Destinations | Perfect Weekend

Wolfgang Joop’s Potsdam

Wolfgang Joop founded fashion and lifestyle brand Joop! in 1981 and launched current label Wunderkind in 2003. Earlier this year he held a solo show of his artwork in Seoul.

May 30 2010
Harriet Torry

“Saturday morning is my favourite moment; you feel the weekend is just waiting for you. I wake up when my dog Lotte gives me a hairy kiss. Lotte sleeps on my right, my Dalmatian Gretchen on my left. I do my own breakfast: juices, fruit and sometimes an egg, and then I’m on my way. I take a swim, or bike around the lake with my dogs. My home, the Villa Wunderkind in Potsdam, is in the most beautiful surroundings. There is so much I have not yet discovered.

My two daughters, Jette and Florentine, live in Berlin, as do my grandchildren, Johanna, who’s 12, and John, eight months. If I visit them, I like to have coffee at Morning Glory. In Berlin there are lots of cafés full of baby-boomers, with thrift-store furniture and a nostalgia for the former East Germany. I try to avoid these. Potsdam, where I grew up, was always beautiful because it was so melancholic. As a child, I could see the surface of the unpainted houses; they still had the skin and scars of war.

In Potsdam I go to a wonderful market at Nauener Tor to buy food. I can remember a time in the early 1950s when it took four weeks to make a Bolognese. You had to find a butcher who could manage something under the table; and then, hopefully, you knew somebody who had thyme and rosemary in the garden. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the native Potsdamers quickly had to learn to digest sushi, Thai and Turkish food. Today you find everything here. For lunch I often go to sushi bar My Keng.

Afterwards I might visit the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, which always has an interesting programme. I love to draw but, for me, it’s not a hobby; I try to become professional in whatever I’m doing. If I’m sketching or painting, it’s for an exhibition. My favourite thing is doing portraits. I’ve done thousands – on napkins, tablecloths, whatever. But I can’t remember all the dresses I’ve done; fashion only interests me when someone is moving in it.

Living in the shadow of Berlin, there are so many party or entertainment options. I love Pan Asia, as you meet everybody there. And I go to Heinrich, the restaurant my daughter Florentine runs with her husband. I only go to nightclubs three or four times a year. I don’t like being in a big crowd; I like to have a conversation. And I get recognised a lot when I go out. Recently when I went to the club Rodeo, the crowds parted like when Moses divided the ocean. On Saturday evening I might just go to a friend’s to watch DVDs on the sofa.

On Sunday, after swimming and cycling, sometimes I go back to bed for half an hour. I’m not conserving myself – no diets, no yoga classes – but I’ve kept my shape. I dress myself from an archive of clothes I’ve had since the 1980s.

I go to my mother’s nearby for Sunday lunch. Her place is beautiful, there’s a certain Tuscan light. Then I ride my old, dirty bicycle to the park at Sanssouci Palace. The contrast between the architecture of the last Prussian kings and the surrounding nature is so fascinating, you get lost there. My whole family is buried in Bornstedt cemetery, just a step away, and in crucial moments I go there to try and get in touch with their spirits.

My biggest luxury is my physical therapist, Gündola, and on Sunday afternoon I have a massage. In the evening, I stay in. I enjoy films by Almodóvar, and right now I’m reading Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids. I also dip into my own book, Im Wolfspelz, with an editor’s eye and to bring back memories.

After years abroad, I came back to Potsdam to restore my image of women through Wunderkind. Women look so aggressive in magazines today, but my fashion is without cynicism. I believe that had I not ended up here, I would never have found my real style.”

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