By now, you will have heard the resoundingly positive and effusive verdict on Dover Street Market London‘s move to Haymarket after it has hosted a friends and family opening last Friday.  Any previous doubts of a moving from Dover Street Market’s original Dover Street location to a stretch of road that is mainly known as a thoroughfare for tourists to shuttle from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square or Pall Mall were duly dispelled as soon as you entered the store (not from 18-22 Haymarket but on a side entrance on Orange Street).

Dover Street Market London, being the original instigator back in 2004, was always the idiosyncratic big sister, leading and paving the way for the Ginza and New York locations to spawn and grow.  At Haymarket, Adrian Joffe and Rei Kawakubo take back ownership of that identity because thet now have three times the space (31, 384 sq ft. to be precise) to play with as well as a rooted Grade II listed building, that has its own innately beautiful and original features to both maintain and disrupt.  Originally erected in 1912 by Thomas Burberry (up until 2007 this was Burberry’s headquarters), Kawakubo has left the exterior unchanged, as well as retaining the original ceilings, windows and central staircase.  In that respect, it already marks itself apart from the other DSM locations.  When you have elements such as Kawakubo’s black metal skeleton, giant lamp posts by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux and huge white spheres, engulfing the windows and coursing through the high ceilings and original woodwork, you have yourself an appropriate architectural representation of what Dover Street Market’s ethos is all about.

“I want to create a kind of market where various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos; the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision.”  This is how Kawakubo sums up the raison d’être of Dover Street Market.  Old/new, established/undiscovered, luxury/street, expensive/affordable – these contrasts roll around all four floors like never before.  The notable new additions at Haymarket such as an installation of Burberry’s original trenches pays homage to the past in a way that feels new.  They somehow sit nicely next to Simone Rocha’s perspex and cornice filled space, which becomes the focal point of the ground floor, as soon as you enter the store.  With its higher ceilings and vaulted skylight, the playful elements such as a stack of chairs built up by Stephen Jones to showcase his millinery or the newspaper stand for new culture and style publication Luncheon, become more pronounced.

0E5A8734

0E5A8514Lighting design on ground floor ‘Alexithymia’ by Dan Young and Christian Giroux

0E5A8764

0E5A8769

0E5A8770Simone Rocha space featuring flower moulded cornicing encased in perspex

0E5A8503Junya Watanabe space

0E5A8517Comme des Garçons Homme Plus space

0E5A8901

0E5A8523Burberry’s installation of original trench coats restored exclusively for Dover Street Market 

0E5A8507An installation of interlocking chairs, from which Stephen Jones’ hats hang off

0E5A8513Exclusive debut for the newly-launched Luncheon magazine

The central staircase as well as the wooden-fronted lift form a defined route of discovery as you clamber up the stairs and take in the grand arched windows. They provide portholes into external atriums as well as artwork by Georgian self taught artist Niko Pirosmani. I prefer to go up floor by floor, ascending from first to second to third and then finally going back down into the basement.  Most will go straight to the top, enjoy the bigger and more extensive offerings of Rose Bakery, and then work their way down.

0E5A8525Part of the original central staircase

0E5A8722The central lift linking all five floors

0E5A8723

0E5A8720

0E5A8526Original windows that back onto Niko Pirosmani artwork

The way each floor is laid out in a sort of circular formation that bends round that central staircase means it feels like there are more nooks and crannies to explore.  Looking at the press notes, I had to face palm a few times because I realised there were whole sections I had completely missed.  With more floor space though, the mega maisons like Dior and Celine can flourish in their designated areas and then anchor brands like Comme des Garçons also have room to spread out.  With thte enlarged scale of Kawakubo’s sculptural pieces for her main womenswear, it deserves the extra floor space.  On the first floor, perhaps the most surprising section is the three changing rooms devoted to Vetements.  It looks like an area in flux and true to form, Vetements hoodies and jeans were flying out of the changing room curtains and into people’s shopping bags, making it one of the top selling brands at DSM.

