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A store and so much more, Dover Street Market is a creative collective of designers and artists handpicked by Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe to contribute to their vision. WWD talked to some of those involved about collaborating with Kawakubo.


“Just like everything with Rei, she embraces conceptual ideas, which is really refreshing, especially for a retail project.” — Thom Browne

“Although we didn’t actually meet Rei Kawakubo, we felt our work was in tune with her aesthetic sensibilities. For example, our ‘Spontaneous City NY’ project for Dover Street Market New York draws on collisions between ecology and human creative intervention — the design inspired by small-brained animal architecture, Japanese metabolism and the vertical world of New York City.” — Jo Joelson and Bruce Gilchrist, London Fieldworks

“One of the most important things I learned [working] at Comme des Garçons is how difficult but important it is to create your own and unique standards. But since I started my own collection, another crucial affirmation I had was the importance in how the designs and creations are expressed, and depending on the methodology one takes, even if the ideas are new, it could have no meaning. In the fashion world, it is not just about the creation, but how one decides to build and ‘design’ the brand. Originality in how one wants to grow or build one’s business is just as important. She never ceased to amaze me. I was reminded once again of her enormous strength to conceive such an amazing project. I am really impressed by her drive to seek for the new and the uncharted.” — Chitose Abe, Sacai


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“A most memorable challenge and one every artist should dream to have. A Rei-only mixture of complementary and critical all at once but in perfect challenging harmony. What she thought of my work was like a strangely severe sincere compliment.” — Magda Sayeg, artist

“For me, Rei is a rare combination of being a true artist, a businessperson and a manager of people. Of course, she is well complimented by her husband Adrian in this regard. She knew when to let me do my own thing and when to have input. I would listen to her opinion on many things.” — Leo Sewell, artist

“I have not worked with Rei directly, but working with Adrian Joffe and James Gilchrist has been an great experience. They are a very supportive family of people over there. I admire Rei’s work, but her spirit is what stands out to me most. Her resolve to have a vision and be unwavering in its pursuit is a rare thing. Also her willingness to work with and support young talent is refreshing and commendable in a market where risk is something most shy away from.” — Max Vanderwoude Gross, Proper Gang

“Rei and Adrian are beyond impressive with their ability to focus solely on the creative and business structure simultaneously. Embrace new boundaries upon recognition. I always find myself uncertain of what to say to explain who I imagine they might be. It’s no longer relative, it’s perceptual. Their work ethos is dear to many who use intuition within categorization. Adrian is so candid and fascinating.” — Andre Walker, designer

“It’s cool. She’s aware of every little detail and needs to approve it, but there’s not a ton of interaction. She just wants everyone to do their own unique thing.” — James Jebbia, Supreme

“When Rei asked me to propose a painting (“Her Wallpaper Reverie (with Strawberry Jellyroll), 2013”) for DSM, I thought it made sense to make a painting with food, mirrors and rubber in it. I proposed that while buying clothes one might also think about life (food), death (mirrors) and desire (rubber), as the painting would be next to the changing rooms and the register. Rei was completely open to this proposal, noting that in the end it all boils down to the edges — in some cases that is the hem, but in this case where the walls meet the corners and the ceilings meet the floor.” — Alex Da Corte, artist

“We didn’t ‘work’ together, but I’m more like an little element of the big adventure of DSMNY. And to be one of the designers selected by Kawakubo is something very important to me. I respect so much the sincerity she always puts in all her different projects. I love to describe this project as ‘creativity bomb.’” — Simon Porte, Jacquemus

“I have always thought very highly of both Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market. Being able to work with Dover Street Market this season, especially in their new store, is an extremely exciting prospect, and I cant wait to see the final outcome.” — Craig Green, designer

“It was inspirational working with Rei Kawakubo. Although we live in a time where art can take many forms beyond the traditional, including serving meals and sweeping floors, there aren’t a lot of individuals whom I consider to be exceptional artists. She is one.…My sculptural structures have been described as ‘large-scale sculptural curio cabinets gone wild.’…When I had the opportunity to step back during the installation in Dover Market New York and observe the serendipitous and yet purposeful relationship of my sculptures with the two interventions on the columns and the wooden wall, I had a moment of recognition of her incredible sensibility.” — Mark Cooper, artist

“The most interesting aspect about collaborating with Comme de Garçons is that there is an impossible formula at play, one that is quite indefinable, and it’s what holds a magnetic force for the spectator. The absence of a preconceived marketing strategy is more appealing and allows for a collective consciousness to be present, something which I think defines Comme des Garçons. Free-flowing creativity is omnipresent, which is derived from Rei Kawakubo’s respect for the very nature of creation.” — Katerina Jebb, artist