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29 October 2013

The Perfect Ride

BERLIN: Although it is almost winter I still take my bike wherever I have to go. Moving keeps me warm during cold winter days and takes me fast to the place I have to go. In November I will receive my new ultra-lightweight carbon fiber bicycle by Hermès, which takes me even faster to my destinations in a very handsome way. Le Flâneur d’Hermès and Le Flâneur sportif d’Hermès, a unisex leisure and a sporty city bicycle, will be available in three sizes – S, M, L – and two colors – charcoal and blanc d’Espagne (Le Flâneur sportif d’Hermès will also be available in a sporty shade of red). Both of the bikes which have been hand-made in France by TIME, a French manufacturer of bicycles and cycling equipment founded by Roland Cattin in 1987, will feature a shock-absorbing monobloc frame, belt-driven transmission, bull leather on contact points such as the handlebar grips, saddle and carry handle, hydraulic disc brakes and a choice of 8 or 11 gears integrated into the rear wheel hub.

The bicycle design reflects the craftsmanship that one has invariably come to be expected of a luxury house of this standing. Of course, due to its origins as a master saddler, I am looking forward to my first ride and I am sure that the saddles on these bikes are going to be the most comfortable in the world! Combining exquisite, elegant lines with cutting-edge technology, Le Flâneur d’Hermès bicycles are as light as a feather albeit with a rather hefty $8,000 price tag! Because at the end of the day, Style as beautiful as this simply doesn’t come cheap.

Hermès advertisment, taking my new Hermès bike on a ride through Berlin at night, against cold hands, my favorite gloves by Denise Francelle, leather pants from the new ski collection by Hermès keep you warm on the saddle during cold days
21 October 2013

New Deli in Town

MUNICH: Steffi Thatenhorst is the founder and owner of Occam Deli, a new restaurant hot spot in Munich. The Occam Deli is more a deli than a restaurant because one can also buy specially chosen food products like for example the homemade granola and jam and sea salt by Maldon. You could buy all this and take it home to prepare your own meal, even at midnight when all the supermarkets in the city are already closed. Not that you would like to do that once you have eaten at Occam Deli. The menu consists of different small dishes, which come with fresh spices, vegetables, nuts and the finest meat & daily fresh fish.

The atmosphere is cool and simple as Steffi is also responsible for the interior design of Occam Deli. Lots of light, grey-washed walls, fine details and of course shelves and a large table at the entrance packed with lovely products in beautiful packaging and homemade cakes.

I like the idea that Steffi mixes her talents as a food connoisseuse and restaurateur with her skill for designing interiors for shops and restaurants. Her sensitivity for design and restaurant concepts made me curious to talk to her. 

What do you like about food?
That you can get any type of food from around the world in most places. I love exploring different tastes and find it very exciting.

In which environment do you feel most comfortable when eating a meal?

In any nice restaurant (the interior is very important!). Sadly not in ours, because I just can’t let go.

When is a good time to think about what to cook?
I only cook when I am alone with the boys. I think about it on the way home after I picked them up from kindergarten. The other days (especially weekends) my husband cooks, I can’t match his skills.

Your favorite smell of a dish?
Fried onions in oil. So simple, I love it!

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Nothing, except a coffee! I know, that’s really bad but weekdays I can’t enjoy breakfast because with our two little boys we are always in a rush in the morning.

Desserts: Ice cream, cake or sweets?
Definitely sweets, especially chocolate, can’t survive without!!!

What do you cook for your children?
Pasta, what else. Quick, easy and yummy.

A place in the world you would like to dine?
Noma, Copenhagen. Still no chance that you get in.

Finally a handsome deli in Munich – how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve been dreaming about it for years. Every time we travelled to New York I said to my husband, “I would love to run one of those delis in Munich!”

Your favorite herbs and spices?

Cinnamon, coriander

Your most liked colour on the wall at the moment?
Grey in any shade

Where do you look for inspiration when thinking about composing an interior?
In the Italian “Elle Deco” and “Milk”. The best interior magazines you can get!

What is your favorite cook book?

“What Katie Ate” by Katie Quinn Davies

If you had to prepare a meal with only five ingredients, what would that be?
Pasta, tomato sugo (of course the fresh pappardelle and the sugo we sell at the deli), burrata, Maldon sea salt, fresh basil

How do you go about finding new food products for your deli?
It's Very different. We tasted our Maldon Sea Salt for example in London and brought it home. Our olive oil is produced by a friend of ours. I fell in love with the beautiful black bottle straight away. Lucky that it also tastes delicious! Our teas are from an organic manufacture from Lake Chiemsee, where I was born. The owners are family friends. The tomato sugo we found on our last holiday in Italy, it's almost one hundred percent made out of cherry tomatoes and it’s a great base for any sauce and again I love the bottle. There is a little story behind almost every product.

