For three days every season Dover Street Market closes its doors to refurbish its designer spaces and update its wardrobe. On the third day the store resurrects, ready and raring to guide its visitors (you might call them disciples) through spring/summer, or autumn/winter for that matter.
Opened in 2004 by Rei Kawakubo, the vast Dover Street space is one of the few stores in London where the interiors rival the clothes, competing for attention on every floor. A fashion commerce museum of sorts, each collection is as much an exhibition as a retail rail. Tachiagari, Japanese for ‘beginning’, is the conceptual name behind DSM’s bi-annual transformation, when over a period of three days, nobody goes in and nobody comes out, as the store sheds its skin, making room for change. As well as updating the collections, designers are invited to personally set-design their square footage, the results of which were unveiled today in the form of an Alber Elbaz-brained chessboard for Lanvin, a Japanese puppet theatre-inspired space from Hussein Chalayan (echoing his spring/summer film), a new all black Comme des Garçons installation and an entirely new space entitled “Construction Interrupted”, both courtesy of DSM concept Queen, Ms. Kawakubo.
The alliterating P’s, Phoebe Philo and Peter Pilotto also worked on their own spaces, and DSM grafted in production designer Michael Howells to work on the “Industrial Cabaret” and artist Michael Samuels down in the basement. Taking centre stage is a window display dedicated to just one bag; reportedly Kawakubo’s favourite bag of all time, carried by Brigitte Bardot and named among the ’50 bags that changed the world’ by the Design Museum – hype, hype, hype – Paco Rabanne’s exquisite ’69′ bag. Kawakubo worked in collaboration with the folk at Paco Rabanne and hand-picked her favourite three material productions of the 69, perspex, black rubber and aluminium, which will hereby be stocked exclusively in DSM, in addition to the other six designs. Elswhere, Tachiagari (it means ‘beginning’ remember – pay more attention), welcomes new designers Elena Dawson, Egg, J. JS Lee and Gary Graham. New dawn. New day. New Life. Until next season.