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Jessica Joffe’s Berlin

Since everyone we know has already moved, will move or is thinking about moving to Berlin, because it’s cheaper, younger, cooler, more expansive, historically more loaded, totally rogue, more German, and has better social welfare and baked goods, let’s look into what this city has to offer before you pack your bags.

When our pal JFK announced in 1963 “Ich bin ein Berliner,” half the world (well, half the German speaking world, smart alecks that they were) responded that JFK has unwittingly called himself a jelly donut. A “Berliner,” it went, is a deep-fried, sugar-powdered and jam filled yeasty bread product. What they failed to recognize is that only in Northern Germany – in Hamburg for example – is this morsel called a Berliner. In Munich it is a Krapfen and in Berlin it is in fact a Pfannkuchen. This should give you an indication of the German spirit: generally knowing everything a little better than you do, even when they don’t… And obsessed with carbs.

What Berlin has, aside from Berliners (of the bread and human variety) is a plethora of stores, museums, galleries, and wonderful restaurants you can spend all your time exploring. And because Berliners have a —shall we say— more relaxed attitude to work, you really can!

Shopping:

The most iconic and arguably one of the best luxury stores in the world is Andreas Murkudis. At this point Murkudis has a cluster of different shops around Berlin that cater to different customers and desires, but this 11,000 square foot concept store in the former offices of the Berliner Tagesspiegel is an exhibition space, design store, one off luxury purveyor and chocolate merchant. Most retailers are brought to their knees by Murkudis’ spectacular eye, unwavering taste levels and quietly forceful demeanor.

A former Murkudis manager opened MDC Kosmetik, a perfectly curated and lovely beauty shop tucked away on a side street in the still-hip neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg and carries some of the best and hardest-to-find beauty products in the world, some of which I’ve written about on this blog. Beauty treatments are also available, and if there’s something we all know about us Germans it’s our meticulousness.

Berlin is known for the tiny, specialty stores that line its streets. DSTM, which stands for Don’t Shoot the Messenger, is the brainchild of expat Jen Gilpin, whose husband Maxime Ballesteros is the wonderful and cheeky Purple Magazine photographer. Everything in the store is black, and Jen works black leather and silk experimentally to create a sculptural and sensual collection of pieces you can wear privately or publicly. Under a wrap dress her daring tights are just the thing.

Of course, if you’re running out of DVF, there’s always French department store Galeries Lafayette, where the stunning resort collection is just waiting for you to give it a home.

One of my favorite home stores ParkHaus, also in Mitte, has a stunning selection of useful and useless home goods. Beautiful and unusual antiques are dotted through the store alongside taxidermied crows, porcelain cobras, hand-carved chopping boards, miniature pianos, a highly curated section of children’s books and mustard yellow macraméd poufs. It is about as eclectic as the city itself and I never leave the store without finding at least one essential item to take with me (see: porcelain cobra).

Eating:

Since we’ve done enough shopping for one lifetime, the second most important thing to do is eat.

Berlin is home to some of the most adventurous restaurants in Germany that you’d almost forget the real stalwarts like Borchardt. Reopened in 1992 this 150-year-old former delicatessen purveyor to Kaiser Wilhelm is now the only place one might ever consider for an honest Schnitzel, people watching and a four-hour lunch. The simplest meal is often the best. This isn’t a Viennese Schnitzel, this is the real Berlin deal, hammered paper-thin and served with a spoonful of currant jam and roast potatoes, it is truly irresistible (unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case there is a chocolate shop across the street).

On the newer end of the spectrum is Crackers. Open for little more than two months in the legendary Cookies nightclub space, it promises to be everything one could hope for and more: local food in brave new iterations, excellent music and NO CLOSING TIME Tuesday through Saturday. Berlin at its finest.

If you, like me, are primarily concerned with the excellence of German bread, go no further than the Hofpfistere (literally: the Royal Baker) where you will find the holy Berliner/Krapfen/Pfannkuchen and the finest, most organic, sustainable and TASTIEST bread in the known universe.

Cultivation:

If Berlin has anything in abundance, it’s museums. It even has a MUSEUM ISLAND! It’s hard to pick favorites but two museums I never miss visiting even if I am only in the city for 24 hours are the Pergamon Museum and the Kupferstichkabinet.

