Guido Maria Kretschmer: He wants to dial his late father’s number every day

In his new book, Guido Maria Kretschmer appears more private than ever and finds loving words for his late father.

With “19,521 Steps. The Happiness of Unexpected Encounters,” Guido Maria Kretschmer (58) is publishing his most personal book to date on October 18th. A book he dedicated to his parents. “I wrote it when my father was still alive,” explains the popular fashion designer in an interview with spot on news. “He liked it so much.” Kretschmer’s father died in August at the age of 87. His mother suffers from dementia, as the designer mentions for the first time in the book.

The framework is a late summer day in Berlin, on which Kretschmer meets different people, some of whom allow him to look deep into their souls. “As soon as I meet people, they tell me many, many private stories. That’s part of me and my everyday life,” explains the designer and reveals that without his great love, Frank Mutters (68), the book probably wouldn’t have come about .

“That day in Berlin was a gift, one that only I could experience because it is my life and because people don’t see me as a stranger but trust me,” you write in your book. Where does this trust that complete strangers show you come from?

Guido Maria Kretschmer: On the one hand, I think it’s in my DNA that I’m open to people and situations, I don’t necessarily judge them and I take it as it comes. I also have a great interest in people and of course they sense that too. Many people have the feeling that they recognize me through my media presence, so that it may be easier for them to talk to me and break through the barrier that normally stands between strangers. Everyone is in good hands with me and strangers often quickly become friends.

Which of your numerous, sometimes bizarre, encounters do you particularly remember?

Kretschmer: Actually everyone I experienced that day. What I particularly remember is the great trust of the people I met and the extreme human closeness and friendliness that I felt.

When you told your husband Frank about that day in Berlin in the evening, he immediately encouraged you to write about it. Was that the birth of the book?

Kretschmer: Frank said: You are my human catcher and that is such a beautiful story that you must not forget and definitely have to write down. So it was kind of the birth of it, as I hadn’t originally planned to write a book about it.

“He is my heaven on earth,” you write about Frank, among other things. You’ve been considered the perfect couple for over 38 years, how do you manage to keep your love alive day after day?

Kretschmer: I think the secret is that I’m always a little more of a fan of him than of me. That’s a good basic requirement and I would recommend it to many people – to be a little more enthusiastic about what the other person is doing. This makes you somehow free and grows together in a good way.

In comparison to your other books, you also reveal a lot of personal information about yourself in “19,521 Steps”. Did you find that difficult?

Kretschmer: Since I’m generally a relatively transparent person, even in public, it wasn’t really difficult for me and it somehow made sense to tell this story so personally. As soon as I wrote the first page, I quickly realized that this was the only way to do it. The private and personal cannot be separated from my life, that would not be authentic either. I wrote everything as it was and not for a second did I feel like I was revealing anything that wasn’t human enough to share. The book therefore shows very well who I am and where I come from.

You dedicate your book to your parents. Your father unfortunately passed away in August, have you talked to him about the book?

Kretschmer: Oh yes, I read the book to him beforehand. It was very nice because he stroked my hand while he was doing it and he liked it so much. I wrote the book while he was still alive, he is a big part of it and I am very grateful that I was able to share it with him.

Among other things, you describe the typical phone calls with your father, which always went the same way. Are you finding it difficult to read these lines today?

Kretschmer: It’s very difficult for me because I had a perfect telephone relationship with my father. It’s difficult for me to no longer be able to talk to him every day and talk about different experiences of my day. I was always able to dial his number, we had fixed times when we spoke – every day it happens to me that I think “oh, now I’ll call dad quickly” and then realize that it’s no longer possible. But that’s life and I remember the many beautiful moments we shared and everything my father gave me. It is all the more valuable that it is part of this book, which is so important to me.

What is the most important piece of advice your father ever gave you?

Kretschmer: He taught me that everything is possible in this life, that you always have to take everything into account and not be frightened by what some people keep saying. And that you are not shocked by what you do not expect. Also, that you always go through life decently and be your own regulator. My father often quoted Adenauer when he said: Take people as they are, there are no others. This is a very wise saying that I often take to heart and have internalized.

Your book is a declaration of love to your parents, your Frank, your friends, but also people in general, to the “wonderful encounters” that you were able to experience. Will you now allow yourself more days off so that you can continue to gain such experiences?

Kretschmer: That’s a nice idea (laughs). I wrote about this one day in which I really experienced a lot, but I don’t think it can be reproduced and these encounters are of course part of my everyday life – I don’t have to take extra time off for them. As soon as I meet people, they tell me many, many private stories. This is part of me and my everyday life. You could probably write five more books about it (laughs).

Maybe you will now be approached on the street even more often than before in order to end up in a potential sequel…?

Kretschmer: I haven’t even thought about it. Maybe it will happen. I’m open to everything and all I can say to everyone is: those who dare will be rewarded (laughs).

How should you definitely not be addressed in public?

Kretschmer: I’m very good at being hugged and building up closeness, including physical ones, with people. What I don’t like at all is when people touch my neck. I’m very sensitive to that. A woman once asked me if she could lick my neck because she likes to do that with her husband. I politely declined (laughs).


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