Wednesday, November 18, 2015

oddments and curiosities at Dover Street Market

Dover Street Market is famous among fashionistas. The brainchild of Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo, the very modern five-story building on Dover Street is nothing like the city's free-for-all markets - it's the most exclusive retail centre for high-end designs fresh off the runway. Comme des Garcons, Alaia, Alexander McQueen and other Fashion Week brands line the racks and shelves.

A sample of the brands available. 

Our friends enjoyed their shopping, but wonder | wander | women ended up doing what we often do - wandering off in a new direction, completely distracted by the charm of Dover Street Market's decor.

A stag skull greeted us at the entrance,
framing the display stands of perfume.

The store collection of skulls was esoteric and impressive. 

A group of small ibex herded together in one case while caiman, horse, deer and walrus got room to themselves. The most impressive specimen was what looked like a rhinoceros skull on one of the upper floors, looming over interested shoppers.

On the Rick Owens floor half the shop was set up like a Gothic theatre, with a painted proscenium inviting visitors into a dark fantasy world.

When we entered the 'stage area' we saw that the windows were frosted, decorated with cutaway drawings that looked like Chagall and Picasso doodles with beautiful type.

Baroque-style pillars and mouldings were painted with a dark grey harlequin pattern, and stencilled with various creatures or Shakespeare quotes.

Some of the creatures didn't seem to belong to any species we knew!

Upstairs in Simone Rocha, head-like sculptures guarded the lacy dresses and pearl-encrusted shoes, looking as if they had been made of leftover scraps from the clothes themselves.

We found a strange box on the top floor made of styrofoam packing for large appliances. Marker pen brought out the mechanical edges and contours of the white styro to create an artifact out of a science fiction film.

Another box on a lower floor looked like a dresser had mutated into a walk-in closet. The boxes were fitting rooms! In a large warehouse space there are no separate rooms; the fitting rooms are mobile cubes whimsically decorated to fit into the space.

This strange little world is a treasury of inspiration even for those less interested in the latest fashion trends. DSML concept director, Rei Kawakubo says she wanted to create 'an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos', and while it isn't nearly as chaotic as a real market, Dover Street Market pulls elements of theatre, guerrilla art, curiosity cabinets and high fashion together into an intense visual experience. 

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