The Pergamon Museum houses two of the most impressive artifacts: The Pergamon altar, excavated by German archeologist Carl Humann and then transported piece by piece from Greece to Berlin between 1878 and 1886, the structure is 35.64 metres wide and 33.4 metres deep. It is one of the most breathtaking monuments of Ancient Greek civilization to behold. Once you leave the alter room you move through a reconstruction of the Gates of Ishtar, the 8th Gate to the inner city of Babylon, a wonder in blue, and equally breathtaking. The scale of both pieces makes this museum a never-dulling experience.

The Kupferstichkabinett, the museum of drawing and prints, is an altogether less overwhelming experience, featuring drawings by the great German artist Albrecht Durer, Sandro Botticelli’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy and a host of others including Kirchner, Rembrandt, Breugel and Warhol.

If you’re after contemporary art, and its purchase, no better place to go than Blain Southern. Harry Blain and Graham Southern, former CEO and director of London’s Haunch of Venison gallery, opened this Berlin outpost in 2010 in the same compound as Andreas Murkudis. With an arsenal of artists and estates that include Lucien Freud’s and Lynn Chadwick’s as well as living artist Mat Collishaw and artist duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster, you will want to make sure to save enough money after your AM spree to get your hands on at least one or two spectacular pieces.

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Neutral Territory:
Weekday Separates

Between Atlanta, Scottsdale and the Grove in LA, our newest shops have the DVF team traveling to some wonderfully mild locales. For a nod to winter that’s still weather (and office) appropriate, we favor classic silhouettes, like the Lorelei button up in a neutral, modern floral, the Bethany pump in luxe umber suede, and the mid-length Gemma skirt. A Voyage tote adds a luxe finish, or pick up a Chinese New Year clutch to go day-to-night, with a touch of good luck!

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Love Diane:
The Month of Renewal

January is the month of renewal, New Year’s resolutions… eat better, exercise, meditate etc… It is cold in many places (though some people rush to the sun) and we can’t wait for Spring clothes to arrive in the stores. It is also the month when everyone thinks of movies, the Globes, and the Oscar nominations. Who will win: Theory of Everything, Whiplash, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Selma, The Imitation Game, Into the Woods? Keira, Emma, Meryl, Marion, Emily, Julianne, Reese? And what will they wear? Stylists are courted by designers, members of the Academy by the studios. LA is in the air… America and its modern glamour remind me of the South of France when I was a little girl… the center of glamour then: Brigitte Bardot and the gingham, Picasso and Matisse ! All of that was the inspiration of my Spring collection, Riviera… I have put gingham everywhere: dresses, skirts, pants and even gingham printed leather for the bags… coming soon for the New Year !!

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Wrap of the Moment:
The Denim Jewel

Your trusted jeans, the perfect dress… the Denim Combo Jewel is all of the above! Second skin jersey is balanced by a full denim skirt for a wrap that has an extra dose of attitude. Add an emerald mini bag to make the diamond print pop, slip on a Bethany pump and meet the new (improved) jeans and heels!

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News

Hello, Atlanta!

Bold, vibrant and chic… Atlanta, you’re our kind of city! We are thrilled to be moving in with a new shop at Lenox Square in early February. In fact, we’re so ready to celebrate, we’ve put together a list of our favorite new neighbors. Read on, check back for more details on the opening of DVF Lenox Square, and follow us on Twitter at @DVFAtlanta!

Living Walls
Exploring the art scene is always on Diane’s travel to-do list. Take a day to tour the city-wide murals commissioned by this local non-profit.

Atlanta BeltLine
DVF’s New York Headquarters overlook the High Line Park, so Atlanta’s own rail-corridor-turned-public-space makes us feel right at home!

Amélie’s French Bakery
A true pick-me-up—Amélie’s staff has overcome employment barriers and social obstacles to become a family and team. (And the treats are amazing!)

Sweetwater Creek State Park
Diane says: “I hike for inspiration, for exercise, to be close to nature and to find clarity.” Recharge for the New Year on the trails of this peaceful, wooded preserve.

