• Design interieur : fini le "zen", désordre est "in"

    Dover Street Market.

    Photo: Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street London W1(opened on September 2004)

    Désordre dans les magasins de luxe

    Après les magasins «zen» où tous les articles sont soigneusement rangés, voici que s’annonce «l’esprit bazar», source d’inattendu et d’achats plus spontanés, recréant une impression de désordre, comme sur les marchés. La marque de créateur Comme des Garçons vient ainsi de transformer, à Londres, un ancien immeuble de bureau de 1 200m² en un squat de luxe multimarques de Six Niveaux : Le Dover Street Market. Les magasins de luxe multiplient les initiatives et les expériences pour, sans cesse, renouveler l’intérêt de leurs clients et maintenir chez eux un étonnement permanent.


    photo: Christobal Palma




    Sans aucune intervention d’architecte, la marque de créateur Comme des Garçons vient de transformer, à Londres, un ancien immeuble de bureaux de 1.200 mètres carrés en un squat de luxe multimarques de six niveaux : le Dover Street Market. Alternative aux mégastores du luxe, tous identiques de New-York à Shangaï, le lieu se veut plus “market” que “store”, puisque chacune des marques présentées a la liberté de décider des articles qu’elle vend et de la manière de les vendre. Deux cabanes de jardin (l’une pour abriter la caisse, l’autre pour le stock) accentuent le côté brut du lieu.


    Conscients du risque d’uniformité qui les guette, les magasins de luxe multiplient les initiatives et les expériences pour, sans cesse, renouveler l’intérêt de leurs clients et maintenir chez eux un étonnement permanent. Plutôt qu’une démonstration architecturale, le parti pris retenu est, ici, de créer une impression de désordre (comme sur les marchés) générée par l’entière liberté laissée aux marques représentées (chacune “habite” son espace), tant dans leurs sélections d’articles que dans leurs choix de présentations. Après les magasins “zen” où tous les articles sont soigneusement rangés, voici que s’annonce “l’esprit bazar” source d’inattendu et d’achats plus spontanés. Dans le monde du luxe, qui chasse l’imperfection et fait l’éloge du parfait, les défauts et les imprécisions ne deviendraient-elles pas sources de valeur ajoutée, témoins du vivant et du vibrant ?

    L’œil laser, n°115, Décembre 2004)

    photo: Christobal Palma

    Dover Street Market

    words: Lauren Goldstein Crowe

    Call it the anti-flagship. Dover Street Market is the latest retail venture by Comme des Garcons founder and designer Rei Kawakubo – and it turns the notion of the luxury fashion emporium on its head.

    Located in a Georgian-fronted building in Mayfair, London, the project is inspired by Kawakubo’s memories of the legendary Kensington Market (which closed early last year), a scruffy, rambling indoor fashion bazaar that showcased young designers and launched the careers of stars such as Alexander McQueen.

    “The first place we go when travelling is the local market,” says Comme des Garcons commercial director Adrian Joffe, who is married to Kawakubo. “Rei remembers Kensington Market. What she liked most was the anarchy of the place.”

    The raw shell of the interior of the Dover Street Market store is given over to retail and studio space for designers selected by Kawakubo and Joffe.

    “We just took the shell from the contractors,” explains the fashion label’s spokesperson, Annika McVeigh. “We haven’t worked with an architect, we worked with set designers. There were no rules – except that accidents are OK.”

    The Dover Street Market is a departure from Kawakubo’s other retail adventures – especially the flagship Comme des Garcons stores in New York (by Future Systems) and Paris (by Kitchen Rogers Design), two of the most beautiful architect-designed retail units anywhere.

    But it’s different too from her recent string of “guerrilla” stores that have opened in such diverse spots as Berlin, Singapore and Ljubljana, Slovenia. These open for just a year at a time in un-refurbished retail units in unfashionable parts of town.

    At Dover Street, Kawakubo and Joffe have taken a building in a prime location (Dover Street is a stone’s throw from the Guccis and Pradas of Old Bond Street) and
    de-styled it.

    Joffe says they spent £800,000 to renovate the space and hope to have a first-year turnover of £5 million, which would enable them to turn a small profit. Compare that to the £60 million Prada spent on its Herzog & de Meuron-designed Tokyo outlet and the financial logic of the venture appears clear.

    Besides showcasing the various Comme des Garcons ranges, Kawakubo and Joffe have given over about half the building to other brands, mostly run by friends, and including several that had never before been sold outside Japan. The company acts like a mall operator, taking a percentage of sales from each stall to cover the costs of the 15-year lease.

    “We chose people because they have a point of view,” says Joffe. “They don’t all have our point of view, but they all have something to say.”

    The stalls include a vintage shop by Cameron Silver of Decades in LA, the Lanvin collection by Alber Elbaz, east London hipsters Boudicca, photographer Bruce Weber and jewellery designer Judy Blame. Young London design outfit Amplifier also has a stall.


    photo: Christobal Palma


    Welcome Comme

    Bare walls, steel beams. portacabin changing rooms, huts and display cabinets with stuffed birds and animal parts are just some of the things you will encounter at Comme des Garcons' new London shop, Dover Street Market. Set across six floors, Dover Street Market brings together over a dozen artists/designers chosen by Rei Kawakubo to share a place "where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos". At the preview on Friday, September 10, Comme's Director of Communications Annika McVeigh told us: "We are very keen for everyone to do what they want in their own space. We have invited people here because we like their vision, it is an important part of the project that they develop their spaces as they want." Raf Simons' archives collection is on sale and alongside his fantastic menswear, you'll find great jewellery, there are shoes by Terry de Havilland and a boudoir boutique by Bouddica. Head to the basement for Undercover, a collection of Comme des Garcons trousers with Dover Street emblazoned across the bum and Judy Blame jewellery which comes housed in brown boxes each signed by Judy and hand decorated (prices from £250 to £2,250 for the Chanel is Dead necklace). Comme devotees won't be disappointed because the Market includes menswear, womenswear, footwear, perfumes, bags, shoes as well as the PLAY and Fred Perry SHIRT collections. SHOWstudio is selling some its 01 box sets and there are plans to broadcast interviews and live events from the Market through the autumn.

    • Dover Street Market is at 17-18 Dover Street London W1. Doors open on Saturday September 11 2004 and then Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm. Tel: 020 7518 0680.


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