I’ve not yet written about the Dior collections by interim/stop-gap/supposedly temporary leaders of the in-house design team, Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux on the blog.  I have done for Dazed and my initial thoughts after their couture collection were that a house as big and prestigious as Dior felt hollow without the guidance of a visionary creative director.  I’m not retracting that opinion but it has to be said that Dior are certainly doing their best to make a ‘hollow’ house feel full and happening.  What to do when the narrative at a house doesn’t centre around the creative director and their output?  You redirect that narrative so that the focus is on brand DNA and history instead.

It doesn’t get more historically significant for Dior than Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the lavish pile of the dukes of Marlborough in Oxford.  Monsieur Christian Dior of course staged a spectacular haute couture show at Blenheim in 1954, in aid of the British Red Cross and in the presence of Princess Margaret and then in 1958, Dior’s successor Yves Saint Laurent returned to the palace with another haute couture collection.  Unlike the more far-flung locations of cruise resort shows that we have seen over the years, the ties between England and Dior are veritable and believable.

And so regardless of creative direction – and whether there’s a starry designer or not – Dior’s jaunt in London and Oxford was always going to be stuffed to the brim with pomp, Brit-kitsch and on-theme touches that captures the hearts (and also the wallets) of the all-important clients.  They’re the primary audience of these resort and pre collections seeing as they generate up to 60% of a brand’s retail business.  Not that us journalist/editor stragglers aren’t immune to Dior’s charm tactics.  How can you not smile when you see a pub made over as The Lady Dior, with themed bunting, beermats and lager glasses?  Or coo at the New Look sculpted topiary underneath the canopy of Scott’s?

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IMG_9527New Look topiary at Scott’s terrace in Mayfair

IMG_9524Outside The Lady Dior pub

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That was just the warm-up action before the day of full-on Dior-ama.  Or Dior’s version of Disneyland, as we began our journey in the newly revamped Dior Maison on 160 New Bond Street, peering at children’s haute couture (yes there is such a thing), Ron Arad sculptures and intricate porcelain.  Then came the big Insta-squeal generator.  We were to board a specially chartered Orient Express train from Victoria Statio , decked out so that it became the “Diorient Express” with branded table settings, menus and uniformed wait staff silver serving us custard and crumble.  All the while, sitting in Poirot-appropriate upholstered chairs, watching lashings of rain outside, as we chugged past the lush green of the Cotswolds.  It’s always interesting to see how international guests view these manifestations of ‘Englishness’.  On home turf, you wind up being needlessly apologetic about the weather, the lumpy custard and the nan chairs, only to be met by choruses of “Nooooo… this is all so cuuuute and so English!”  Little do they know…

newbondstreet_image_2Inside the newly revamped Dior flagship maison at 160 New Bond Street

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The pomp increased substantially when we finally got to Blenheim Palace (true to National Rail form, our train was forty minutes late) as a brass band struck up with fanfare to greet arriving guests.

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Inside the entrance hall were the roots of the Blenheim connection, as dresses from that first 1954 show, were on exhibition.  There would be little to link the nipped in, A-shaped cocktail dresses to what Ruffieux and Meier would show.  This resort collection was I think the least stiff of their output for Dior thus far.  It was less about ticking off house codes or doing Raf Simons by numbers and more of a homage to where it was shown.  In the Long Library, flanked by a statue of Queen Anne and under the contemporary word art by Lawrence Weiner, this was Ruffieux and Meier’s interpretation of ‘English Eccentricity’.  Just as Brits up and down the country are contemplating our identity, possibly outside of Europe, we had Englishness refracted through the lens of two Swiss designers at a French house.  That quintessential Englishness included a fox hunting scene jacquard, English country floral embroidered tea dresses, flailing scarves knotted up with D logo revival bags and a sense of layering and styling where you can draw parallels with Jonathan Anderson or Phoebe Philo at Celine.  They wore stompy gold boots and their bar jackets were less structured with draped hips and basques.  The eclectica was fleshed out with well-travelled prints and rich embroideries.  I thought Meier and Ruffieux injected a bit more energy into what could have been a by-the-book English-themed collection.  Though the general review consensus seems to be that innovation and directional design are still lacking.  That’s down to the media salivating for a new creative director to come in (it is rumoured that the announcement will be imminent).

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On the train, another journalist pondered the notion that houses like Dior might well carry on with a non-starry overarching creative director because the branding and history of a house is more powerful than any one talented individual.  Dior is certainly one of the few houses in the world hat has an array of recognisable tropes, symbols and signatures to draw from.  Even the typically English grey sky could be seen as Dior grey.

