Albert Eickhoff has died

Ehe was always there. Backstage in Paris, Albert Eickhoff spoke to the head buyers at Saks Fifth Avenue about the new trends. In Kaiserswerth he sat with designers such as Albert Kriemler, Gabriel Strehle or Adrian Runhof in the “Schiffchen” and introduced them to his customer. And in Milan, where he traveled by private plane so that he was in the showroom at nine o’clock in the morning rather than at noon, he worked through the Armani collection at breakneck speed. When he hurried down Via Tortona with his wife Brigitte, his daughter Susanne and his son-in-law Stefan, even Italian fashionistas jumped aside in surprise. They had never seen such a stylishly dressed German family.

Alphonse Kaiser

Responsible editor for the department “Germany and the World” and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin.

Over. Albert Eickhoff, the legendary Düsseldorf retailer, the king of the Königsallee, died on Thursday night at the age of 86 in his house in Meerbusch. The man who noticed everything, who offered wisdom about fashion, bon mots for life and, incidentally, clothes for the rich, has fallen silent. An era of great fashion men comes to an end, including Klaus Steilmann, Gerd and Walter silk stickerMustang inventor Albert Sefranek or Igedo boss Manfred Kronen.

He was one of the first German customers of Prada

Even the start in Lippstadt was legendary. Albert Eickhoff, born in 1935, worked as a buyer after completing an apprenticeship as a textile merchant and attending technical school in Nagold. On March 15, 1961, he and his wife Brigitte, whom he met at the Berlin fashion fair “Durchreise”, opened the “Modesalon Eickhoff” in two rented rooms of the savings and loan bank in Lippstadt. “First of all, the enthusiasm has to be there, then you have to work on it for a long time”: According to this motto, they first brought Berlin couture into business, and then the two brought new names from Italy. “We never waited for judgements, we were the opinion leaders ourselves,” he said later. It so happened that Gianni Versace didn’t show his first own fashion show in Milan or Florence: in 1978, models like Jerry Hall and Pat Cleveland actually presented Versace fashion in the Stadttheater in Lippstadt.

Düsseldorf in 2001: The fashion retailer Albert Eickhoff in his salesroom on Düsseldorf's Königsallee

Düsseldorf in 2001: The fashion retailer Albert Eickhoff in his salesroom on Düsseldorf’s Königsallee

Image: dpa

He also brought Armani and Cavalli to Germany and was one of the first German customers of prada and Gucci. But Lippstadt soon became too small for such names, and it was too far away for customers like Aenne Burda or Hilde von Lang. So Dusseldorf! When they opened their shop at Königsallee 56 on January 10, 1981, the police had to direct the traffic. “There have probably never been so many Italians in this city,” Eickhoff once said. All the big names were soon to be had here: Claude Montana, Jil Sander, Roberto Cavalli, Etro, Lanvin, Balenciaga, Balmain.

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