Where do you get your inspiration from when starting to think about an interior concept?
City trips! Recently to Copenhagen and London.

Is your husband a good cook?

The best!

Third picture from the top right shows Steffi working hard at the Occam Deli. A great mixture of dining and wining atmospheres with shelves showing the food products you can buy from the shop
15 October 2013

Beautiful Mind

BERLIN: Berlin has a fabulous new emporium where one can indulge in a well curated selection of cosmetics and fragrances for men and women from across the world. MDC Cosmetic is set up by Melanie Dal Canton, the highly inspired manager of Andreas Murkudis, the concept store that has put Berlin into the list of global shopping destinations. With her very own store Dal Canton very much pursues a holistic approach of beauty and body care which inspired me to talk to her about how one approaches beauty, about her daily life and what gives her a different idea towards beauty products.

When you enter MDC you will enjoy the minimal design of Gonzalez Haase Architects. The wooden shelves against the white-washed walls gives a clear impression and lets the products talk for themselves.

Cosmetic consultations and treatments are also available, including those of a renowned practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. MDC Cosmetic’s brand list currently includes Aesop, Santa Maria Novella, Werkstatt München, Neri Firenze and Perricone MD, to name a few. You will also find a well chosen range of high-end lifestyle products, such as silver soap dishes, tarot cards and diet supplements.

What comes to your mind first when you open your eyes in the morning?
I think about getting up first. Then making coffee, preparing a bottle for my daughter. At this point I steer clear of thinking about our dog.

Did you have a nice dream last night?

I can't remember. But I do wake up with a smile on my face so I think my dreams must have been beautiful.

What do you like most at your country house outside of Berlin?
Tweeting birds and the uncanny silence in between.

What does your breakfast smells of?
The whiff of a hot gruel I made from sorghum and maple syrup.

What is always on your dinner table?
Sort of Coal, it purifies tap water with a stick of Japanese charcoal.

If you could only take one single beauty product with you on a trip, what would you take?
The nourishing complex by Susanne Kaufmann. The flask looks charming, too.

What do you think about when walking through the woods?
Aquiring new products, research to be done. Generally I get flashed out by nature. A lot of information that keeps me thinking how to translate them into new ideas for my shop.

How does your perfect day look like?
Having time to enjoy my coffee. Read at least one newspaper entirely. Not having to run from A to B but wanting to do exactly what I want to do. Allow myself to go with the flow of a day.

What is most important for your own shop MDC in Berlin?
An exchange with interesting people about interesting products.

Which city symbolizes most your idea of beauty?
That would be San Francisco: A lot of fog, lots of rain and the ocean, many hippies and everybody is on a bike. Great consciousness about food in general. This spirit of California. Interestingly enough, much of this can be found in Berlin nowadays.

Three songs you like most on your playlist on your iPhone?
Sail by Awolnation
The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
Bad Kingdom by Moderat

Which beauty item do you always have in front of you on your desk while you are working?
The Hand Treatment by Malin + Goetz

How do you clean your dishes?
With an orange zest detergent.

Do you wear make-up, or don't you?
I use a mascara in midnight blue and lipsticks of all sorts (alternating, not all at once!).

What do you do with your hair to make it look beautiful?
I wash them in luke warm water and use a shampoo by Rahua. Then I apply an elixir rich with Omega 3 from the same brand.

How do you recognize a beautiful/ handsome woman or man?
By her or his radiance.

Which spice or herb has your favorite smell?
Cinnamon.

What book are you reading at the moment?
Untitled by Joachim Bessing, a novel.

How do you take care of your mind and soul?
I use dark chocolate by Erich Hamann a lot these days.

How do you enjoy a perfect dinner?
With my family.

How do you take advantage of the nighttime while sleeping?
At night I let sleep do all the work to regenerate myself in preparation for the tasks of the upcoming day.

Do you take any nutritional supplements?
Seaweed of all sorts. Spirulina mostly. Until now in Germany there is not a lot to choose from. Unfortunately.

Your favorite tea?

The basic mixture by Vienna's Saint Charles Apothecary.

How do you choose what to wear in the morning?
I go for elegance and interesting material. My clothes have to be functional to a degree. Kostas Murkudis and Dries van Noten both designed my current favourites. Haltbar from Munich do amazing stuff, too!

Your favorite place in Berlin?

