DOVER STREET MARKET

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Rei Kawakubo, the creator of Commes des Garçons,  is probably the most original designer living today and her husband and president of the company, Adrian Joffe, is a savvy ‘in-a-league-of-his-own’ retailer.

Thinking out of a very unpredictable box, they do things other fashion brands wouldn’t dare or consider.

TheEye is a big fan.

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Adrian Joffe, company president and husband of Rei Kuwakubo

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The opening of the new ‘flagship’ store last week in the Haymarket was an all day affair and packed with eager designers, journalists and customers.

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Having a blue day

In the mid-80s, TheEye bought a ‘Commes’ coat which still looks as contemporary as anything designed today. Apart from a slightly threadbare velvet collar – well, it is nearly 25 years old – it remains one of TheEye’s most treasured items of clothing. The  same can’t be said of a jacket in a Commes ‘loose threads’ collection – which featured unfinished bedraggled threads hanging from the hem. Yes, I did get rather miffed when innumerable ‘do gooders’ pointed this out to me and I was forced to explain it was no accident, muttering under my breath ‘and if you knew how expensive it was, you would really be laughing.’

The truth is, Rei designs for some particular customers – those that don’t mind putting two legs in one trouser opening, and no arms and often no back on a jacket. These are the statement pieces, TheEye sticks to Commes ‘classics’ rather than the more outlandish items which would make her look like a pathetic clown. Often the collections are difficult to understand, sometimes bordering on the comical. But she has a singular vision and an inspiring creativity – a genius at retail as well as design.

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Colour, shape, form – dress, neckpiece, hat

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A guy’s look – head to polka dot toe

Dover Street Market has relocated to the old Burberry building in The Haymarket which Burberry vacated in 2004 moving to Old Bond Street. For a high fashion store, Haymarket is most definitely an ‘off-piste’ location. The New York store, another iconic building, is also in another ‘wrong side of fashion town’.

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A link with the past. Burberry tradesmen’s entrance still remains

For the moment, DSM stands alone, but will others follow..?

You can use the term destination.  It’s an awkward location to get to but, in the words of Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, ‘create something beautiful and people will come’. Rei Kawakubo’s original concept was to create a ‘market’ (no carrots or potatoes), which de-coded translates as bringing together creators from various fields under one roof who share a strong personal vision. Brands as diverse as (amongst others), Paul Smith, Lanvin, Balenciaga,  sportswear, odd tribal masks (albeit embroidered), jewellery books, magazines and so on. ‘An ongoing atmosphere‘ ,according to her,’of beautiful chaos‘ and from what TheEye saw on opening day in the new Haymarket store, she has scored again.

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Fashion as art

AND THEN THERE IS THE ART.…..

Art and fashion are a marriage. Dover Street Markets act as galleries as much as shops.

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Wall murals by PIROSMANI (very ‘Fiddler on the Roof’)

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MERCHANDISE

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How lovely does she look?

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Socks just ‘thrown together’? I don’t think so.

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These weren’t made for hiking

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Peasant shoes for the sophisticated

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Colourful, comfortable and practical

NOT YOUR STANDARD ITEMS

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No, not a food kiosk. New magazine Luncheon features gossipy interviews over lunchtime

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Vintage Face Magazines. Collectors item.

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Hand embroidered skulls – DSM is a gallery as well as a shop.

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Elephants Never Forget Purses

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Bold fish statement necklace

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EAGER SHOPPERS ON PREVIEW DAY

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Having a kiss and a cuddle wearing their DOVER STREET MARKET medallions.  AHH!

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Follower of fashion – never too young to get the bug – with dishy Dad!

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Hiawatha?

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Do you think someone should tell her she has holes in her trousers?

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Love the earrings and Carmen Miranda hair.

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Head to toe – it’s a great look!

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Go on, try it on

AND FINALLY.… HEALTHY DELICIOUSNESS AT THE ROSE CAFE

Drinks and tasty bites were served all preview day in the ROSE CAFE owned by Rose Carrarini (the sister of Adrian Joffe) and her husband Jean-Charles. Like their original Paris cafes, the food and baked goods (sweet and savoury) are ‘homey’ in the best possible way. Not fancy or overdone. If only home baked were as good? Great from breakfast onwards.

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This is not going to help me squeeze into a new dress

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I want the jam and I don’t even like jam. It just looks so tempting

TheEye was taking everything in, but there was a lot to absorb, and she will be returning to make a purchase or two!

TheEye doesn’t buy much online.

Her philosophy is simple, if she’s going to spend money, she wants it to be an enjoyable experience. Gazing at a screen, scrolling and clicking, are not an enjoyable experience. Hardly an experience at all. Fine for books or box sets, but DSM offers a really fun, almost theatrical shopping experience and that is what their customers appreciate.

Serious clothes excitingly and creatively displayed in an atmosphere of surprise and entertainment. Wandering around the store is a journey of discovery.

‘HIGH FASHION IN A STORE REMINISCENT OF A STREET MARKET’.

 

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Preview day was long and exhausting and even the mannequins needed a rest.

Rei herself was apparently ‘not visible’ but TheEye spotted her twice outside the building nervously pacing up and down wearing dark glasses, trying to avoid chit chatting with her avid fans.

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Rei Kawakubo Courtesy of COMMES DES GARCONS (PHOTO EIICHIRO SAKATA)

 

Rei says ‘I do not believe in fame‘ and rarely gives interviews. Even TheEye resisted taking a photo.

Some people deserve their privacy.

4 Comments

  1. Thats very exciting, gtrat blog.

  2. Catherine Pawson April 1, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Inspiring as always Jan

  3. Janice
    Cannot wait to get to London to visit the amazing store. I arrive in mid May from Boston. Hoping to see you while I am there.
    xo Rona

    • Janice Blackburn April 10, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      thank you rona and lovely to get your comment. Please give advanced notice of your arrival and we will go to the Dover Street Market together.
      Jan

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