Twice a year in January and July, Dover Street Market closes to the public for a few days as Comme des Garçons creative director Rei Kawakubo leads a project called New Beginning, where designers reconfigure and redesign their allocated space at the eight-floor, 25,000-square-foot store at 160 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, and fill it with new merchandise for the season.
In addition to overseeing 18 collections under the Comme des Garçons umbrella, Kawakubo designs all of the common areas at Dover Street Market, general men’s and women’s spaces, elevator, huts, cash wraps, changing rooms and ceilings, as well as the Good Design Shop, perfume tower and Pocket Shop.
Kawakubo, ever the provocateur, has created surprising, even jarring adjacencies at Dover Street Market. With reconfigured spaces, and expanded and contracted footprints, the brands encounter one another “in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos.”
An example of this artistic mash-up is the placement of Gucci next to Supreme. Dover Street Market is the only location in New York City that sells Supreme other than the street wear brand’s SoHo and Brooklyn stores. On the days of each drop, DSM distributes tickets to help manage the crowds, allowing only a certain number of consumers to shop the Supreme space at the same time.
Gucci’s seventh floor space represents one of the most dramatic changes at DSM this summer, and is a pure reflection of creative director Alessandro Michele’s aesthetic. Brands with permanent space at DSM have complete creative control over their environments; all others are designed by Kawakubo.
An ode to the color orange, Gucci’s area has an orange ceiling and faux suede walls, orange mannequins and a large glass and orange-lacquer case displaying needlepoint pillows of a few of Michele’s favorite things: tigers, bears and bees. DSM recently launched Gucci’s home decor collection, which features upholstered chairs, along with lacquered accent tables, including one with a tiger, and another with a Fornasetti-like design.
Also on the sixth floor is Thom Browne’s display, an office as seen through the designer’s lens. Behind a desk with a goose-neck lamp and old-fashioned swivel chair, are gray culottes, exaggerated to ridiculous proportions and paired with a miniscule gray jacket. Comme des Garçons’ collection features a velvet coat outlined with frills, $2,445, and pink neon coats and dresses that Kawakubo has said were inspired by “Notes on Camp,” a poem by Susan Sontag. New collections for fall/winter 2018 season will include Anton Belinskiy, Marc Jacobs, Vampires Wife and Y/Project.
Prada is a new collection for fall/winter 2018, with men’s wear displayed in the third floor men’s designer space and women’s found on the fifth floor in the women’s designer area.
A globose tunnel leading from the fourth to the third level, with its odd color scheme, is indicative of the store’s loopy aesthetic. Art installations at the store include three nonfunctional pillars that pass from the ground to sixth floor, London Fieldworks’ “Spontaneous City NY” features wooden boxes; Magda Sayeg, knit column, “Everlasting Gobstopper (alcohol inducing),” and Leo Sewell’s “Rap Wrap,” a recycled art column.
In addition to a designed permanent space for Calvin Klein 205W39NYC on the fourth floor that was created by artist Sterling Ruby, who reimagined the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship with symbols of Americana, yellow and red-yarn mops and buckets and pails, the new Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978 brand has a presence in the basement.
Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978, which on July 13 had its first drop online, combines the brand’s American heritage with the graphic, streetwise vibe of youth culture at accessible prices and is housed along with the store’s sneaker wall in the basement, which was converted from storage to selling space for an additional 3,000 square feet. Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978 is fond of a silhouetted Richard Avedon photo of Brooke Shields kicking her leg up from a 1980 Calvin Klein Jeans campaign, and it appears on everything from hoodies, unisex sweatshirts, jeans to optic-white jeans with an allover print.
Dover Street Market boasts event spaces throughout the store, including the basement, where there’s Calvin Klein Jeans Est. 1978 Denim; ground floor, Comme des Garçons; second level mezzanine, Braindead x Carhartt, and fourth floor, Moncler Genius, and Y, IWO.