ADRIAN JOFFE & REI KAWAKUBO
Dover Street Market wasn’t the first concept store. Before it came the Milanese institution 10 Corso Como, where Carla Sozzani’s idiosyncratic fashion edit and treasure trove of curios have made the shop a fixture on the city’s must-see list, up there with the Duomo and La Scala. And, of course, there was Colette, Mme Rousseaux’s much-missed fashion mecca on the rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, which was less a conventionally put-together shop, more an exuberant expression of self. But it is Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe who have perfected the fashion boutique as curated, gallery-like cultural experience. The husband-and-wife team – she the Japanese design visionary, he the CEO of her anti-fashion brand Comme des Garçons – opened their first DSM on Dover Street in Mayfair in 2005, before moving it last year, with typical counter-intuitive brio, round the corner to Haymarket, until then arguably central London’s dowdiest street. Set over five floors, the current flagship is the closest retail gets to immersive theatre, a higgledy piggle of wildly contrasting concessions, wrought-iron cages and jerry-built shacks, all of them stocked with avant-garde design. As well as single-handedly reorienting the London fashion map, they have taken the brand global with outposts in Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Beijing and Downtown LA – all of them unique, all of them experiences in their own right.