Stefanie Hanssen’s earliest scent memory is the clover in her family’s backyard. “I was born in a mining town at the end of the sixties. The air wasn’t particularly clean, but I remember the green freshness of our field,” she says. That unaffected appreciation of fragrance is woven into the DNA of Frau Tonis Parfum, the artful Berlin perfume shop Hanssen opened in 2009.
“One night while at the philharmonic, I noticed a lovely scent on the woman sitting next to me—it was fern, cedar, and pepper—but I was too shy to ask what she was wearing. I visited perfumeries time and time again, but nobody could help me find something similar. They kept trying to sell me the newest launch,” she says. Frustrated, she took matters into her own hands, and Frau Tonis was born.
Located in the trendy Mitte neighborhood (and around the corner from tourist destination Checkpoint Charlie), the atelier is an oasis of calming white decor. Sleek lacquer counters display thirty elegant perfumes, ranging from crisp citruses to deep, spicy orientals (Pure Violet, a scent once composed for Marlene Dietrich in the twenties, is among the most popular). The boutique’s fantastically knowledgeable staff guides patrons through the selection process and blends favorites into a perfectly individualized fragrance. “A great perfume should be a gift to one’s self—an inspiration,” says Hanssen. Here, as Berlin Fashion Week gets under way, the perfumer shares her go-to spots for the city’s greatest haircut, killer cocktails, and inspired shopping.
—Crystal G. Martin
The Signature Scent: Frau Tonis Aventure
“It’s eccentric. The amber, patchouli, and red pepper are so special together—it’s magic.”
The Home Fragrance: Frau Tonis Berlin Linden Tree
“I love the contrast of this natural scent in my flat with what’s going on outside: the traffic, the movements of the city.”
The Beauty Counter: Quartier 206
“This department store is peaceful and has beautiful Art Deco design. It’s five minutes from my shop, so I can go there to relax. And the salespeople are so clever.”
The Chop Shop: Ayfer
“She has a small shop with no assistants, which was fascinating, so I gave her a try. She had an idea about what my hair should look like—my vision was different, so I just had to trust her. She ended up being right.”
The Hometown Heroes: Perret Schaad
“Can one design prettier, more pure fashion than Perret Schaad? They’re from Berlin and are my fashion heroes.”
The Fashion Week Hot Spot: The Curtain Club at the Ritz-Carlton
“It’s cozy, warm, and a little dark. In German, we’d call that atmosphere gemütlich. They offer exclusive Frau Tonis Parfum fragrance drinks, which are delightful! Ask for Oriental Journey, it tastes of almond and marzipan.”
The Asian Fare: Monsieur Vuong
“Their wonton soup—it must be made by someone’s grandmother. It’s so delicious. No other Indochina restaurant in Berlin is at this level.”
The Major Mall: Hackescher Markt
“It’s a collection of little shops where you can find such unique things. I found my 7-year-old son a gold crown made of paper. He wears it every day now and pretends he’s a Roman king.”
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