Woodfire Grill
Seasonal, sustainable, innovative and delicious—Woodfire is the spot for a special dinner after a full day exploring the city!

The St. Regis Atlanta
Whether it’s wine on the patio with a girlfriend, or a mother-daughter birthday tea, the elegant St. Regis is always perfect for a treat.

DVF Atlanta
We’re new in town… stop by and say hello! Our Lenox Square boutique is the best place in the South to explore our wrap dresses, ready-to-wear and accessories collections.

Share
News

Neutral Territory:
Weekday Separates

Between Atlanta, Scottsdale and the Grove in LA, our newest shops have the DVF team traveling to some wonderfully mild locales. For a nod to winter that’s still weather (and office) appropriate, we favor classic silhouettes, like the Lorelei button up in a neutral, modern floral, the Bethany pump in luxe umber suede, and the mid-length Gemma skirt. A Voyage tote adds a luxe finish, or pick up a Chinese New Year clutch to go day-to-night, with a touch of good luck!

Share
News

Wrap of the Moment:
The Denim Jewel

Your trusted jeans, the perfect dress… the Denim Combo Jewel is all of the above! Second skin jersey is balanced by a full denim skirt for a wrap that has an extra dose of attitude. Add an emerald mini bag to make the diamond print pop, slip on a Bethany pump and meet the new (improved) jeans and heels!

Share
News

Jessica Joffe’s Berlin

Since everyone we know has already moved, will move or is thinking about moving to Berlin, because it’s cheaper, younger, cooler, more expansive, historically more loaded, totally rogue, more German, and has better social welfare and baked goods, let’s look into what this city has to offer before you pack your bags.

When our pal JFK announced in 1963 “Ich bin ein Berliner,” half the world (well, half the German speaking world, smart alecks that they were) responded that JFK has unwittingly called himself a jelly donut. A “Berliner,” it went, is a deep-fried, sugar-powdered and jam filled yeasty bread product. What they failed to recognize is that only in Northern Germany – in Hamburg for example – is this morsel called a Berliner. In Munich it is a Krapfen and in Berlin it is in fact a Pfannkuchen. This should give you an indication of the German spirit: generally knowing everything a little better than you do, even when they don’t… And obsessed with carbs.

What Berlin has, aside from Berliners (of the bread and human variety) is a plethora of stores, museums, galleries, and wonderful restaurants you can spend all your time exploring. And because Berliners have a —shall we say— more relaxed attitude to work, you really can!

Shopping:

The most iconic and arguably one of the best luxury stores in the world is Andreas Murkudis. At this point Murkudis has a cluster of different shops around Berlin that cater to different customers and desires, but this 11,000 square foot concept store in the former offices of the Berliner Tagesspiegel is an exhibition space, design store, one off luxury purveyor and chocolate merchant. Most retailers are brought to their knees by Murkudis’ spectacular eye, unwavering taste levels and quietly forceful demeanor.

A former Murkudis manager opened MDC Kosmetik, a perfectly curated and lovely beauty shop tucked away on a side street in the still-hip neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg and carries some of the best and hardest-to-find beauty products in the world, some of which I’ve written about on this blog. Beauty treatments are also available, and if there’s something we all know about us Germans it’s our meticulousness.

Berlin is known for the tiny, specialty stores that line its streets. DSTM, which stands for Don’t Shoot the Messenger, is the brainchild of expat Jen Gilpin, whose husband Maxime Ballesteros is the wonderful and cheeky Purple Magazine photographer. Everything in the store is black, and Jen works black leather and silk experimentally to create a sculptural and sensual collection of pieces you can wear privately or publicly. Under a wrap dress her daring tights are just the thing.

Of course, if you’re running out of DVF, there’s always French department store Galeries Lafayette, where the stunning resort collection is just waiting for you to give it a home.

One of my favorite home stores ParkHaus, also in Mitte, has a stunning selection of useful and useless home goods. Beautiful and unusual antiques are dotted through the store alongside taxidermied crows, porcelain cobras, hand-carved chopping boards, miniature pianos, a highly curated section of children’s books and mustard yellow macraméd poufs. It is about as eclectic as the city itself and I never leave the store without finding at least one essential item to take with me (see: porcelain cobra).

