Style File: A pilgrimage to Dover St Market
With a seasonal changeover and a tie-up with Repossi, the Mayfair store is thriving, finds Rebecca Gonsalves
Not all shops are created equal. And one of the leaders of the pack is the inimitable Dover Street Market – the concept store from Rei Kawakubo, the visionary behind Comme des Garçons. A much-loved London fashion institution, known for its mix of contemporary labels and art-influenced aesthetic, the opening of a New York outpost has caused shoppers on that side of the Atlantic to get in a tizz. And understandably so.
One way the store ensures its place as a leader on the retail landscape is the seasonal practice of tachiagari, in which it’s out with the old and in with the new – spring cleaning at its fashionable best. The popular leather wallets by Comme des Garçons – made in Spain and surprisingly affordable (compared to the price tags of other brands’ small leather goods, at least) – have been given a makeover, too, as has its casual Play range – the heart logo of which has been resized.
But it isn’t just the stock that gets refreshed – branded spaces are redesigned while there is always room to be made for a new label or two.
This season, the fine jewellery brand Repossi is one of the store’s key investments, with an exclusive collection created by Gaia Repossi for the New York store, which has now been brought to London, too. Featuring stackable rings in gold, lilac gold and black rhodium, the most luxurious versions are inset with diamonds. The shape of the rings was inspired by the “Japanese minimal universe” of the people behind Dover Street Market, specifically the store’s pointed hut logo.
“We have a great relationship with the store,” says Repossi, the great-granddaughter of the founder of the jewellery house, Gian Pietro Repossi. “The collaboration started about seven years ago and has only got bigger, which is a great feeling. Their vision and spaces are among my favourite in the world, and I have always admired Rei Kawakubo.”
Premium labels command premium prices, but there is a much more egalitarian feel than in more exclusive designer boutiques elsewhere. This is epitomised by next month’s celebration of the formative years of the Institute of Contemporary Arts – when it was housed in the Dover Street space. To celebrate, the ICA will take over its former home with a large-scale display of art and ephemera from its early days.
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