0E5A8528White Pillar Space on first floor with ‘Frozen Waterfall’ chandeliers by Rei Kawakubo that feature LED lighting in clusters of ten suspended from the ceiling

0E5A8535

0E5A8574Dior space based around the haute couture 2016 set

0E5A8539

0E5A8568Comme des Garçons space with gold panelling by Rei Kawakubo, contrasting beautifully with that lush blue velvet from the SS16 collection

0E5A8553J.W. Anderson climbing frame space inspired by playgrounds from his hometown in Northern Ireland

0E5A8547Alaiä space designed by artist Kris Ruhs

0E5A8559A drawn out Delvaux

0E5A8557A Roberts Wood top to add to a newer roster of designers that include Shushu Tong, Zu Xhi and Helen Lawrence

0E5A8563Rick Owens

0E5A8777Céline

dsm-haymarket-15

0E5A8772Vetements space intended to be installed in a dressing room area 

Up into the second floor and the furniture installations become more apparent with hybrid wardrobes housing a much bigger Sacai area as well as a new section for The Row held in what looks like a giant version of those tray cupboards you’d have at primary school.  Kawakubo’s metal skeleton skulking over the doorway suggests a structural heft, that marries up with the heavyweight creators of this floor such as Raf Simons and Alessandro Michele for Gucci.  They form a contrasting foil for one another as Simoms’ concrete blocks come up against Gucci’s green velvet.  Tucked away in a corner is Paul Harnden’s nook, left deliberately derelict with building materials and in-progress plastic sheeting.  This is perhaps one of my favourite parts of the store as you get to hide away with Harnden’s roughed up textures and weathered garments.

0E5A8788

0E5A8583Metal Dinosaur by Rei Kawakubo wrapping the doorway of the second floor

0E5A8584A vintage double wardrobe by Charlotte Perriand housing The Row with Pedro Cabrita Reis’s lighting installation ‘The Sky Above” 

0E5A8597A hybrid furniture installation by Tokyo based art collective GELCHOP for Sacai

0E5A8601

0E5A8638Raf Simons space featuring his AW16 collection exclusively for Dover Street Market

0E5A8635

0E5A9070

0E5A8631Gucci

0E5A8609

0E5A8614Michael Costiff World Archive

0E5A8617

0E5A8622

0E5A9064

0E5A9066Inside a nook too the side of the second floor is Paul Harnden’s space, designed by Nicolai Schmetna with materials found in Haymarket

0E5A8628Noir by Kei Ninomiya

0E5A8783Loewe

Arriving at third floor and that extra floor space feels even more apparent as you find yourself at a much bigger Rose Bakery and more designated sections that make stable brands like Egg, Comme Comme and Comme Girl more spread out.  The Egg space in particular is a delight with its closet of pastoral striped jackets and oversized straw shoes.  On this floor, maverick female creators are celebrated as Elena Dawson gets a more fleshed out Victoriana-inflected space, Sara Lanzi’s clothes are strung up along paper garments and Molly Goddard has her own candy-hued corner.  This new DSM also sees the debut of Frances von Hofmannsthal’s installation of her father Lord Snowden’s photography studio, alongside a rail of painter’s smocks made out of the dyed backdrops that Snowden used in his famous portraits.  It’s a special visual treat that gets due diligence up here.

0E5A8639Peering up into the third floor

0E5A8645

0E5A8715Elena Dawson’s space featuring a Victorian carriage box and a window of gold shoes

0E5A8712Sara Lanzi space entitled “Black Carousel”

0E5A8707

0E5A9073

0E5A8706‘Frances’ by Frances von Hofmannsthal. The installation is almost an exact replica of Frances’ father, Photographer Lord Snowden’s original studio and will host a series of special handmade coats

0E5A8648Labour and Wait

0E5A8665

0E5A8659

0E5A8667Molly Goddard’s patchwork space featuring sculptures made by her father

0E5A8679

0E5A8680

0E5A9096Vintage radiator rails housing labels like Toogood, Atlantique Ascoli and Casey Casey

0E5A8693

0E5A9081

0E5A8698Egg space created by Jonathan Tuckey

Descending back down into the basement and Paul Smith’s reinterpretation of his first store in Nottingham instantly snares you in, with its array of Japanese toys, old issues of the Face and other collectibles, with a smattering of his men’s tailoring.  As with the Burberry installation, Paul Smith’s presence within DSM is unexpected but it works because of the singular concept.  Round the corner, you have your usual DSM basement residents – Good Design Shop, Undercover, IDEA – with larger spaces now alotted for Nike Lab, Craig Green and Gosha Rubchinsky.  A Child of Jago and Palace are the newcomers down in what is already a streetwear aficionado’s haven.

paulsmith

0E5A8928

0E5A8934Down in the basement, and new to DSM is the Paul Smith Space is built to resemble Paul’s first ever shop in opened in 1970 in Nottingham.  It features Japanese toys, magazines and vintage pieces. 