Eating:

Since we’ve done enough shopping for one lifetime, the second most important thing to do is eat.

Berlin is home to some of the most adventurous restaurants in Germany that you’d almost forget the real stalwarts like Borchardt. Reopened in 1992 this 150-year-old former delicatessen purveyor to Kaiser Wilhelm is now the only place one might ever consider for an honest Schnitzel, people watching and a four-hour lunch. The simplest meal is often the best. This isn’t a Viennese Schnitzel, this is the real Berlin deal, hammered paper-thin and served with a spoonful of currant jam and roast potatoes, it is truly irresistible (unless you’re a vegetarian, in which case there is a chocolate shop across the street).

On the newer end of the spectrum is Crackers. Open for little more than two months in the legendary Cookies nightclub space, it promises to be everything one could hope for and more: local food in brave new iterations, excellent music and NO CLOSING TIME Tuesday through Saturday. Berlin at its finest.

If you, like me, are primarily concerned with the excellence of German bread, go no further than the Hofpfistere (literally: the Royal Baker) where you will find the holy Berliner/Krapfen/Pfannkuchen and the finest, most organic, sustainable and TASTIEST bread in the known universe.

Cultivation:

If Berlin has anything in abundance, it’s museums. It even has a MUSEUM ISLAND! It’s hard to pick favorites but two museums I never miss visiting even if I am only in the city for 24 hours are the Pergamon Museum and the Kupferstichkabinet.

The Pergamon Museum houses two of the most impressive artifacts: The Pergamon altar, excavated by German archeologist Carl Humann and then transported piece by piece from Greece to Berlin between 1878 and 1886, the structure is 35.64 metres wide and 33.4 metres deep. It is one of the most breathtaking monuments of Ancient Greek civilization to behold. Once you leave the alter room you move through a reconstruction of the Gates of Ishtar, the 8th Gate to the inner city of Babylon, a wonder in blue, and equally breathtaking. The scale of both pieces makes this museum a never-dulling experience.

The Kupferstichkabinett, the museum of drawing and prints, is an altogether less overwhelming experience, featuring drawings by the great German artist Albrecht Durer, Sandro Botticelli’s illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy and a host of others including Kirchner, Rembrandt, Breugel and Warhol.

If you’re after contemporary art, and its purchase, no better place to go than Blain Southern. Harry Blain and Graham Southern, former CEO and director of London’s Haunch of Venison gallery, opened this Berlin outpost in 2010 in the same compound as Andreas Murkudis. With an arsenal of artists and estates that include Lucien Freud’s and Lynn Chadwick’s as well as living artist Mat Collishaw and artist duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster, you will want to make sure to save enough money after your AM spree to get your hands on at least one or two spectacular pieces.

Share
News

Love Diane:
The Month of Renewal

January is the month of renewal, New Year’s resolutions… eat better, exercise, meditate etc… It is cold in many places (though some people rush to the sun) and we can’t wait for Spring clothes to arrive in the stores. It is also the month when everyone thinks of movies, the Globes, and the Oscar nominations. Who will win: Theory of Everything, Whiplash, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Selma, The Imitation Game, Into the Woods? Keira, Emma, Meryl, Marion, Emily, Julianne, Reese? And what will they wear? Stylists are courted by designers, members of the Academy by the studios. LA is in the air… America and its modern glamour remind me of the South of France when I was a little girl… the center of glamour then: Brigitte Bardot and the gingham, Picasso and Matisse ! All of that was the inspiration of my Spring collection, Riviera… I have put gingham everywhere: dresses, skirts, pants and even gingham printed leather for the bags… coming soon for the New Year !!

Share
News

Hello, Atlanta!

Bold, vibrant and chic… Atlanta, you’re our kind of city! We are thrilled to be moving in with a new shop at Lenox Square in early February. In fact, we’re so ready to celebrate, we’ve put together a list of our favorite new neighbors. Read on, check back for more details on the opening of DVF Lenox Square, and follow us on Twitter at @DVFAtlanta!

Living Walls
Exploring the art scene is always on Diane’s travel to-do list. Take a day to tour the city-wide murals commissioned by this local non-profit.

Atlanta BeltLine
DVF’s New York Headquarters overlook the High Line Park, so Atlanta’s own rail-corridor-turned-public-space makes us feel right at home!

