If you’re staying at the Ritz-Carlton, the hotel is next to the a major shopping centre at Potsdamer Platz, with the Arkaden mall and the Sony Center and is a few minutes’ walk from the Friedrichstrasse with its fashion stores, said Quarz.
Fifteen minutes’ ride away – by road or metro – is the Kurfürstendamm with its boutiques and the famous KaDeWe department store and, along from the Adenauerplatz the boulevard is converting into a more exclusive zone, with Jil Sander and Yves Saint Laurent boutiques.
Take off in the other direction, in what was formerly East Berlin, Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg and Oranienburgerstrasse in Mitte are places to look for trendy young designers, extravagant shoe creations and stylish accessories. Hackesche Markt, in the same area, is one of Berlin’s most talked-about districts, home to a slew of trendy, up-and-coming designer studios and art galleries, including the Hackesche Höfe web of eight courtyards, complete with a little shop devoted to the Ampelmann, the unique stop/walk man on East Berlin’s traffic lights.
Dubaiites will feel right at home on Düsseldorf’s famous ‘Kö’ or Königsallee, where the motto in the pavement cafés is, ‘To see and be seen’. A splendid boulevard with all the chic stores down one side, across a canal on the other side is the financial heart of this city on the Rhine, prompting waags to say that the money is made on side of the street and spent on the other. The hip boutiques, however, are in the Altstadt, while the Schadowstrasse is one of the shopping streets with the highest turnover in Germany. It’s a city that’s always a season ahead, with perhaps the world’s most important fashion fair, the the CPD, playing out twice a year, where 1700 exhibitors from 39 countries present their collections.
As for designers that live and work in the city, Tristano Onofri, from Rimini, Italy, and avant-garde Peter O Mahler, who works from paper and linen, are worth checking out.
In the Mainhattan of Europe, Frankfurt on the Main, the shopping is divided into different regions. The Golden Mile, the Zeil, is a pedestrian area between two main squares, the Hauptwache and the Konstablerwache, where you can find department stores, shoe shops and clothes stores. A cattle market in the 14th century, it was one of the most famous shopping streets in Europe in the early 20th century, it was destroyed in the war and while it isn’t anywhere near as prominent today, it still rings up among the highest sales in the country. The Hauptwache, in the center of Frankfurt, has shopping areas above and below ground, with book dealers, photo supplies, music and sports equipment, while the Schillerstrasse offers boutiques and specialty shops. West of the Hauptwache is Kaiserstrasse, with the BFG skyscraper and its exclusive boutiques and restaurants. If it’s fur you’re looking for, however, head down to Düsseldorfer Strasse, opposite the train station or Hauptbahnhof. And if you just want a good rummage, it’s the Frankfurt Flea Market you want, on the Sachsenhausen side of the Main river every Saturday.
Quaint meets contemporary in Munich’s shops, which serve up international names and designer chic side-by-side traditional Bavarian crafts or clothing such as Lederhosen for men and Dirndl for women, beer mugs, wood carvings, pewter-ware and speciality foods such as Lebkuchen, Christmas Stollen, and marzipan. The main shopping areas with international stores are Neuhauserstrasse and Kaufingerstrasse, but the more exclusive boutiques are around the Maximilianstrasse and Theatinerstrasse.