0E5A8750

0E5A8982Craig Green’s black tarpaulin monster fish

0E5A8753

0E5A8987Undercover

0E5A8991Gosha Rubchinsky

0E5A9003

0E5A9005IDEA’s excellent printed matter and selection of rare books

0E5A9018Good Design Shop

0E5A9036Walter van Beirendonck

0E5A8737A Child of the Jago

I went in on the Saturday after the friends and family launch, to take the rest of my photos and the word “market” had literally sprung into life.  The place was heaving.  From the queues for Gosha Rubchinsky’s limited edition Reeboks and Palace gear in the morning to curious peeps passing by throughout the day, the tills at DSM’s new location were constantly ringing, with even the press team having to help out serve customers.  The “beautiful chaos” of DSM, became even more beautiful when you saw life being breathed into the pieces on the rails – people browsing, trying and ultimately buying.  You want to hope that the initial buzz of the new location doesn’t dim and that being wedged in between the tourist hotspots of London will actually expose DSM to a whole new audience as well as retaining its core and devoted customer base.  Joffe and Kawakubo’s clarion call is clear.  To Haymarket we go!  Come (or should that be comme?), play and be curious!

0E5A9054

As per usual during fashion month, things have gone a bit hush hush here because I’m moonlighting elsewhere with words, words and more words.  I’m worded out.  I can’t use nouns like “convey” and “evoke” for a good while after this month.  Therefore… time for a spot of fun.  American fun to be specific.  At the beginning of Paris fashion week, to celebrate the opening of their brand new flagship Paris storeCoach in bolshy American style took us to prom.  For some it was reliving a cringeworthy rite of passage.  For Brits like myself, it was a giddy experience of running through this fictional prom setup and marvelling over things like corsages, a jock’s trophy cabinet and giant bowls of punch. Stuart Vevers did inject some of his own Brit-isms though – like sherbet filled flying saucers and of course the abundance of mis-matched floral prints from the SS15 collection, which I gussied up with a navy tutu skirt. We also got to play at being prom queen and simultaneously at Coach’s flower-festooned throne. Oh, and Debbie Harry and Mark Ronson were the prom entertainment. In short, not any sort of a prom that you or I would have attended, even if we did have this tradition in the UK.

IMG_2412Being prom king and queen for one night in Coach jacket, dress and bag, with my own navy tulle skirt underneath and Dior boots

IMG_0012

IMG_0003

IMG_0007

IMG_0009

IMG_0014

IMG_0020

IMG_0023

IMG_0026

IMG_0028

IMG_0031

IMG_0051

IMG_0037

IMG_0046

IMG_0055

IMG_0064

IMG_0067

IMG_0078

IMG_0080

IMG_0081

Susie-Bubble-in-Coach-Spring-2016-Look-46-dress-and-47-Jacket

Susie-Lau

Next day with a cracking headache and a calming respite needed, I popped by the new flagship Coach store on 372-74 rue Saint Honoré. Down in the basement, lies something altogether more quiet than the prom antics of the night before. A Craftsmanship Bar, where bags can be cleaned and maintained (they will rub the zippers on your Coach bag with beeswax should they get a bit rusty) and new ones can be monogrammed. A few letters imprinted on leather might seem like a simple task but Christophe, Coach’s resident craftsman takes time to set the lettering, align the bag in the press and finally emboss the initials. There’s an informality to being able to watch the process, suited to Coach’s accessible sort of luxury. Hence the name ‘bar’. Now add a bowlful of those flying saucers and that cheeky punch…

