Fashion loves an anniversary. Milestones are, for the most part, spent looking back at a brand’s origins, delving into the archives and celebrating its founder’s achievements by way of static exhibitions and weighty coffee table tomes.
Not so for London’s powerful concept store Dover Street Market (DSM), founded by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and her husband Adrian Joffe a decade ago this September.
For a store that continues to challenge consumers and present retail in an unconventional way, there were no historical cobwebs here. Even the title of the event said it all; The Next Ten Years.
Kawakubo decided to celebrate with a series of exclusive anniversary collections, unique installations and limited edition pieces. For this she turned to a clutch of designers who have shaped the store’s success; Sophie Billie Brahe, Simone Rocha and Phoebe English….
As womenswear designer Simone Rocha points out, ten years in a marriage is signified with aluminium and there’s nothing remotely old-fashioned about this shiny matter. It also explains the ten pairs of silver mirrored brogues, which Rocha designed to commemorate the store’s future.
For anyone who has yet to venture here, Dover Street Market, which sits in the heart of Mayfair, is part brand flagship and part luxury bazaar. It is also a Mecca for international fashion students, bloggers, stylists and designers, who seek inspiration in the beguiling surrounds.
The anniversary month marked a whole new era for the six-storey designer emporium, once home to London’s ICA gallery during the 1960’s. Until quite recently, Dover Street remained a sleepy stretch of road dominated by the art world. However, since DSM’s arrival in 2004 other clothing labels such as APC, Acne and Jimmy Choo (men’s) have set up shop. And just last month saw the opening of Victoria Beckham’s first London flagship here.
Meanwhile back to the anniversary celebrations and Stella McCartney added a unique edit of custom-made limited edition T-shirts and other designs from her kid’s collection. She was clearly thrilled to be involved adding: “We love and share its (DSM’S) playful spirit of thinking outside the box and creating a unique environment filled with youthful energy.”
Speaking of which, Pharrell Williams also chose to celebrate 10 years by launching ‘GIRL’, his latest perfume in collaboration with Comme des Garçons.
Elsewhere, the store was peppered with ‘market stalls’ selling collectible memorabilia designed exclusively by Rei Kawakubo. Pieces ranged from Comme des Garçons pouches printed with the Dover Street Market logo in ten different shades to T-shirts printed with the number 10.
And let’s not forget DSM’s anniversary shop windows, first unveiled on September 1st and featuring Nicolas Ghesquière’s debut collection for Louis Vuitton. A second display followed two weeks later, this time devoted to rising star Phoebe English’s spring/summer 2015 womenswear collection.
Nurturing smaller, younger designers has always been part of DSM’s ethos. Take jeweller Delfina Delettrez for example, who looks to the natural world as the starting point for her ethereal collections.
“DSM have been trusting me from the very beginning supporting my brand and believing in it,” she says. “Today we have a very strong business on fine jewellery together growing season-by-season, giving me the opportunity to show not only regular collections but also unique and high-end jewellery pieces to a more arty /collectors crowd.”
All images © Alice Lubbock
Having already expanded into China, Japan and the US, who knows what the future will bring for this, one of London’s most creative stores. For the moment though, there’s one thing you must do – head up to the Rose Bakery on the 4th floor, bag a spot on the terrace, order the carrot cake and simply admire the view.