Bound For Berlin — Check Out Our Latest Stop In Our “Holiday Shopping Around The World” Gift Guide!
Thus far, on our “Holiday Shopping Around the World” Holiday Gift Guide, we’ve strolled through Athens, skipped through London, and chilled in Stockholm and, today, we’re moving right along to Berlin. As with our previous gift guide installments, we’ve amassed a series of goods either made by designers and artisans hailing from this region or influenced by the culture and aesthetic of the city. Achtung, baby!
Though made by Swedish fashion label Rodebjer, this square envelope clutch bears the colors of the German flag, making it perfect for our Berlin-inspired gift guide. Made of supple leather and equipped with a removable wrist strap, the clutch features an asymmetrical triangular top flap in a classic black color while the front surface features two geometric shapes — a trapezoid in a classic tomato red and a triangle in a yellow hue — for a color-blocked motif that’s simple but effective.
When you hear the term “nutcracker,” you may instantly think of the Tchaikovsky-scored ballet that first debuted in St. Petersburg in the late 19th century but make no mistake about it: nutcrackers themselves hail from Germany. The earliest versions of the strong-jawed, soldier-like figurines we’ve all come to love date back to the 17th century, when they were carved out of wood by artisans in the Erzgebirge region. For centuries, German nutcrackers were regarded as sources of good fortune and protectors of homes, warding off evil spirits and keeping family members safe and sound. Nowadays, nutcrackers are mass produced in factory-like settings, but they’ve continued being emblematic of the holiday season — and, of course, the very best pieces continue to originate in Germany. Take, for example, this hand-painted and hand-carved, 15.25″-tall nutcracker, made in Germany exclusively for Henri Bendel. A modern and ultra stylish take on the traditional nutcracker, this figurine depicts a savvy shopper clad in a spotted fur hat, a figure-hugging coat with military-style buttons and faux fur trim along the collar, sleeves, and waistline, and leopard print boots worn over slim-fitting pants. The blushing, red-lipped beauty stands atop a large Henri Bendel hat box and carrying various shopping bags with the store’s signature brown-and-white stripes incorporates bags and hat boxes. A collectible figurine, this nutcracker will make anyone crack a smile.
LCN Mystique Burlesque Nail Polish Set, $29.90. Available at LCNBoutique.com
Tap into your inner cabaret artist with these jewel-toned nail lacquers from LCN, a beauty company with deep German roots. The spellbinding metallic hues in the LCN Mystique Burlesque collection are: Green Emerald, Blue Sapphire, Ruby Red, and Violet Amethyst. All of the shades feature a metallic sheen and are consistent with the gems after which they’re named, plus they’re infused with tonal micro pearls that add a hint of shimmer, allowing nails to shine just like faceted stones would.
At the heart of the Dr. Hauschka brand’s philosophy is a belief in biodynamics, in approaching skincare through a holistic lens that takes into account the workings of nature, thereby effectively harnessing its power in the most respectful and sustainable manner. Dr. Hauschka was first exposed to these concepts in 1924, when he attended a lecture by German scholar Rudolf Steiner who, at the time, was touting the benefits of Anthroposophic Medicine, which approached medicine through both a spiritual and physical lens. Inspired by Dr. Steiner’s notion that to understand life, one must study its rhythms, Dr. Hauschka began employing these techniques in his observation of different botanicals, discovering how they responded to temperature changes, periods of precipitation and drought, and so forth. These methods allowed him to learn more about each plant’s workings and, in turn, to the beauty and medicinal benefits it could offer.
To this day, the Dr. Hauschka brand continues to rely on botanical oils to make the finest of skincare products, two of which are featured in this delightful holiday set. The Timeless Beauty set contains the wrinkle-smoothing, radiance-boosting Regenerating Day Cream, which is loaded with fatty acid-rich avocado oil, sweet almond oil, olive, oil, jojoba seed oil, and shea butter, along with clover extract, which contains isoflavones that act as antioxidants, honey, which is known to be a humectant and anti-bacterial agent, and soothing rose flower water and raspberry extract. And, since all women want younger-looking skin from head to toe, the set also includes product for your body: the skin-tightening Regenerating Body Moisturizer, which contains such natural ingredients as sweet almond oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil, acerola extract, and jojoba seed oil.
Iris Von Arnim Taupe and Spices Handmade Knit Vermont Pullover, $931. Available at Stylebop.com
Introducing cashmere to her German compatriots and experimenting with bold and unusual color combinations in knitwear rank among fashion designer Iris Von Arnim’s claims to fame. This two-toned sweater incorporates both of these qualities — made of 100% cashmere, the taupe sweater features a geometric, cage-like pattern incorporating triangular shapes in a paprika color all along the long sleeves and at the sweater’s ribbed hemline.
The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Bath Crystals, $20, and Ginger Sparkle Hand Wash, $12. Available at The Body Shop stores and TheBodyShop-usa.com
Hansel and Gretel faced a grizzly ordeal inside a witch’s gingerbead house, but who can blame them for being enchanted by such a dwelling? As it turns out, the Brothers Grimm’s decision to set their famous fairy tale in a gingerbread house speaks to Germany’s long history with gingerbread. Since the early 17th century, the people of Nuremberg manipulated lebkuchen (a flat gingerbread) into shapes like hearts, wreaths, and angels. And, of course, after the success of the Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel,” gingerbread was soon being shaped into quaint houses called lebkuchenhaeusle or, as we call them, gingerbread houses. For this year’s holiday collection, The Body Shop introduced a limited-edition scent inspired by this German baked confection: Ginger Sparkle. The sweet but spicy scent is at once invigorating and uplifting, making it a perfect fit for the joyful holiday season. You can experience the scent in a number of forms including a hand wash packaged inside a snow globe-shaped container and featuring an amber-colored liquid soap or as a bath soak, with tiny crystals packaged inside a round tin with an illustration of a gingerbread man on its top lid. We swear by the bath soak since, when the crystals dissolve in the water, the aroma envelops you for a mouth-watering experience — plus, when you’re done with your bath, you’ll notice your skin still shimmers a bit thanks to the tiny specks of glitter in the crystals. Magic!
