Dorothee Schumacher’s perfect weekend in Berlin

For nearly three decades, the designer’s label has stood for effortlessly chic clothing and accessories in exquisite materials and with flashes of beautifully judged eccentricity

Dorothee Schumacher at Berlin's Secret Garden
Dorothee Schumacher at Berlin's Secret Garden | Image: Robbie Lawrence

“For many years, my son Max and I would rise early on a Saturday morning and go riding in Bucher Forst; he would always give me the better horse and we would gallop through the forest. He has moved his polo horses to Hamburg now, but I cherish the memory and would ride there every weekend if I could. These days, I’m woken early by my two Newfoundlands, Liz and Luna, and I’ll take them for a walk in Tiergarten, the inner-city park. With dogs, four children and my business, I have always been an early riser: if you don’t do it early, you never will. 

Afterwards I’ll have gravadlax for breakfast on the terrace at Das Stue hotel and sit looking out at the animals in the zoo, before popping into my shop to see my stylists and clients. Often, if I meet a customer with a great life story, I invite them for coffee across the road at Sets café. I like talking to the women who wear my clothes, as their lives are usually multifaceted and unconventional.  

Then I’ll head to Mitte for a stroll; the area is like nowhere else in Germany – it’s very inspiring and open, full of artists and young entrepreneurs, all speaking English, and there’s always something new going on. I try to capture some of the energy and take it with me when I go back to my studio, near Mannheim. 

On one of my recent strolls, I discovered Secret Garden, a former cabaret theatre from 1905 that was derelict for 80 years. It typifies the spirit of Berlin’s roaring ’20s, and a sensitive renovation has given it a super-modern spirit.

I’ll stop at Rianna + Nina. Rianna Kounou is a Greek woman who for 30 years has been making kaftans from vintage couture fabrics, and has now teamed up with young designer Nina Kuhn to launch their own collections. Their boutique is an explosion of colour. 

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I’ll also visit Ann-Kathrin Carstensen at her boutique, Rita in Palma. She works with women from Turkey, Kosovo, Syria and Lebanon who live in Berlin, to make hand-crocheted jewellery and accessories. We recently collaborated on a charity project, resulting in a limited edition necklace that supported Von Meisterhand, a foundation for migrant women living in Germany.

Then I might pop into Soho House for an espresso. During Berlin Fashion Week, it becomes my interim office and I’ll even choose to stay here rather than at my own apartment in west Berlin.

In the evening I’ll meet my friend Kirsten Hermann at Pauly Saal, where we’ll drink pink champagne at the bar. It has a special aura, all dark-green velvet and wood, and we’ll sit and talk about family – and exhibitions. Kirsten owns Galerie für Moderne Fotografie and she always introduces me to new photographers, such as Ingar Krauss. But I’m not a good collector; if I see something I like, I just buy it, rather than thinking strategically. Then we’ll head to Pauly’s restaurant and usually I’ll have the set menu, although I love the eel and the lamb dishes too. Then it’s back to the bar for a nightcap and I’ll turn in just after midnight. 

On Sunday, I am woken by Liz and Luna pawing at me. I grew up in the countryside near Düsseldorf and was always with my horses and my dogs. People say I was like Pippi Longstocking; I love the comparison. 

I’ll meet my friend Siggi Spiegelburg, a fashion designer and legendary figure in Berlin, at the Tiergarten, and we’ll head to Borchardt – the dining room is in a former market hall – for a late lunch. It’s a favourite spot, serving German-French cuisine, and very much part of the city’s history and culture. I hosted a drinks party there last year during fashion week. 

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Then it’s time to get the hopper back to Mannheim, my country home. I’ll check in with the family on our WhatsApp group: my children are all over the world, so one is waking up as another is going to bed, but we are always connected.”

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