In the early 1980s, a close friend of my mother’s owned a boutique, selling mostly Jil Sander, long before the Pradas had cast an eye at the brand, when the Hamburg flagship store was still on Milchstrasse, a paradise lost with the most stylish windows, and years before Jil Sander did menswear. But I digress. My mother’s friend Angelika is a woman of exquisite taste, she drove a vintage Rolls-Royce at that time, a 1972 Silver Shadow, dark green, I’ll never forget its backseat, that supple leather, one just dove into softness, it actually breathed luxury, although unlike the 1954 Bentley Type R of Luca Turin’s stepfather, it didn’t smell like Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. Well, you can’t have it all. But I digress again. In Angelika’s boutique, there was no cash desk, she had a Biedermeier secretary instead, very old Biedermeier, from the 1810s, an adjustment to her interior design notion, where she sat down to sip her tea, write her bills, stuff the cash into one of the drawers, and take a new pack of cigarettes from another one. When she closed the store and stopped selling Jil Sander’s various shades of beige, some twenty years ago, I got this beautiful piece of furniture, it had a hard time moving with me from one apartment to another, it lost most of its ivory knobs, got bruised and kicked, but I wouldn’t want to live without it, to me it’s a piece of family history, a most treasured heirloom indeed.