ADRIAN JOFFE & REI KAWAKUBO

Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Tastemaker - – David An­nand

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.

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