Magda Butrym’s perfect weekend in Warsaw

The Polish womenswear and accessories designer’s directional label embodies coolly feminine elegance with an edge

Magda Butrym at the Lazienki Park sculpture gallery
Magda Butrym at the Lazienki Park sculpture gallery | Image: Tatiana + Karol

“Life has changed a lot lately; I have a baby son, Jas, and the business means I spend a great deal of time travelling abroad or to southern Poland, where many of our craftsmen are based. I value time at home in Warsaw with Jas, my partner Filip and his four-year-old son Alex. Luckily my family is nearby and the city is easy to get around.

We live at one end of the beautiful and historic Lazienki Park, where Polish kings had their weekend palace, and my studio is at the other. My walk across it to work is 30 minutes of peaceful thinking time. On Saturday morning, after a family breakfast and yoga with my trainer, we take the children to the park, whatever the weather – it’s lovely in the snow. In summer, there are Chopin concerts – he came from Warsaw and his music reminds me of home wherever I am – and everyone takes a picnic. I get inspiration from the little details that women wear, so I lie on the grass and look and listen.

Afterwards, I’ll shop for local produce at the indoor Hala Mirowska market and the organic BioBazar market, then go to Soto Sushi for lunch. It’s easy-going but the sushi is good. Then we’ll look at the shops on and around Mokotowska Street, where there is beautiful lingerie at Le Petit Trou and great curated contemporary boutiques such as Wonders. My favourite concept store, Galilu, is also here. It has niche Polish beauty and perfume brands and independent international ones in a very cool setting.

For dinner on Saturday evening, I like Dyspensa, which serves home-style Polish food like perch with capers or crayfish with avocado, but in a modern way – in chic surroundings. If we are celebrating we go to Nolita, the best restaurant in Warsaw. It has a cool, midcentury-modern style with an open kitchen. The food is international with Asian overtones, but it uses Polish ingredients imaginatively – like smoked eel with blackcurrant. 


Then we’ll meet friends for drinks at one of the city’s elegant bars. Last year, Raffles finished restoring the interior of the grand old Europejski Hotel and its Long Bar is now the place to be seen: it’s very “gold” yet not over the top. It’s in the Old Town, which was completely rebuilt after the second world war and wandering around is like revisiting the past. 

Or we might go to the modern bar in the new Warszawa Hotel, which is in a 1930s building that was the city’s first skyscraper. Later it was at the centre of an area of communist-style, brutalist architecture that people used to hate but are now interested in – many buildings are being restored in an innovative way and you really feel Poland’s growing energy. 

Sunday starts with yoga at Yoga Beat; it’s intense but cathartic. Then I meet the family for brunch at Sam, a lively spot and very “eco”: it has simple wooden decor and excellent local cheeses. I’ll have omelette with tomatoes, paprika and horseradish, then berries with vanilla sauce. 

If we have visitors we’ll go to the Warsaw Rising Museum, which puts our wartime history into context, or the Polin Museum on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto, which does special exhibitions for children. In good weather we’ll stroll down Wislane Boulevard, a strikingly modern area by the Vistula – to earn the dinner I’ll cook later. Family meals at home are important in Poland. The tradition makes me feel secure when the week is so hectic.”


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