The Making Of Dover Street Market New York
Rei Kawakubo, the singular designer of Commes des Garçons, is bringing her multibrand store to New York City.
“The only thing I was hoping she wouldn’t do is move the elevator, because it’s so expensive,” says Adrian Joffe, husband of the runway renegade Rei Kawakubo and chief executive of her $230 million fashion brand Comme des Garçons. A compact man who resembles Pablo Picasso, Joffe is dressed head-to-toe in Comme (save the hard hat), leading a walk-through of the new Dover Street Market, a carnivalesque fashion wonderland that, if all goes as planned, will open on Dec. 21,2013 , whipping style zealots into a frenzy a mere four shopping days before Christmas. “Of course, moving the lift is all she wanted to do,” he continues with a sigh.
Though DSM plays an important role in introducing the Comme philosophy to new consumers, it’s really “a labor of love,” says James Jebbia of the cult skate wear label Supreme, which has been granted a prized berth on the seventh floor, just opposite Prada. “They want to open peoples’ eyes to great things. I’m very proud to be in there.”
After the basic construction is complete, the plan is for the designers and artists to arrive with their furniture (many of them have designed their own spaces), and the chaos will begin in earnest.
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
Called the “Energy Showroom,” DSMNY’s fourth-floor mezzanine will be given over to a cast of emerging brands, including Paula Gerbase’s wonderfully austere 1205 line; the dance-music-influenced KTZ; Sibling, the innovative knitwear label; and the men’s wear designer Craig Green. Each has been granted a small piece of real estate (approximately five feet by seven feet) all their own. “They can hang up posters, whatever they like — treat it like their own space,” Joffe says.
Kawakubo's influence on up-and-coming young designers is immeasurable.
ART IN COMMERCE
“We’re not fashion people, so this is a completely different realm,” admits Bruce Gilchrist, one half of the “performative architecture” duo London Fieldworks. But when DSMNY invited Gilchrist and his partner, Jo Joelson, to create a site-specific work for one of the three columns that cut through the space, they happily accepted the challenge. The final product touches on everything from outsider art and the Japanese Metabolism movement to “animal building — particularly the way small-brained creatures put structures together.”
Looking to make the store a showplace for the work of artists with strong, often idiosyncratic personal visions, Kawakubo and her team have commissioned pieces that are conceptual, challenging and about as far from Santa’s Village as you can get. Madeline Gins of the procedural architecture practice Arakawa and Gins is installing what she calls a “reversible destiny space” around a staircase.
EATING AND SHOPPING
Providing sustenance to DSMNY’s shoppers and likely to become a destination itself is Rose Bakery, the beloved Paris cafe, set to colonize the first floor and mezzanine. Outposts of the brunch mecca have flourished in the London and Ginza Dover Street Markets, each with a distinct personality. The menu of salads, soups, quiches, savory tarts and pastries changes daily based on the recommendations of local purveyors, and regional tastes also play a role.