What kind of shops does Ralf Ohletz visit when he travels?
Many people, like myself, go for more handcrafted things that are less known — the smaller brands. To me, this is the excitement of shopping. I was in Hong Kong recently, and I was amazed. They have these shops that you’d find anywhere in Europe — whether it’s Chanel or Gucci, all the brands — but I realized that there was nothing that I could really buy because everything was made for the Chinese market. Being public companies, they’re gearing themselves for the entry consumer, and that was interesting because there was nothing I wanted to buy. When you go to Europe, the merchandise is different.
I enjoy shopping in certain cities, like Florence, because they have lots of tailor-made things such as the Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella, which is a beautiful sort of pharmacy where they have been making perfumes and things by nuns for 400 years. I like things that you can find occasionally somewhere, but not often. For instance, in London, you can go to Geo. F. Trumper, which is a hairdresser that makes beautiful perfumes for men, and you have Floris London, which is much more for ladies. These are perfumers that have been around a long time — Trumper for 150 years, Floris for 250 years.