When I was a teenager, twelve or thirteen, my father gave me a book called “Der Gentleman”, a reprint of a gentleman’s guide from the 1920s, full of wonderful illustrations of snobby men of leisure, spending their afternoons choosing the silk for their ties and cigarette cases, accompanied by lavish ladies with an equal amount of free time on their hands, warning its readers of the Berliner Chic, which meant anything loud and overdaringly flamboyant, what Berliners, long before JFK claimed to be one, were supposed to appall people with.
I never got that. Germany’s most stunning city, how could its style be of the wrong kind? Düsseldorf, okay, but Berlin? This city is just gorgeous. Its architecture is flawless, that I can assure you, even when I last visited the town last Friday on business, on a winter’s day, when the sky was grey, tiny snowflakes covering my Balmain jacket and extinguishing my freshly lit cigarette, with building sites everywhere, it offered nothing but splendour, grace and style. If that’s “Berliner Chic”, I gladly subscribe to it.