PARIS — Adding to a fizzy fashion scene in Los Angeles, Rei Kawakubo plans to open her next branch of Dover Street Market in the city’s downtown Arts District, WWD has learned.
The 10,000-square-foot unit, located in a warehouse building with a massive car park, is slated to open in March 2018.
“It just felt like the right time and the right place. This is not part of a five-year plan. You know us,” said Adrian Joffe, Kawakubo’s husband and chief executive officer of Comme des Garçons International and Dover Street Market. “It’s going to be designed by Rei, and it’s going to look different.”
Unveiling the project exclusively to WWD, Joffe hinted that the Los Angeles unit would represent a “new version” of the Dover Street concept, albeit with the same freewheeling mix of streetwear and luxury brands.
Kawakubo describes her retail approach — which mingles Comme’s various lines with a range of international designer brands for women and men — as “beautiful chaos.”
The Los Angeles unit will be approximately a third of the size of the London flagship, which relocated to Haymarket last year, and will be spread across one level, instead of the usual multistory building.
Joffe noted that Comme des Garçons boasts a healthy wholesale business in Los Angeles. Among its dozen or so clients are Maxfield, Union, Lorenzo, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Noodle Stories.
The burgeoning Arts District boasts a clutch of indie fashion and beauty boutiques such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Guerilla Atelier, Apolis, Alchemy Works, Shinola, Wittmore, Voyager Shop, House of Woo and Malin + Goetz; plus home stores Poketo, Hammer and Spear, Hennessey + Ingalls and art gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel.
Launched in London in 2004 by Kawakubo, Dover Street Market has two other stores, in Tokyo and in New York. Comme des Garçons has also partnered with Hong Kong retailer I.T on I.T Beijing Market in Beijing. A Singapore branch, located in a former army barracks, is scheduled to open at the end of this month.
Quirky touches at Dover Street Markets include hutlike cash desks, jungle-gym structures, portable toilets as fitting cabins, walls of outmoded cell phones, and gigantic fiberglass spheres in window displays in lieu of clothes.
The retailer also tends to choose offbeat locations, occasionally transforming neighborhoods. Its namesake original location in London’s Mayfair transformed the sleepy thoroughfare into a retail destination, with stores including Victoria Beckham, Jimmy Choo Men’s and James Perse. Kawakubo and Joffe only decided to move because the Dover Street landlord tripled the rent.
Kawakubo and Joffe frequently redesign and reshuffle their markets, which is the case in the New York location, which opened in late 2013 at 160 Lexington Avenue at 30th Street, in a district chock-a-block with nail parlors and Indian restaurants.
On July 15, it is to add 3,000 square feet of retail space in the basement, having moved stock rooms to an adjacent building.
Joffe said the floor would house street brands such as Gosha Rubchinskiy, sneakers and a Good Design Shop.
On the same day, it is to debut a large shop on the fourth floor housing the first Calvin Klein Collection designed by Raf Simons.