It’s still likely of course that Dior will bring in a named creative director but they have also proved that the boat doesn’t really get rocked in the absence of that central creative figure.  Judging by the satisfied clients at the after party who queued up to have their fortunes read (with Dior-themed tarot cards), it seems Dior CEO Sidney Toledano might have a point when he said himself that customers don’t care who designs Dior’s clothes.  If it’s a theme park experience of Dior complete with flower-trapped lollipops, novelty train rides and tea parties you’re after then Dior nailed it.  Those that were searching for design-led heft in the actual collection might have to wait that bit longer.  For now, the Dior train runs with full steam ahead.

Two things in the past fortnight have given me reason to peel back the layers and shed light on what goes on underneath.  Body Studio, an all-encompassing space dedicated to women’s lingerie, lounge, sleepwear, swimwear, hosiery and sportswear, opened up at Selfridges.  It’s their biggest department to date and to me felt like a celebration of the facets of a modern woman’s life that are often shunted into hard-to-find corners or boxed into finite fitness niches.  And at the V&A, Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, the largest exhibition ever to be staged on underwear, opens today.  What’s traditionally been covered up and childishly joked about Carry On-style, comes to the forefront in a comprehensive history of underwear ranging from 18th century whalebone stays to Acne’s gender-netural briefs.  It exposes the thematic purposes of our undies – namely protecting and enhancing the body, and vaguely touches on the ramifications, which is that as garments, they often place both female and male bodies under engendered expectations – constraints even.  The role of underwear in the act of seduction, and in its aesthetic referencing within fashion completes this spectrum.

It’s a straightforward – perhaps even conventional – way of looking at underwear.  There’s a sense of going through the motions when looking at the vitrines of stays and corsets, shapeshifting underskirts and bustles, the evolution of sports-aiding supportive underwear and the eventual emancipation from corsetry with the introduction of bras.  The main takeaway from the ground floor of the exhibition is that right from the start, underwear has been tasked with the role of shifting, moulding and holding the shape of our bodies, something that is still evident today.  Seemingly, little has changed from boosting the line of a woman’s body with 18th century hooped petticoats and 19th century bustles, slimming the waist down with debilitating corsets to the Wonder Bras and men’s briefs by aussieBum that enhance the genitals of present day.  Those changes to the body created by underwear are perhaps less severe today, as the focus has shifted to enhancement and celebration rather than improvement and disguise.

IMG_0834Shape-shifting hooped petticoats, crinolines and bustles

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underwear118th century stays and undershirt

IMG_083118th century homemade stays splayed out

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underwear3Examples of 19th century corsets at their most extreme proportions

IMG_0850Breathable wool corsets

underwear4Waist training corset // Summer ribbon corset

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IMG_0854Stomacher for pregnant women

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IMG_0876Looser and less restrictive underwear once the 1920s-30s kicks in

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IMG_0883Mary Quant supportive body

IMG_0884Gender neutral briefs by Acne and the first pair of thongs designed by Rudi Gernreich

IMG_08851930s silk chiffon knickers depicting a hunting scene

Upstairs, the exhibition progresses to explore the aesthetic and sensual pleasures of underwear.  The list of designers, who have referenced the appearance and technical construction of underwear is endless.  “Underwear as outerwear” has become a style genre in itself – a vehicle for rebellion as designers seek to blur the lines between the private and public sphere, as well as breaking down the taboo around sex and nudity.  The use of sheer materials, slip-dresses and corsetry worked into evening gowns are things that we take for granted today but once upon a time, shocked and titillated.  With Agent Provocateur being a primary sponsor to the exhibition, the re-classification of  underwear as lingerie is also addressed.  The role of lingerie to be alluring, seductive or playful, whether it’s for the eyes of a partner or for self-pleasure is also demonstrated here with examples by the primary instigators such as Agent Provocateur, Fifi Chachnil and on a more fetishistic level, House of Harlot.

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underwear7House of Harlot // Agent Provocateur

underwear9Fifi Chachnil // Strumpet & Pink

underwear8Liza Bruce metallic slip dress as worn by Kate Moss // Vivienne Westwood corset and fig-leaf tights from 1989

underwear6Bordelle structured dress // Mr Pearl’s Swarovski-encrusted corset designed for Dita von Teese

underwear5John Galliano for Givenchy transparent muslin dress A/W 96 // Dolce & Gabbana wicker crinoline dress from S/S 13

A more subversive and contemporary extension to the exhibition might have included Marie Yat, a new lingerie and bodywear label created by a CSM graduate of the same name, who launched her new website with an gallery installation in De Beauvoir this week.  Dazed called it lingerie that “resists the male gaze”.  Judging by my boyfriend’s reaction to these alternatively titillating images, I’m not sure it necessarily does that, but it is certainly an out-of-the-box take on lingerie that is simultaneously utilitarian and erotic, especially where Yat places features such as thin straps cupping the bum cheeks, cut-outs at the hips and suspenders hooked to ribbed thigh high socks.  Rendered in a strict palette of white, pale pink and black in cotton and silk, Yat manages to carve out a niche in an oversaturated market, and positively, one where stretch marks, slight bulges and imperfections are normalised and elevated even.