Illamasqua Rubber Nail Varnish, $14 each. Available at Sephora stores and Sephora.com
With their rubber-like finishes, these nail varnishes from British makeup brand Illamasqua were inspired by the Boot Girls of Weimar era Berlin, prostitutes who specialized in S&M fare. These ladies of the night typically wore rubber boots in a specific color that denoted their specific specialty , thereby essentially employing a coded advertising system for potential customers. Those donning scarlet red boots, for instance, specialized in “forcing” their customers to wear female underpinnings and sexually humiliating them, while those sporting green boots, specialized in psychological enslavement. Pink, yellow, and purple weren’t typical boot colors but, of course, Illamasqua Creative Director Alex Box took some liberties with the color schemes in order to offer customers some flashy, delectably bright shades that include: Nurture, a candy apple green; Optimist, an egg yolk yellow; Aorta, a scarlet red; Devotee, a hot pink; Prosperity, a violet-tinged purple; and Serenity, a deep sky blue. Just knowing about the inspiration behind this collection will feel the woman wearing the polishes feel like she’s keeping the naughtiest of secrets.
BUXOM Big & Healthy Lip Stick in Berlin, $19. Available at Sephora stores and Sephora.com
This jumbo-sized lip crayon delivers lustrous, creamy, matte color to your pout while also volumizing lips thanks to the hydrating benefits of the mango and avocado butters in the formula. All the BUXOM Big & Healthy Lip Sticks were named after specific city, with this tawny pecan nude shade being dubbed “Berlin.”
Jil Sander Moiré Effect Hologram Clutch, $494. Available at MyTheresa.com
Award-winning German designer Jil Sander has been dubbed the “Queen of Less” thanks to her minimalist aesthetic. Since returning to the helm of her eponymous label last year, Sander has designed such remarkable pieces as this ocean blue PPU clutch, which features envelope-like folds along the sides and a rectangular top flap with a hidden snap closure. The holograph-like quality of the material, and the haziness of the striped design create a futuristic look that’s exciting yet accessible.
This 160-paged spiral notebook features 5″ x 8″ pages in ruled, dotted grid, blank, or task rules formats, allowing you to do anything from keep a journal to jot down to-do lists and doodle. The front cover, meanwhile, features a 1920s Berlin-inspired, black-and-white caricature of a pearl-wearing, headband-donning, curly-haired lady with loads of mascara and a dark, presumably red pout.
NIVEA A Kiss of Milk & Honey and NIVEA Kiss Of Olive Oil & Lemon Lip Balms, $2.99 each. Available at all mass food and drug retailers. Visit Drugstore.com
You may never stop to think about the history of skin care brand NIVEA, so here’s a juicy tidbit: it’s owned by German company Beiersdorf, which itself has a history of well over 100 years. Given NIVEA’s German roots, we thought it fitting to include some great stocking stuffer ideas in our Berlin-themed gift guide installment. Though Nivea makes a ton of excellent products including body moisturizers and hand creams, we’e currently smitten with their lip balms — especially the NIVEA A Kiss of Milk & Honey, which features honey extract, a natural humectant, along with fatty acid-rich shea butter, jojoba seed oil, and grape seed oil; and the Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon, which relies greatly on the regenerative properties of olive oil, which is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, along with antioxidants that fend off free radical damage. They’re perfect stocking stuffers for the season of smooching under the mistletoe!
OPI Germany Nail Lacquer Collection, $8 per lacquer. Available at Drugstore.com
For Fall 2o12, OPI derived inspiration from modern-day Berlin, launching a series of nail lacquer shades with quirky names like Unfor-greta-bly Blue (inspired by sapphire-colored historic buildings); Don’t Pretzel My Buttons (a honey beige hue); and Every Month Is Oktoberfest (an on-trend aubergine shade). Discover them all, gift them to loved ones, and leave them saying “danke shane.“
Alice Supply Co. Stripe 2-Player Ping Pong Set, $30.99. Available at Hayneedle.com
Think of ping pong as a team sport. Everyone carries their own paddle in one hand and, most likely, a drink in the other hand, then walks around the ping-pong table while music blasts in the background, as if playing an adult musical chairs game. The ping pong ball bounces from one side of the table to the next and, whoever happens to stroll by the table when a ball approaches must make sure to hit it with his/her paddle in order to stay in the game. If they miss, they must immediately leave the circle while, if they return the serve, they continue playing, circling the table and striking the ball as needed. As more players are eliminated, the game’s excitement mounts, until two players finally face off against one another. Sounds fun, right? Well, that’s why Berlin-style ping pong parties have been popping up all over San Francisco! In the spirit of this new trend, buy someone their own ping pong paddles so they can participate in the next Berlin-style ping pong party. These 1.85 lb. paddles from Alice Supply Co. feature striped handles and come with four balls — all packaged inside a classy custom case.