0E5A0722

0E5A0716

0E5A0535

0E5A0684

0E5A0525

0E5A0643

0E5A0599

0E5A0622

0E5A0614

0E5A0624

0E5A0625

0E5A0627

0E5A0632

0E5A0631

0E5A0637

0E5A0642

0E5A0672

0E5A0691

0E5A0554

0E5A0552

0E5A0701

0E5A0705

>> As part of United Colors of Benetton’s bid to re-affirm its roots, they’ve just launched the third drop of their Collection of Us, themed around the Carnival.  It’s an abstracted take on this Venetian tradition though, as an array of colours are united (to state the obvious) in a collection of premium intarsia knitwear pieces. 

In true Benetton marketing tradition though, the colours that Benetton are referring to aren’t just the bright hues in geometric knitted patterns, but the skin tones of different ethnicities, which features in their new ‘Face of the City’ campaign.  London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Milan and Berlin are each represented with a digitally generated algorithmic composite “model”, combining all of the ethnicities of each city in the correct proportions according to population data

benettoncBenetton colour block polo dress and optical print tee worn with Sibling skirt and Nicholas Kirkwood slippers, Benetton optical print tee worn with C/MEO Collective skirt and top and Mother of Pearl sandals

Strangely, save for Tokyo, the faces have all emerged looking fairly similar, and it’s only when you look up close can you see subtle differences.  It would be interesting to see what physical ambassadors, Benetton chose to go into this algorithm but I suppose the point is to reflect the term “melting pot”, often used to describe cosmopolitan multi-cultural cities.  Quite literally, one city’s face segues into the other seamlessly.  It’s certainly an alternative take on diversity, as the campaign points out, not the differences but the similarities that we share, asserting a feel-good idea that colour is merely skin-deep.  As a contrasting foil, Benetton did also produce a more conventional ad campaign featuring diverse models wearing these Carnival knitwear pieces. 

Ethnic diversity aside, colour in all its exuberant variety is represented in the collection and again, makes for an upbeat affirmation of what Benetton do best. 

IMG_0842

New is the operative word when looking at the latest incarnation of Selfridges’ ongoing Bright Young Things project.  Last year, the word ‘Young’ was replaced by ‘Old’ to celebrate an older generation of maverick creatives.  This year, we’re making way for the ‘new’ – because Selfridges aren’t merely celebrating burgeoning fashion talent that is ‘young’ but they’re focusing on a ‘new’ approach in fashion.  Well perhaps, it’s not so ‘new’ to those that have been involved in the conversation of sustainable fashion, but in the context of the industry at large, the steps to overturn some of the grave atrocities committed in the name of style (raw material waste, fast fashion labour, damage on environment from the way fabrics are produced etc etc), are only baby ones.  Introducing these ‘new’ approaches to the general public is still in its wee wee infancy.  Weighing up the product that is sustainable and ethically made versus the stuff that isn’t, the balance falls firmly to the ground in favour of the latter.  Change is still very much in progress.  Hell, the conversation about instilling change is just beginning to get off the ground.

0E5A9934

My personal interest in sustainable fashion of course stems from the ‘new’ burst of creativity that is coming from a generation of designers that acknowledge the problems and are contributing in their small but significant way, by working differently, creating with alternative material and production sources and in the end, the clothing stands up to the age-old litmus test of “Hey, this looks really really great!”  No, they’re not crusading to save the planet all by themselves but they offer pieces to a jigsaw puzzle that collectively presents us, the fashion lovers and shoppers and they, the industry on a creative solution.   

0E5A9927

Selfridges has placed its focus firmly on these solution conduits and have chosen nine designers that each embody this new wave of sustainably minded designers (even if some of them don’t label themselves as such).  In addition to promoting talent that deserve attention, regardless of their ethical stance, the value of having windows that scream out with slogans such as “The Human Face of Fashion” being seen by thousands and thousands of people passing by on Oxford Street, can’t be underestimated.  Selfridges add credence to the project by working directly with the esteemable Centre for Sustainable Fashion in a pledge to “Buy Better” in their own stores and making sure the brands they buy in meeting standards on ethical trade.

