Quirky, revolutionary, avant-garde, ground-breaking and eclectic are all words that spring to mind whenever the Dover Street Market is mentioned. Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons fame opened the Dover Street Market in an old Georgian house in London in 2004. Her guerrilla store concept is a collection of stalls spread over six floors and put together by a list of illustrious designers including Givenchy, Dior Homme, Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Lanvin, Ann Demeulemeester and Gareth Pugh, as well as a host of new labels.
A popular haunt of stylists, fashionistas and editors, the fashion emporium located in the heart of London’s Mayfair also doubles up as a gallery space which houses installations and exhibitions. All of the designers displaying their goods are encouraged to adapt the space to suit their particular collections. The space is chaotic, vibrant and energetic , yet "effortlessly stylish" and "the antithesis to the slick glamour of the designer superstore".
The store reopened on 17 January after its bi-annual transformation. The changes include a huge octopus window installation by Les Trois Garçons, the Lanvin space redesigned by Alber Elbaz to resemble a busy internet café/ office environment, complete with desktops linked via chat, the Charles Anastase space that was redesigned by the former illustrator himself to show off his new collection, the newly designed space of preppy label Billionaire Boys Club to showcase their new astronomic 'space gentleman' collection, as well as the rejuvenated first floor space which houses the Commes des Garçons shirt-domimated collection with its bold colours and graphic prints.
Some of the labels making their Dover Street Market debut this season are: Spanish luxury fashion house Loewe, Japanese knitwear label Sacai, British Fashion Council award winner and Canadian rising star Erdem, French couture designer Alexis Mabille, Peter Pilotto, described by Style.com as one of the ‘Ten Most Promising Talents’ and Pokit, with a commission-ready collection of summer weight jumbo twill corduroy suits and jackets.
This fresh approach to the traditional retail environment is always developing and changing, which results in a constant flow of innovative collections, designers and curated spaces, highly valued by designers, artists, celebrities and stylists alike.
Rei Kawakubo explains her inspiration: "I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos: the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision."
And as far as future plans are concerned: “We hope to make DSM more and more interesting. I enjoy seeing all the customers coming to DSM dressed in their strong, good looking and individual way. I would like for DSM to be the place where fashion becomes fascinating." From what we can see it already is....
Monday to Wednesday: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday to Saturday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Dover Street Market
17-18 Dover Street
London W1S 4LT, UK Tel: +44 20 7518 0680
Nearest Tube station: Green Park