Friday, November 25, 2016


I must have passed this building on the corner of 30th Street and Lexington Avenue on my way between our former offices, apartments, client's homes and the New York Design Center. It's a very handsome building conceived by Ellen Dunlap Hopkins as a school dedicated to training women in the arts and architecture and constructed in the Classical style by architect Harvey Wiley Corbett. The building was acquired in 1991 by Touro College. There was a small plaque on the corner for the College and that was the only way I knew it was Touro College. Touro College sold the building in 2006 and the building remained up for sale or rent
until Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons grabbed it up and began turning it into Dover Street Market New York, the third Market after her London and Ginza emporiums.
The store is an incubator for new designers alongside stalwarts like Prada and Louis Vuitton.
The interior is seven floors stacked on top of each other like a super rich layered cake decorated with the artistry of a master pastry chef with a central glass elevator piercing through the center.
If you start out or end your tour of this haute fashion feast for the eyes on the first floor you're going to have to stop for a patisserie at the Rose Bakery imported from the streets of Paris. You're also likely to be rubbing elbows with the likes of Donna Karan, the actress Lucy Liu or Ed Nardoza, the editor of Woman's Wear Daily.
This is an industry building that definitely pushes the envelope. With a list of designers so varied and complex there's almost a competition to see who can be more edgy then their neighboring designer.
That edginess lives inside the Dover Street Market in both the worlds of fashion and interior design. Not only are the designers encouraged to use their space as a petri dish experimenting with their tools of fabric and the human form but they were encouraged to bring that creativity to the design of their space as well.
Each fashion designer was given total control over the space their clothing would inhabit. Some chose an eclectic hip approach
While others like Thom Browne took a more buttoned down way of displaying their goods.
The square footage on each floor is parceled out in small chunks, so small some designers were limited to a space no larger than a guest bathroom
Several huge support columns that seem to crop up like beanstalks out of a fairy tale are left exposed but wrapped in comfy knit sleeves by street-knitting pioneer, Magda Sayeg, known for street "bombing" random urban objects. She once completely covered a city bus in Mexico City.
The Comme des Garcons philosophy of experimentation abounds throughout the seven floors of the building. Lead by the genius of Rei Kawakubo's amazing vision
and then filtered down through the innovative space design each designer has chosen to highlight and enhance their vision
This sense of space takes its cues from the merchandise each designer has laid out stretching their vision beyond apparel and into art .
But if you enter this museum of fashion with the intent to actually making a purchase
you need to have a good sized wad of cash or a credit card with a very high limit. This simple black sleeveless knit vest priced out at a mere $900 and dresses from Comme des Garcons could set you back $10,000 and up.
Happy shopping to those who can and to those like myself I'll have to limit my purchasing to what I can shoplift with my eyes.

Dovina in Balenciaga at the Café les Deux Magots, Paris, 1955
Richard Avedon, photographer
Represented by the Gagosian Gallery, New Yorks

No comments:

Post a Comment