The majority of this year’s BNT’s are very familiar to me.  A few weren’t.  Going in to see the windows being installed last week gave me an opportunity to find out more as well as learn new facets about the production process of the designers that I do know.  Their windows are of course, eye-catching affairs.  The hope is that if your head is turned by say Katie Jones’ confetti covered donkey or Cloth Surgeon’s sterile toile-filled operating theatre, you’ll also be interested in #WearAware conversation that Selfridges are promoting.  “Be curious.  Be knowledgeable.  Be part of our journey.”  The last part of that anaphora is perhaps, a tad cheesy but the first two sentences are certainly sound calls to action.


Katie Jones

0E5A9890

0E5A9897

0E5A9898

0E5A9901

Ah Katie.  Her window is a self-explanatory ode to her love of colour, crochet and craft.  You’d have to be pretty mean-spirited not to at least smile at her ode to Mexican cheer, based on her SS16 collection.  Employing more of her resourceful material reclaiming skills, denim and ribbon, inspired by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, run riot with cotton thread crochet and summer vibes amped up with customised Juju sandals and pom poms.  Jones’ quirky way of patching the unwanted up into real labours of love, isn’t for everyone but it is by far one of the most uplifting iterations of upcycled fashion around today.  Her signature crocheted Aran knits are currently on sale in Selfridges as part of their shop floor support of their BNT’s.

katiejones


Faustine Steinmetz

IMG_0854

IMG_0855

fstein2

fstein1Photos of Faustine Steinmetz’s studio from Yahoo Style

Walk into Faustine Steinmetz’s current studio (which happens to be very close to my house) and you’re confronted by a giant loom.  Her painstakingly hand woven textiles are what brought her to the attention of the fashion world, with continuous support of NewGen as well as being one of the finalists of last year’s LVMH prize.  For S/S 16, she worked with a Spanish denim mill called Royo, who create their fabrics out of recycled old jeans, as her first venture towards outsourcing textiles.  Steinmetz is still all about hand crafting of course but she’s also quick to realise that to meet retailer demand, she’ll have to look at alternative options that also share her interest in sustainable and storied fabrics.  The best thing about Steinmetz’s clothes of course is the way she’s recontextualising familiar garments such as a white t-shirt, a pair of jeans or a denim jacket.  Nestled in amongst Thomas Petherick’s set of curved white blocks are the curves of Steintmetz’s clothes because we should see fashion from all angles.


Alex Noble of EMG

0E5A9870

0E5A9862

0E5A9866

Alex Noble was actually part of Selfridges’ first round of Bright Young Things back in 2009 and since then, his path has taken a more, well… noble… nature as he started up the EMG Initiative to highlight environmental and social problems within the fashion industry.  They primarily create Salvage T’s out of surplus fabrics from London designers like Agi & Sam, Henry Holland and Giles Deacon.  The proceeds then go towards a TRAID and ChildHope project to assist daycare centres for children of factory workers in Bangladesh.  EMG’s window mashes up videos collated on Noble’s travels with neon-laced messaging paired with mannequins that feature the prints of their Salvage T’s contrasted with white-washed corporate suiting.  I liked what Noble said when he likened sustainable fashion to punk – that it’s about ripping up the rules and starting again.  It’s this attitude that will spur others to think up ‘new’ ways of working rather than sticking to the status quo.

salvagets1

salvagets2


Mich Dulce

0E5A9873

0E5A9888

0E5A9877

I’ve worn Mich Dulce’s hats before in the very early days of Style Bubble but haven’t had the chance to catch up with what she has been up to lately until now.  After garnering all-important experience at Maison Michele, Dulce’s collections have gone from strength to strength and have recently taken on a personal slant, when she began to source straw from her native Philippines from local communities, who use banana, pineapple and buri palm leaves to weave the finest of materials.  She’s gone one step further and together with the Philippine Textile Research Institute, she has sourced a very hardwearing, multi-faceted and ultrafine straw called T’palak, handwoven by the T’boli tribe.  These fibres hang in the window in shades of dusky pink and natural straw.  Behind Dulce’s neat fedoras and more fanciful fascinators, there’s rhyme and reason to why they cost what they do.  The price is set by the Filipino craftsmen, who initially didn’t want to weave straw because it was so time consuming and labour-intensive.  The results though are indeed special and it’s a story that definitely needs to be communicated to more undiscerning eyes.

