists met the opening of the wall with. Don't forget to bring your camera!
EAT in Berlin:
A pinch of Russia somehow belongs to a trip to Berlin. For those that haven't visited the Russian disco at Café Burger or don't have a Vladimir Kaminer novel in their backpack have their last chance at experiencing the Russian style here at Gorki Park! Everything is approached with the Russian couldn't-care-less attitude here. The service team is everything but nimble, yet they are friendly and Russian! The music is Russian, as well as the food and the beer. This is reason enough for students and artists to dub this place their second home, be it either for a látte, a beer or a vodka to finish off the week. There are twelve different Vodka sorts on offer here, but a sampling of all is only recommendable for the hardened types. There's a Russian trick to vodka drinking: Always a bit to eat with every shot, at best a vinegar gherkin! Only by following this strict rule will your head remain somewhat clear and you will therefore have a chance at making it to breakfast the next morning. The breakfast here is legendary, particularly the brunch offered on weekends.
If the Royal Grill is a bit too suave for you, then this is the best alternative barbeque location Berlin has to offer. It's not so dazzling, but rather relaxed, a legend in it's own right and it boasts an idyllic garden. In the middle of Kreuzberg, in the middle of Viktoriapark and right in the middle of the field there is space for over 100 guests spread over two floors.One quick view of the massive grill and there's no doubt that there is enough meat to go around for everyone. On a clear summer evening, it's advisable to grab a spot at around 4pm. That way you will have some space to yourself, at least for an hour or so.The clientele here show two different faces; laid-back and dynamic. From the Kreuzberg original, business men to students, anyone could be your neighbour at a table. So order a 'Berliner Weisse' beer, along with some sausage, meat and potatoes. As you will see, there's everything here for a great evening in Berlin.
Are you one of those die-hard soup fans who cannot pry themselves away from a bowl of the hot stuff, even on a 30 degree day? No? Then after a visit to Susuru you might be showing up to the recruitment office of this exclusive club.Susuru is Japanese for slurping, which although is not the most welcome tone at the dinner table in Europe, is seen as a compulsory excercise in Japan. If you appreciate your soup, then it is customary to show this by slurping. There's soup with noodles, with seeweed, shrimps, spices, with mini pastries - yes, with pretty much anything that is fresh and fits into a soup pot. A real highlight is the Ebi Kimchi Udon with crispy fried shrimp.Those who can't find the savour in a bowl of flavour should nibble their way through the starters menu. Even at a table of soup-freaks, anyone should be able to find a place. The decor is bright and friendly, the epitome of modern Asian design. Service comes around round tables and round benches, or you can opt for the high bar stools at the counter. Japan goes Berlin Mitte.
STAY in Berlin:
We are all allowed to enjoy a bit of luxury every now and again aren't we? If you have the same opinion as we do, then stop off at Hotel Amano. There's now showing off here, but rather an exercise in elegant restraint, with a touch of gold against warm grey tones. The hotel is located in the beloved Rosenthaler Strasse and was designed by the designer team Büro Gold. The ladies and gentlemen in the team went all out in the lobby and all shared spaces whilst the rooms and apartments are decorated in a calm, dignified manner: black, white and red feature in the rooms, but nothing more, which provides the perfect ambience after a day in the colourful city of Berlin. And you will never get bored in this hotel, as there is a fantastic view of the Berlin skyline from the roof terrace. And experience the unique sense of space in the restaurant, where the walls give way to giant windows. DJ Daniel W. Best and Alex Gallusheld add grooves to the comfortable bar on Wednesday evenings. One night in a double room is available from 95 euros.
The Arte Luise is a design hotel, and a comfortable one at that. The classical building, built in 1825, inspired its two (at the time) young ownrs to model a hotel of the Chelsea, which was always a favourite dig for artists and literati. And there's high expectations here, as the rooms are designed by creative minds of varying origins; such as Cologne, New York and the Berlin College of Arts. Rooms hold their decor for a maximum of three years before being stripped-out and totally redesigned. But be warned, for the purposes of pondering it could be a tad too loud in some of the rooms. So for those who don't work like Bukowski, then ask for one of the calmer rooms - there's a few of them. One night in a double room can be had from ? 79
When a hotel opens its doors between the record label Universal and the music channel MTV, then it should please people from the music industry. The New Yorker Karim Rashid, the fanciest popstar from the design scene was signed on to provide for the right vibe in the four stars plus design hotel. His funky world of forms welcomes the guest already at the front desk. There's a lot of pink, gaudily coated lifts and graphic works that wriggle through the rooms along the walls and floors up to the pink bedclothes. In the 304 rooms and suites, you find organically shaped partitions with integrated flat screens and indirect lighting. If you want to play music, go to one of the in-house recording studios or use the room service and order a guitar. P.S.: Not only people from the music industry are excited!