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Yat’s work reminds you that there’s a lot to be said about the emotive and psychological aspects of underwear and lingerie.  The intimacy evoked by colour palette and materials often endears you to the pieces.  It’s why over the years, I have held on to antique lace knickers with fraying edges or bralets with covered buttons.  There’s a tenderness to these sort of constructions that is irresistible.  The psychological effects of underwear and lingerie in relation to the wearer and how it makes them feel (as opposed to what onlookers feel) was perhaps not fully explored in the V&A exhibition.

It’s a hard thing to articulate and perhaps those feelings can only remain within a strictly private sphere.  Cue the Body Studio, the impressive all-encompassing department on the 3rd floor at Selfridges Oxford Street, which has been designed as a haven for bodywear, where you could potentially ponder those thoughts about how these most intimate of layers makes you feel.  With the newly created expanse of space, Selfridges has carved out a much more freeing environment to link up lingerie with hosiery, swimwear, activewear, loungewear and sleepwear.  These categories bleed into one another and the clever decision to house it all together, reflects the way women today treat their bodies as temples.  Whether it’s the feel-good factor of a juice from Hemsley & Hemsley’s first cafe, a hair cut from Daniel Galvin’s salon, or the beckoning of a beach holiday or even a night-in for quality ‘me’ time in luxurious pyjamas and cashmere socks – it’s all catered for here.

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Having overly relied on Uniqlo seamless underwear for the last few years (I still love and buy you in bulk…), I thought I’d indulge a little in some of the newer and hard-to-find lingerie labels that Selfridges have brought in for Body Studio.  Established brands like La Perla and Agent Provocateur get their own enlarged shop-in-shops but Selfridges’ own buy of deluxe lingerie as well as unique contemporary brands is definitely impressive.  As lingerie isn’t my forte, I discovered a few brands that really spoke to my own personal tastes, ranging from the functional to the frivolous.  The frills of Fleur du Mal‘s suggestive sets and the romance of For Love and Lemons.  The whimsical florals of LA-label Daydream Nation.  The sustainable bamboo grey marl of Baserange.  My undies drawer has been duly replenished.

I thought about coyly photographing it all, worn over a t-shirt or laid out flat, but that would defeat the original purpose of these pieces crafted with, intricacy and an actual body in mind.  Ten years ago, I’d be horrified at the thought of wearing lingerie on the blog.  That’s what a decade does.  That crippling self-consciousness and habit of nit-picking one’s appearances fades because you’re more mindful of the bigger picture.  The body stretches and softens over time and you kind of don’t care like you once used to.  Commentating and writing online for so long hardens you up to criticism (I’m referring to the needless sort about appearances and the like) to the point where you’re able to say, ‘Frankly, I don’t give a fuck anymore….'”  And at the end of the day… it’s a body… we all have one and it’s no secret that we do.

IMG_6828Stella McCartney bra

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daydreamnationDaydream Nation one-piece

IMG_6859Baserange bra

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IMG_6936aFleur du Mal bra and knickers

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lovelemFor Love and Lemons slip dress worn over Hanky Panky boy shorts

As a fashion journalist, when you attend a two-day beast of an event drawn out to the extent of say, Nike’s Innovation Summit, you often wonder why it is that mega maisons can’t immerse you into a similar level of technical nous.  I’ve come close, scratching at factories, ateliers and studios but it’s not really the same as members of Nike’s design team giving you the nitty gritty of every seam, material choice and dazzle.

In a mostly male-dominated room – yeah, Hypebeast, Soccer Journal, Runner’s World I’m looking at ya – the level of reverance and geeky-based fandom bestowed on each Nike product unveiling was visibly palpable.  By the end of the two day summit, held in New York last month, “dope” had unwittingly entered into my vocabulary.  Everything was in their eyes, “dope” and you’re inclined to agree with them.  It’s precisely why I signed up for the two-days of indepth immersion.  It IS a lot of terminology and tech specs, leaving the way a product is created, exposed and that somehow feels like an antithesis to a mainstream fashion world that glosses over those details.

Nike’s overarching theme this year for their Innovation Summit was themed around the idea of personalisation.  Or as president and CEO of Nike, Mark Parker put it in his opening speech, we have entered the “era of personalised performance.”  What this means is that somehow, the sort of language that was perhaps once the domain of luxury brands, such as words like “customise”, “personalised”, “tailor fit” – is now being filtered through Nike’s product and service offering.  Trevor Edwards, Nike brand president sees this as the company’s missive to bring these once-elite values to everyone.  “It’s democratic yet premium.  Those two things don’t have to be at odds.  Technology has enabled us to give what was once reserved for elite athletes, to everyone.”