Amélie’s French Bakery
A true pick-me-up—Amélie’s staff has overcome employment barriers and social obstacles to become a family and team. (And the treats are amazing!)

Sweetwater Creek State Park
Diane says: “I hike for inspiration, for exercise, to be close to nature and to find clarity.” Recharge for the New Year on the trails of this peaceful, wooded preserve.

Woodfire Grill
Seasonal, sustainable, innovative and delicious—Woodfire is the spot for a special dinner after a full day exploring the city!

The St. Regis Atlanta
Whether it’s wine on the patio with a girlfriend, or a mother-daughter birthday tea, the elegant St. Regis is always perfect for a treat.

DVF Atlanta
We’re new in town… stop by and say hello! Our Lenox Square boutique is the best place in the South to explore our wrap dresses, ready-to-wear and accessories collections.

Share
News

Wrap of the Moment:
The Gracie

Your outlook, the way you move… celebrating life is a choice! Our “Celebration” Resort collection boasts embellished jumpsuits and dazzling minaudières, but the Gracie wrap dress is just as glorious. Simply cut, easy to wear, and absolutely joyful in this mix of stripes, the Gracie celebrates the everyday moment.

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House of DVF:
Now Casting Season Two

Hold onto your wrap dresses because E! just announced that the House of DVF will return for a second season which means now’s your chance to enter the race to become the next DVF Brand Ambassador!  We are searching for bold and business savvy young women with fashion chops to travel the world living the jet set life and represent DVF at cultural happenings, store openings, premiere fashion events and more. In short, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be mentored by Diane von Furstenberg. The deadline is February 1st. Go for it!

Learn more and apply now!

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Weekend Ready:
The Beach Getaway

Our thoughts have already drifted to packing for the long weekend ahead. Those lucky enough for a warm weather escape can make a solid showing in pure whites and pop colors. When clean lines meet soft fabrics, colorblocking is easy as a day at the beach! An added perk of our Minnie tunic: it’s just as chic with tights and boots for your Friday afternoon flight out of town.

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On The Horizon:
Nautical Blues

Today we’re putting the spotlight back on the DVF Gracie wrap. First seen on Michelle Obama, the Gracie is finally available for pre-order and we could not be more excited! The perfect anchor for a nautical-chic look, this wrap is weekend-ready with flats and a printed mini bag. So to all of our warm-weather friends, meet your new go-to dress. And here in New York, well, we’re simply thinking ahead!

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Wrap of the Moment:
A Cool New Julian

Never mind the chilly winds and canceled flights—it’s time to focus on the upside of winter: chic, frosty hues are perfectly of-the-moment! Our favorite feline neutral is extra cool on this flirty mini wrap, and right at home with a hopeful pop of pink. Not pictured: tights (Wolford wool, perhaps?) and your coziest coat.

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Love Diane:
The Year Ahead

I started 2015 sailing the islands of Raja Ampat, in Papua, Indonesia. It is hard to be further away, lost in the silence and the immensity of nature. Endless horizon with thousands of small green islands, the bluest water ever, a universe of coral reefs and infinite species of fishes to discover underwater. Long swims, incredible snorkeling and diving, tasty meals and movies on board, I finished the new book on designer Elsa Schiaparelli and plunged myself into the biography of Genghis Khan… that is how I blissfully started the year.  As I come back home to face the New Year my resolutions are: do less but do better, get back to yoga, and remind myself that stress is not progress.

2014 was such a full year, starting with the exhibition Journey of a Dress in LA, to finishing and publishing my memoir “The Woman I Wanted to Be,” to filming House of DVF, our first own TV show… without counting of course the usual fashion shows, personal appearances and trips abroad. Last year was all about catching up with the past, honoring the wrap dress that has now been embraced by a new generation.

This year will be about looking into the future, continuing to focus on design, making sure everything DVF, from clothes to handbags, shoes and jewelry, are as relevant and as desirable as they can be ! Feeling glamorous and confident, celebrating joie de vivre and freedom is what DVF is about. Let’s see how we will deliver all the beautiful things that are on the design boards… Happy New Year everybody !

Love Diane

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