michdulce


Martina Spetlova

IMG_0849

IMG_0851

mspetgranary

mspetgranary1Photos of Martina Spetlova’s studio from 1Granary

I was more than familiar with Martina Spetlova’s instantly recognisable woven leather pieces, which has been her signature since her MA Central Saint Martins collection back in 2011.  However, I wasn’t aware that Spetlova now sources her leather from an ECCO leather tannery – one that has very strict water and fuel policies, in order to cut-and-weave her distinctive pieces.  These woven checkerboards are currently draped across her window like colourful kites.

martinaspetlova


Clothsurgeon

0E5A9936

0E5A9937

IMG_0845

One way of combatting fast fashion is of course to slow things right down so that it comes back to the traditional idea of a tailor, a pair of scissors and a measuring tape.  Clothsurgeon aren’t strictly speaking a fully sustainable label but head designer Rav Matharu’s processes encourage customers to rethink their wardrobe by offering bespoke customisation services, which happens to be the mainstay of their business.  People can upcycle existing garments that they have and combine them with new fabrics to create unique pieces.  Hence why their products consist of patchwork plaid shirts and repurposed bomber jackets.  In their “operating theatre”, they dissect garments by their patterns and origins and bring them to a new place.

clothsurgeon


Auria

IMG_0843

0E5A9839

0E5A9847

I’ve overworn my favourite rainbow-hued swimsuit, which happens to be by sustainable swimwear line Auria, designed and conceived by Diana Auria and Margot Bowman.  They happen upon a sustainably sourced nylon, made out of old fishing nets, and have since been creating fun and cheeky swimwear, that sums up the bright-eyed optimism of sustainable fashion today.  As opposed to selling product, Selfridges together with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, will be mentoring Auria to help them grow and develop for the future.


Hiut Denim & Co

IMG_0846

hiutdenimfactory

hiut-denim

Hiut Denim Co’s story is an extraordinary one.  Husband-and-wife team David and Claire Hieatt were inspired to resurrect the denim manufacturing industry in their hometown of Cardigan in Wales, when Marks & Spencer decided to offshore their jeans production.  In swooped the Hieatt’s to breathe new life into Cardigan’s denim craftsmen as Hiut now creates high-end jeans made out of Turkish organic or Japanese selvedge denim.  One click on their website, and you might look at your existing pile of jeans with a wincing eye.  With Selfridges, Hiut are currently encouraging people to join the No Wash Club, going six months without washing your jeans to save water.  An easy order for myself, who rarely wears jeans but perhaps taller for denim nuts.


Unmade

0E5A9837

0E5A9820

The most impressive of shop floor participation by a BNT perhaps belongs to Unmade, a really exciting and innovative collective that are changing the face of knitwear with their made-to-order creation process.  Using the most high-tech of programmable Stoll machines, Unmade allow the customer to choose from a curated variety of patterns (created by the likes of Kate Moross and Christopher Raeburn).  On their site, you can interact with the pattern – shifting them and changing their size – and choose the colours to create a unique jumper or scarf.  It’s hard to explain this process properly unless you have a play with it yourself.  No wonder peeps on Instagram were blown away by this bit of coding jiggery…

Once you’ve committed to buy, Unmade’s Stoll machines get to work and within as little as an hour, your design in fine Australian Merino wool or high-grade Italian cashmere, can be made with the utmost precision and quality.  An in-house team then finishes off these fully fashioned knits and along with a personalised garment label, you end up with something that you can call your own.  A two week waiting time for all of that seems like nothing.  The important thing is the fact that everything is made to order and so you don’t have stock that sits there gathering dust, that might eventually contribute to landfill.

A smaller version of Unmade’s Stoll knitting machines as well as a full display of their designs and website interface, have currently taken over a chunk of Selfridges’ third floor.  Go get to grips with Unmade’s pattern-warped knits and be a part of the making process.  I in turn definitely want to visit their Somerset House setup to find out more, given that I’m trying to be more curious and all.

unmade

0E5A9803

0E5A9789

0E5A9808

0E5A9813