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DINNER WITH NEFRETITI: The invitation from mytheresa.com founders Susanne and Christoph Botschen sounded enticing enough: a dinner at Berlin’s Neues Museum to celebrate the German launch of the new Valentino accessories book, “Valentino: Objects of Couture” Wednesday night. But none of the 50 guests, including former Harper’s Bazaar fashion editor Lady Laura Burlington, Tank’s executive fashion editor Caroline Issa, French film export Clemence Poesy and screenwriter Aurélia Morali, and more local film talents Hannah Herzsprung, Mina Tander and Aylin Tezel, all wearing Valentino, were quite prepared for the magic of the surroundings.
Two long banquet sized tables stretched across the landing at the top of the museum’s majestically minimalist concrete main staircase, with another set of D.W. Griffith worthy steps ascending to heaven at their back. Like everything else in David Chipperfield’s prodigious reworking of the mid-19th century landmark, the space is a stunning synthesis of the museum’s semi-preserved interior and the architect’s elegantly contemporary aesthetic.
Indeed, it was thanks to Chipperfield, who is overseeing the new design of Valentino’s flagship stores worldwide, that mytheresa.com and Valentino were permitted to stage the first dinner in this exclusive setting. Thanks to Grand Chef Relais & Chateau Restaurant Da Vittorio, brought in from Bergamo, Italy, the meal was on par with the environment.
Up-and-coming young German actor Steve Windolf, a country boy from Brandenburg and police detective on the long-running TV series SOKO Köln was both enthralled and challenged by his first encounter with a towering plate of langoustine. This was followed by grape-studded risotto topped with white truffles for the female guests and black for the male, and sea bass in a velvety puree of turnip greens and baked gnocco, an unknown entity even to Valentino sales manager Elena Ciceri. Similar to gnocchi in shape, gnocco are a traditional Modenese snack of fried dough.
Later, Dominic Raacke, one of Tatort’s most popular deputy chief inspectors who recently handed in his prime time badge, was foiled in his plans to clandestinely visit the museum’s most famous resident, Nefretiti, with his table mates in tow. “No, you can’t leave the table before dessert,” commanded mytheresa.com’s buying director Justin O’Shea. And not only Raacke but the rest were glad they stayed put, as a never-ending parade of extravagant sweets started rolling in. It was a fairy tale dinner finale, topped only by a night time viewing of the Egyptian queen.