That would be Prater Biergarten on Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg.

... and in the entire world?
That is found at the banks of Bodensee, which used to be Germany's largest sweet water until the wall came down. My favourite spot of all is precisely there on the square of the huge cross, right behind the boarding school Spetzgart aka Salem. Phantastic views on the lake in all its beauty as well as on the mountains in the background, the Alps.

Is there still a product you have not yet found for your store?
Innovative moustache groomings and a really, really good toothpaste.

During winter, how do you protect your skin?

I use the beauty oil by RMS Beauty. And Gold Elixir by Julisis.

What meaning has the Gingko tree in front of your shop?
Funny, I was born on the same day as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who was intrigued by the Gingko which was a novelty plant in his era. He claimed to have found great inspiration in this tree which is not really beautiful. More like a giant tooth pick. But the leaves I find enchanting. I cherish the Gingko for being a mindful tree as its fruits do look delicate but breed a horrible smell once they turn yellow and get ready to drop to the ground. Until today, there was not a single chemist able to extract its valuable components for any cosmetic product which seems to remain a great challenge. They say a Gingko can grow for a thousand years, maybe more – fascinating, isn't it.

11 October 2013

Early Birds

LOS ANGELES: To me breakfast becomes the nicest meal of the day especially when I am in Los Angeles, where you can enjoy an early meal with different flavors from all over the world almost every day in a very different way. The sun is always shining, making it easy to get up in the morning, go for a morning run by the ocean or just take you car keys and hit your favorite breakfast cafe to start your day.

A small choice of my favorite breakfast spots:

SUPERBA SNACK BAR
Did you ever try pasta for breakfast? The taste is delicious when it is served with a braised egg sunny side up and a salad on the side made of black kale with jalapeño-pickled raisins.
533 Rose Avenue

THE SYCAMORE KITCHEN
Karen & Quinn Hatfield salute the morning with pork belly hash, cinnamon brioche French toast and a cured salmon tartine with avocado and creme fraiche.
143 South La Brea Avenue

THE EVELEIGH
One of the most beautiful patios in town for a leisurely breakfast surrounded by lush herbs and greenery.
8752 W. Sunset Boulevard

SQUARE ONE DINING
My favorite place to start my day in a healthy way. I order steel-cut oatmeal with maple syrup and bourbon pecans or poached eggs with smoked Canadian bacon and baby spinach topped with sauce hollandaise.
4854 Fountain Avenue

STELLA BARRA PIZZERIA
Grab a cup of Intelligentsia java and a pastry at the front bar or venture into the industrial loft-style dining room for a breakfast sandwich (soft scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, tomato, mayo) served with your choice of protein (turkey, house-made sausage, bacon) on a sourdough English muffin.
2000 Main Street, Santa Monica or 6372 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood

OSCAR CERVETECA
For a south-of-the-border-inspired feast, head to this Venice hotspot for chilaquiles with tomatillo sauce and huevos rancheros in homemade masa shells. Get a seat on the patio, order a Mexican coffee, and watch Rose Avenue’s eclectic foot traffic go by.
523 Rose Avenue, at Rennie Avenue, Venice Beach

CANELÉ
Grab a communal table at this popular Eastside mom-and-pop spot for the pastrami hash with sauerkraut and fried eggs, quiche Lorraine, or fried chicken sandwich with pickled green tomatoes.
3219 Glendale Blvd

TAVERN
Third time’s a charm for Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne (Lucques, AOC). Well-heeled Westsiders stream in for a casual quick breakfast the bar or a dressier affair in the dining room. Or some takeaway charcuterie, and homemade bread from the market to go.
11648 San Vicente Boulevard, at Darlington Avenue, Brentwood

4 October 2013

News from Paris

PARIS: Daniela Agnelli, our fashion reporter from the London Telegraph, is once again covering Paris Fashion Week for us. She tells IRMA which looks she will take with her for the new season’s fashion shoot and how she will already start wearing right away the spring / summer 2014 collections, even though it is getting cold outside.

Take her styling tips for your own pieces and get ahead with your favorite designers.

Also note her new look: Shoulder-length haircut and very strong eye brows, no make-up.

IRMA

brings good news to you.
She lives and travels around
the world, stopping wherever
she sees something interesting,
reporting on what inspires her.
She finds beauty in the
most varied places,
from fashion shows
to art exhibits, from lonely
beaches to bustling cities.

WHERE IS IRMA NOW?

MUNICH

When in Munich my
favorite store to look
for the best selection
of clothes is THERESA.
The staff is competent
and always has the
best ideas for styling
and mixing different
designers together.

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