Ellie Pithers, The Daily Telegraph, December 20, 2013
Style.com said it was "a neighbourhood with less fashion presence than Indian takeout" but that hasn't stopped Dover Street Market bedding down in Lexington Avenue, New York.
The new DSM outpost will open December 21, located in a 20,000 square foot Beaux-Arts building, formerly a home for the New York School of Applied Design for Women which once encouraged women to pursue careers in arts and crafts. It's a weird location (Kips Bay is a family-friendly neighbourhood filled with sari shops and curry houses) but then Adrian Joffe, the CEO of DSM's parent company Comme des Garçons, has a habit of elevating desperately sleepy streets to prime fashion spots.
The seven-storey building will naturally carry Comme des Garçons, but New York's fashion snobs will be most excited by the news that Miuccia Prada has built a permanent space on the top floor (and designed an exclusive collection), with Saint Laurent taking a permanent spot on the fifth floor, and Louis Vuitton staging a three-month pop-up store on the ground floor. Other designers who will host their own individual stores-within-a-store include Thom Browne, Rick Owens, Sacai and Andre Walker.
Prada's spot on the top floor of Dover Street Market, with the glass elevator in the middle. Photo: PRADA
"The biggest challenges that we enjoyed this time was that the area of Kips Bay is completely untested for retail; and the leaving to chance of how all the brands and artists and designers would work together," Joffe told the Telegraph. The interior of the store was designed by Rei Kawakubo, the creative director of Comme des Garçons and Joffe's wife.
Of the store's design, Joffe said: "The DNA of the company is always to try to do something new. So using the language of CDG, and our own self-given parameters, Rei has created a totally new space, while utilising the iconic images of previous London and Tokyo Dover Street Markets, like the huts and the general chaotic spirit of various creative energies clashing together to make something bigger than the sum of its parts. The inspiration for the particular CDG brand spaces were inspired by a worship of nature and the use of only one material: wood."
Miuccia Prada has designed an exclusive collection for DSM New York. Photo: PRADA
Joffe has in the past admitted he had reservations about Kawakubo taking on the job, fearing that she would want to move the lift because it was so expensive. "Of course, moving the lift is all she wanted to do," he told the New York Times . A transparent elevator now runs through the centre of the store, linking all seven floors to give what Kawakubo called a "total experience".
A rollcall of top artists have contributed installations to add to the retail immersion, but which are Joffe's favourites? "We have worked with Leo Sewell, Magda Sayeg, and London Fieldworks for the three 60 feet pillars that transpierce the building. We have a staircase experience going from 3F to 4F designed by Reversible Destiny of Arakawa & Gins architectural firm. And we also have a mural by Alex da Corte, insallational shelves by Mark Cooper and two artworks by Lauren Kelly of the UK."
Over-stimulated shoppers will also be pleased to hear that the Rose Bakery can be found on the first floor. Run by Joffe's sister, Rose, the bakery has a cult following amongst fashion's famously calorie-averse insiders. Joffe predicts that New Yorkers, however, will be steering clear of the carrot cake, predicting that the "vegetable dishes" will be most popular.