It seems to us at Hg2 that the city of Zurich is often unfairly seen only in the light of its most famous feature – Finance. However, we think there’s another “F” word that it should be associated with… Fashion. Underneath its sensible, clean and efficient reputation lies a vibrant and multicultural city that’s home to art, music and, more importantly, N°2 – the gorgeous boutique created by Dominique von Albertini and Adrienne Purkert.
We caught up with Adrienne to fill us in about N°2 and its three components – fashion, furniture and their new cafe – and if that wasn’t enough – it turns out she is an absolute expert on where to eat, sleep, drink and go in her home city. We can’t say we’re altogether surprised, but she also has very similar taste to yours truly…
Tell us a bit about the name N°2 – why did you choose that, given that the shop actually comprises three parts (fashion, furniture and café)?
Well quite simply, there always has to be a N°1. In this case it’s Dominique’s mother, Susanne von Albertini’s children’s shop right next to ours called Tiger-Fink. It’s been there for 20 years and it’s always lovely, always fresh and always new. Also, when we started it all two years ago we had no idea that we would now have a coffee or a furniture shop in the building next to the store.
Besides all that, in our eyes, our mothers are always the N°1’s.
How did the idea for the shop come about?
It was always Dominique’s lifelong dream. When he was 13 years old he wanted to start a T-Shirt label but I suppose I was always more interested in the other side of the counter as it were. I really love fashion, and I especially love shopping for special pieces all over the world. It became apparent that I would always hunt for the nicest or the most unknown piece. Dominique and I thought that this mix between creating and sourcing could be interesting. We now have labels you can’t find anywhere else in Zurich or Switzerland, however they are all very well known elsewhere. For example, Sass & Bide in the UK/Australia, MSGM in Italy, Karen Walker in New Zealand and Australia, We Are Handsome in Australia, USEunused in Budapest, Avelon in The Netherlands and Claire Vivier in the USA. Quite simply, we’re committed to bringing the latest fashion trends to Zurich from all over the world.
Today, fashion is following an international theme. Of course there are traditions and trends that tend to be associated with certain cities or countries, but because of the diversity within those places, fashion becomes very individualistic. We are simply trying to support that individualism with our special selection of all the great emerging designers.
Who creates the wonderful furniture for WoodLove?
We would absolutely love to know the details of that ourselves actually. You see, most of the pieces are between 100 and 300 years old and so it’s inevitable that sometimes the history of single pieces is lost. We always try to find out as much as possible. We think that the customer gets so more satisfaction out of the piece if they know the story behind it, so we try and discover where it stood before, its previous owners, who made it and when. Often the histories are so interesting that we’ve heard they make perfect dinner-party stories for the proud new owners!
If a customer wants the piece to be painted, we have Fredi, The Best Painter in Town, and Dominique will change handles or anything else that the customer would like modifying. He always tries his best to make every customer happy and fulfil all their wishes.
What gave you the idea to expand to a café this year? What kind of crowd comes here?
For us it was just a natural and logical step. We had the backyard, we had the manpower, we enjoy serving good food and most of all, we love to have happy people around us. We sell salads which we buy fresh from the market, Quiches and other dishes from Hin & Weg as well as wine from the best Wine Shop in Zurich called Brancaia. It had to be a success.
“Kafi Höfli” is a good hide-away for several people. It’s funny… the atmosphere is very familiar. When we first opened we just didn’t get the Zurich Businessman or the Hipster. But then after a few weeks they became braver and started to have their meetings there. I think the mix is very unique for Zurich. We have the teenage girls, the businessmen, families, the older couple drinking Champagne and the odd passerby who wants to read the newspaper. It’s a funny mix but, for us, everybody is welcome. We’re already looking forward to Spring 2013…
What are some of your favourite places to go out in Zurich?
For shopping, a few steps from N°2 you’ll find Modestrom 110, a very nice Boutique with Nina Ricchi Bags and Burak Uyan Shoes, the internationally successful Swiss label Ikou Tschüss and much more… Then at Münzplatz you’ll find Fidelio. An absolute Must for every real fashionista. If you need to buy souvenirs I would recommend Townhouse – a lovely small boutique with handpicked gifts everybody will love you for. If you don’t find anything there you could cross the river and check out the En Soie – a unique shop with handmade ceramics, jewellery and scarves. Every Zurich-lover needs something from there – and its just a stones throw away from Pretôt where you’ll find Swiss sausages to die for…!
For dinner, if you are a couple, Lumiere would be a great choice. Try the “entrecote double café de paris” and make sure you reserve a table on the left of the entrance… it’s the most romantic one. Beside the good food and the nice interior – they have the friendliest staff in Zurich. If you are a group I like going to Rosso or Bar Basso (The Best Pizza in Town), Josef or Kaufleuten. If you want to eat Zurich specialties for an affordable price you should go to the Zeughauskeller and if you want to eat the best Züri Geschnetzeltes (sautéd veal) in the city, then LindenHofkeller or Veltlinerkeller is the place to go.
For accommodation, I would organise a nice hotel in the center of Zurich but, like everything, it always depends on the budget. So the Hotel Widder is a very nice choice – but not for everyone’s budget. Another good and cozy place is the Hotel Kindli. They have also a very nice restaurant in the basement and its just a few steps from the Widder Bar and Lumiere.
If you had a visitor in town for the weekend, where would you take them in the city?
Oh that’s easy. Of course it always depends on the person and the interests, and then if it’s summer or winter, but…
I would organise a brunch at Sprungli or Maison Blunt and then walk through Bahnhofstrasse and Lindenhof, across the limmat and show them the Old Town. Maybe stop for a coffee at Schwarzenbach and then go to Cabaret Voltaire for an insight into Zurich’s art scene. Also, only a few steps away is Gallerie BurgerStocker which is having an exhibition in collaboration with local-hero and photographer Rene Burri until 19th Jan 2013. After that I would go to Bellevue and catch Tram 2 or 4 in direction Tiefenbrunnen. 2 stations later and what’dya know it? We’re in front of N°2, Tigerfink and Woodlove. A glass of bubbling prosecco is always a good choice! After that we would probably need a real meal – in Seefeld there are a several good restaurants but I really like Schlüssel or Metzg. After that we would have to chill out for a little bit – a good place for that is the Spa at Hotel Dolder. However a cheaper and equally nice place is the Hürrlimann Spa – and it’s also got a great view of Zurich.
After relaxing, an aperitif at Ojo de Agua Weinkontor – where it’s important to make a reservation. Dieter Meier is well known as an artist, and for his beef and wines from Argentina. After the nice aperetif I would go to Josef or Restaurant ITALIA. After an extended dinner you could choose a bar around you (the two Restaurants are next to Langstrasse) and then take a cab (5 min) to famous Geroldstrasse where you’ll find nice clubs like Cabaret or Hive.
Sunday is a bit boring in Zurich – I really have to admit it. There’s not a lot open and not a lot going on so this is the day for Culture.
In the summer – go on a boat or water-taxi to lunch spots like Fischers Fritz, Seerose or Chez Fritz. In winter, go ice-skating at Dolder Ice Rink and then drink Glühwein until you’re warmed up again. Another funny alternative is the Fondue-Tram or the Wine-Ship –failing all this, simply go up in the mountains and do some snowboarding or skiing!
What do you think? Anywhere in Zurich you’d like to check out? And more importantly, have we convinced you about it’s fashionable underbelly…?