Last week saw Royalty Issue coverstar Karl Lagerfeld extend his reign into the fashionable fields of Tokyo in a three day Chanel extravaganza. The Kaiser’s festivities paved the way for Rei Kawakubo and her COMME crack team to fling open the doors of their new Japanese Dover Street Market.
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Kawakubo’s SS12 ‘White Drama’ collection (as seen in The Royalty Issue, Spring 2012) for COMME des GARÇONS was a focal reference for her latest retail foray. Granted, that collection focused on the recent earthquake disaster in Japan, but in both cases it was the bright white hope that voiced Kawakubo’s optimistic architectural inspiration.
Dover Street Market’s Mayfair mothership is a mecca of cutting-edge design and 2012 sees her extend her skills with her latest venture, situated in the west wing of Tokyo’s Giza Komatsu. The location itself is historic, originally built in 1946, the building was demolished and then rebuilt into a six story, 2500 square metre retail shop space. Taking a corner is Adam Kimmel, marking his very first retail space. “The store is really beautiful and uplifting”, he told i-D, “there’s lots of personality and yet it is still very clean at the same time. I’m honoured to be a part of it”.
If the success of its London predecessor is anything to go by, then DSMG should be a stellar addition to Kawakubo’s retail roster. With an installation crafted by plaster sculptor, Kohei Nama, aptly named ‘white pulse’ branching from floor to ceiling, and skating shelters curling around the building’s circular pillar from Canadian firm Patkau Architects, the ‘beautiful chaos’ of Kawakubo’s aesthetic is finely tuned into a retail-museum treasure trove. British milliner and hat stand resident in the store, Stephen Jones, told i-D, “Like Dorothy’s house from the Wizard of Oz crash landing into Kansas, Dover St Market has landed in Tokyo’s conservative Ginza neighbourhood with a bang! With revolutionary ideas for the shopping experience it is shaking up the area with exciting and innovative clothing, accessories and installations from around the world. There really is nothing else like it.”
Headlining the rails, COMME des GARÇONS will share the spotlight with sister brands Junya Watanabe, Ganryu and PLAY CdG. There’ll be menswear aplenty from Raf Simons, House of Billiam and Thom Browne, with Supreme, Vans and A Bathing Ape all be putting in appearances too. Louis Vuitton are popping-up with Kim Jones’ SS12 mens collection and a kitsch DSM vending machine comes complete with Visvim mural painted by Brit artist Andy Hillman. Homegrown, Japanese talent such as Sacai will feature alongside Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Alexander Wang, Ann Demeulemeester, Céline and YSL, and DSM’s bread and butter; Azzedine Alaïa, will sit pride of place on the pinnacle sixth floor. Zipping straight to the top of the shopping pops, the East Wing of the store will connect with UNIQLO’s brand-new flagship store.
Speaking of their maiden retail voyage to foreign shores, Kawakubo’s husband and right-hand man, Adrian Joffe states “It’s very important, it’s the launch of Dover Street Market International.” Summer 2012′s looking bright for DSM, all aboard!
Text: Chris Prince