Sunday, January 12, 2014

IFs Invade DSM!

Here we are, at the new Dover Street Market, ensconced in a fabulous poison green velvet chair in the Prada boutique.

DSM - already a big draw in London and Tokyo - has finally - finally - come to New York! We decided to check out Rei Kawakubo's American version of her multi-story, multi-designer showplaces, located on currently-not-terribly-chic lower Lexington Avenue in a very low profile former bank building. Besides housing all six of the Comme des Garcons collections, the seven story space includes micro-collections of other designers carefully curated by Rei herself. It's only been open for three weeks, but from the talk of the other customers, we felt as if we were the absolute last people to visit.

The Prada space on the top floor includes pieces that Rei and Miuccia Prada selected and developed after looking at the Prada archives. We sat in an Art Deco-like corner of the Prada space with walls covered in Alex Katz-like murals, extremely comfortable upholstered chairs, Flos lighting and plush checkerboard rugs.  Little extra touches were everywhere, including the individualized faces on the mannequins.

Prada's tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the apron, that 1950s housewives' staple, in fire engine red patent leather and black sequins and beads, is the imaginative result of Rei's and Miuccia's creative collaboration.  Rhianna, one of the extremely knowledgeable and preternaturally stylish DSM staff, demonstrates that the Mad Men (well, Mad Men on steroids) apron could also be worn as a shawl.  Look closely and you'll see Rhianna's marvelous chunky Margiela ring of wood and clear resin.

Here is a close-up of the ring in question (which she acquired a while back in Paris) along with some of her other interesting jewelry  ...

In another section, next to Ann DeMeulemeester's designs, we were surprised and delighted to find a small, highly edited Nina Ricci collection which included this terrific short jacket. The word "juxtaposition" (accompanied by adjectives like creative and innovative) came up a record-breaking number of times that day when trying to describe what we were seeing.

On the main floor, the Louis Vuitton pop-up boutique was housed in a corset-like frame, reminiscent of the founder's roots when he designed for the Empress Eugenie.

In a totally different vein, Supreme, the skateboard fashion company, had its own space, with lots of colorful, comfortable sportswear.

This Supreme Basquiat tee-shirt was a popular item.

The juxtaposition (there's that word again) of the religious imagery of the hat with the bondage image in the background is emblematic of the store's agent provocateur philosophy.

Valerie found this black satin CDG one-piece with cut-outs.

In a rare moment, Jean steps out of her comfort zone to try out Comme des Garcon's pretty in pink look, complete with matching - and attached - teddy bear...

...but quickly reverts to her first love -- black! Can't you imagine this dress on the designer's easel? (or computer screen?) The edges of the drawing have been translated into literal outlines in stuffed tubing.

What about this one in which Jean peaks through the midriff? We would want a slip (just to be clear, lest you thought otherwise), or an interesting shirt underneath, but all the employees at Dover Street Market could easily dispense with such nods at modesty.

The Simone Rocha section featured black velvet, leopard print and golden glitter heeled loafers with either plexiglass soles or heels. This pair, with the lucite sole, seems to scream Liberace!

A unique CDG concept involves graphic leather shoe tops that attach, spat-like, with velcro straps under the soles of plain black shoes, totally changing their looks. Valerie loved the colorful white-background pair on the top right.  (You could have guessed that, right?)

All of the pieces in Andre Walker's first collection in 10 years feature pockets, like this grey, long sleeve bodysuit.

DSM's staff members are extremely friendly and engaging and each possesses a highly evolved sense of personal style. Many have tattoos and piercings of various types. Case in point: Logan, who posed with his equally fashion-forward colleague. Don't you love their footwear?

We met Logan's boyfriend, Eric, who also works at DSM and who was sporting red eyeliner, a Marilyn Manson tee-shirt and lace-ups featuring flying bats and bows. The back of his hoodie has a patch that reads "Satan".

Jack B, a Londoner who worked in the British DSM (located on the eponymous Dover Street) recently relocated to New York to help get the newest store up and running.  He sports a more sophisticated than punk look.

Jack's wife Kristen (right) also works in the store. She and her colleague Eri were sweet enough to pose for us. We loved her red crushed velvet moto-jacket and Eri's checked CDG jumpsuit.  You can just barely make it out, but Eri has shaved the left side of her head, which is elaborately tattooed.

Besides its staff, DSM's customers provide one of the best people-watching opportunities in the city. We ran into Robbie, in traditional Korean scholar's hat, mask and gold brocade jacket -- whom we'd met at the opening of the Swedish boutique Gudrun last year -- and his friend Tiffany.  Robbie and Tiffany both sport fabulous handwear.  Well, fabulous everything, really.

When we stopped for a nosh at the scrupulously junk-food free Rose Bakery on the first floor, we met Marlon and Lily (a jewelry designer who works for Lulu Frost). After complimenting her on her vintage earrings (a gift from Marlon), we started to chat and found out we have a mutual friend -- small small world!

Jean ran into this dapper fellow in front of the glass elevator shaft on the third floor. Love his whole look.

After we complimented her on her coat and its wonderfully pleated shawl collar, we met Brenda and her wonderful husband Chet.

We met Charlene upstairs in the Prada section (our eyes were drawn to her polka dotted coat) ...

... along with her friend Faye, wearing (look carefully) above-the-knee boots.

So you've been noticing along the way some of the fabulous interiors, right?  Here are a few more.

This whole wall of graffiti would make any New Yorker feel comfortable, and somewhat compensates for the recent loss of the amazing 5Pointz concrete forest-ful of graffiti.  (We covered 5Pointz on one of our earliest blogs, hundreds of years ago.  We're so glad to have seen and enjoyed it before it was painted over.)

On various floors are several huge columns swathed in knitted remnants in rainbow colors.  We were told that the store would actually shut down for a few days during the course of the year as several of the interior spaces are moved around and totally remodeled and as new guest designers replace some predecessor vendors.  This photo was taken from inside the polka dotted elevator, which also features, stenciled on one window, a list of each floor's boutiques.  Not shown here is a three-foot tall anatomically realistic heart (valves and all) in wire mesh and paper, covered in tulle, made by Simon Rocha as a way to customize her section.  It too will be updated when her collection changes.

The architectural piece de resistance was the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator. Although not actually an escalator, it did take us in one of the most fun ways possible from one floor to another. You can read about it here.

What we're wearing:

Valerie is wearing: blue ringed octopus hat (half vintage, half repurposed felt bag), yellow plastic ear clips, cropped Dana Buchman jacket, Jhane Barnes shirt with galloping mustangs, Issey Miyake pants, Jeffrey Campbell rain booties.

Jean is wearing: a black and white polka dotted swing coat by ITEMZ and black and white cuffs -- all from Chaos; an Amy Downs turban; Brigitte harem pants; skull patterned umbrella from Trash'n'Vaudeville; vintage black and white polka dot earrings; vintage bakelite rings and gold rings; vintage eyeglass frames from Fabulous Fanny's; and DIY customized Dansko clogs.


  1. What a cool space - love all the colours and fun sculptural details! I could easiily spend hours looking at the merchandise and the people. I would have loved to see Jean model the pink dress and the black one with the stuffed-tube outline. The graphic shoe-covers are such a great idea. I will have to put the DSM on my list of places to go on my next visit to NYC.

  2. Oooh, I might actually enjoy shopping there. Fun!

  3. A feast for the eyes. Love the snaps of the other people, too. As always, you both look divine.

  4. Could I be more in love with the visuals on display?