Airei’s addition to Dover Street Market Paris’ brand development division came with strings attached.
Meters upon meters of them, in fact, brought by designer Drew Curry in order to build “The Case for a Tragic Optimism,” a sculpture that takes pride of place at the Los Angeles-based label’s Paris Fashion Week showcase at cultural and creative center 3537.
Now in its third season, Airei is the 11th brand to join the clutch of labels: Eli Russell Linnetz ERL and its kids line, Vaquera, Weinsanto, Honey F–king Dijon, Liberal Youth Ministry, Rassvet, Sky High Farm, Youths in Balaclava and Phileo — supported in various ways by Adrian Joffe’s alternative take on a fashion group.
“Dover Street Market believed in me or saw something before anyone else. I knew it was a tight-knit family so when Adrian [Joffe] asked me to be a part of [DSMP], I knew it would be an important and right step,” he said.
Curry launched Airei after “a 10-year journey of trying to find my voice, making stuff, failing and then making more stuff,” he said during an earlier interview, basing the label on his desire to explore dichotomies. He started with the name, an ancient Greek word that came to him in a dream and has the meanings of “to cut away” or “to lift up.”
Which comes almost full circle here. “The string isn’t actually something that could hold you back, but maybe it’s just like an idea that’s keeping you from something,” Curry said. In the American designer’s case, it might have been the idea that “when [he] first started making clothing, Paris Fashion Week was this thing that was so far away it felt that it would never be possible.”
Hence why his performance — and the fall 2022 collection — will be all about carefully considered cuts.
Starting at 1 p.m. on Jan. 22, Curry will take scissors to his installation at the same time as “Plight,” the label’s third collection, is revealed digitally on the FHCM’s platform. Visitors to 3537 will be able to see a trio of looks at the heart of the performance, which includes a soundscape created in collaboration with Norwegian musician Cashmere Cat.
If discovering Curry’s collection and installation isn’t reason enough to visit 3537, the multiuse space also offers plenty more in a program dubbed “Entertainment Week” that kicked off on Tuesday.
Right behind the L.A.-based label’s installation is the first occurrence of Black Market Comme des Garçons, a “semi-covert, half-hidden, fly-by-night, transient shop” that offers — you guessed it — items from the brand only in that dark shade.
Those hankering for additional shades can head back to the courtyard level where they can choose between Phipps Gold Label Vintage, offering vintage and deadstock pieces customized by Paris-based designer Spencer Phipps, or push the door to Dover Street Little Market, which has taken an open-ended residence after leaving its erstwhile home on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
The sweet pastels of ERL Kids cohabit with achingly cool skateboards from Rassvet and Weinsanto’s dramatic glamour, alongside the rest of the 11 brands under DSMP’s umbrella in a scenography imagined by London-based artist Graham Hudson and featuring tubes filled with running water that bubbles up in buckets turned into impromptu fountains.
Other discoveries throughout the building’s floors include “plant-based techno” imagined by eco-friendly footwear label Viron, which taps sounds created by plants to create music; a projection on Thursday of “I Miss You,” a documentary on the Rassvet crew’s trip from Paris to Mexico; as well as a monumental sculpture by Parisian artist Elia Valet and the works of Ukrainian photographer Sofiya Loriashvili.
And of course, for those living for the ‘gram, no visit would be complete without a spin in the “Instagram IRL” pop-up space, which offers a colorful maze of social media-worthy moments to capture, as imagined by rising French creative Jean-Jacques N’djoli.