Dover Street Market needs no introduction, the world-renowned concept store conceived by radical Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo opened in September 2004 to universal acclaim; and served as a blueprint for what a fashion store could be, for the fearless. The original, on London’s Dover Street (naturally), closed its doors on 10 March this year, the tear-stained mascara of the capital’s fashion elite barely dry by the time it reopened a ten minute stroll away on Haymarket; almost tripling its footprint to an impressive 31,384 sq ft. Hallelujah.
And rejoice fans of high-end fashion should. Keeping the clothing industry close to its heart, DSM Haymarket occupies a Grade II listed building erected in 1912 by Thomas Burberry; Kawakubo once again taking control of overall creative direction and much of the design. It’s all very impressive, and the Japanese designer’s vision is realised to the most hair-splitting of detail.
The story plays out over five floors with unique themes, woven together by a central staircase; Kawakubo taking charge of all Comme des Garçons spaces, common areas, huts, till points, changing rooms, the Good Design Shop, Perfume Tower and Pocket Shop. Brands with dedicated spaces have been afforded creative freedom to run with whatever the hell they like … after all, they wouldn’t be here if Rei Kawakubo didn’t think the outcome would be anything short of sublime.
We’ve got sculptures; lighting installations; events space; brilliant homeware store Labour and Wait; café by Rose Bakery; pop-up spaces; and tons of products exclusive to Dover Street Market — brands involved reads like a who’s who list of the leading international fashion shows: Rick Owens, Céline, J.W. Anderson, Margaret Howell, Raf Simons. Vital.