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The most obvious high-low unveiling of the event is Nike Lab’s more fleshed out and heftier collaboration with Riccardo Tisci.  After a successful series of riffs on the Air Force 1, Tisci, with the encouragement of Nike Lab, wades into training apparel for the first time.  The results are unsurprisingly clothes that will see life outside of the gym or running route with cheeky slogans like “Engineered to the exacting specifications of Riccardo Tisci”, a 2-in-1shorts over leggings combo garment and a multi-genus floral pattern combining flowers from Oregon (Nike’s home), Taranto in Italy where Tisci hails from and Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympics will be hosted.

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0E5A7777The first part of NikeLab x RT Training Redefined collection

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0E5A7804The second drop of Nike Lab x RT Training Redefined collection

The product that perhaps caught the most headlines is Nike’s HyperAdapt 1.0.  Translation = the physical and real incarnation of vice president Tinker Hatfield’s original self-lacing trainer design for Marty McFly in Back to the Future.  “In the future, product will come alive,” remarked Hatfield as he envisioned this as a theoretical concept back in 1989 as a shoe for 2015.  That year has been and gone but the idea has now become a reality. 

In the flesh, we gawped, oohed and aahed as Hatfield and Tiffany Beers, senior innovator at Nike explained to us that after years of testing, a shoe designed primarily for basketball would self-lace once your heels slide in and hit the sensor the push of a button.  One by one, we got to try a pair on, and despite the prototype being three sizes too large, it was still something of a giddy shock to feel the lace guard section of a pair of trainers tightening around the arches of your feet, and loosening, depending on which button you pressed.  There’s of course an immediate danger that a shoe that makes it onto the headlines of Fox News, might be perceived as a gimmick.  Hatfield and Beers were keen to stress that HyperAdapt is a platform to build on so that a real automated and symbiotic relationship between foot and shoe could be developed. 

This initial incarnation will be available exclusively for Nike+ members later this year but the goal is to evolve that technology so that it feels essential and indispensable – the holy grail for almost new tech innovations, and in particular in wearables, where we’ve yet to see that milestone lightbulb moment.  The trick is to make the person not feel like they’re loaded up with sensors,” said Edwards.  “You don’t want to give people another thing to charge.  The product will become more simple and more intuitive and more adaptive for the everyday consumer.”

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0E5A7841Gary Warnett of Gwarizm trying Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 on

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0E5A7856A close-up of Nike HyperAdapt 1.0

Then there are practical problems that Nike Innovation Summit seemed to be dealing with – almost putting the solution in the forefront of the design.  There’s Nike’s Anti-Clog technology for football boots, where a specially formulated sole is able to repel the accumulation of mud that get stuck in the cleats.  There’s the new advanced Air bag placed in the VaporMax Air shoe, where the traditional foam midsole is discarded and makes the idea of an entirely cushioned air-filled sole a physical reality.  For advanced runners who prefer a barefooted feeling “ride”, the Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit sole has been retooled with new fusing techniques.  Am I beginning to lose you?  Is it all starting to sound like gobbledygook? 

0E5A7868Demonstrating Anti-Clog technology on football boots

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0E5A7893Nike Air VaporMax featuring an entirely unobscured Air bag unit 

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0E5A7909New Nike Free RN Motion Flyknit with the newly tooled sole

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0E5A7982Air Force 1 Flyknit making it the lightest Air Force 1 ever

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0E5A8032Multi-coloured yarns visually representing Nike FlyKnit’s currently more precise and targeted way of constructing uppers down to the individual pixel  

That’s par for course in Nike land when such jargon won’t matter to 98% of their customers.  The proof is in the physical pounding of pavement.  It seemed to me that problem solving was also strategically placed centre stage at this Innovation Summit.  Competition is building up from both major players and newcomers and the range of aesthetics in sportswear is now mind boggling.  How do you differentiate in the invisible areas outside of aesthetics?  They’re banking on the benefits of say a pair of leggings that will cool your legs down versus a pair that don’t.  

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0E5A7965Nike’s new line of “tights” for spring 2016

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0E5A8049Nike Vapor kits reduced in weight and increased in elasticity

0E5A8057Nike Zoom Superfly Flyknit made with a custom shoe last and spike plate for athlete Alyson Felix

In the athlete specific innovations seen in these Olympics 2016 kits, notable features such as the fabric being made out of recycled polyester and an anti-drag design of Nike AeroBlades stood out.

0E5A8378Athletes from Brasil, USA, Germany and China demonstrating the kits that will be in action in Rio

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The other major push for Nike was in the servicing aspect, specifically integrated into the new Nike+ app that will be relaunching in June.  This is Nike again, going beyond mere aesthetics to try and make the “invisible” more invaluable.   “It’s your all-access pass to your potential,” explained Edwards.  “Everyone can come in as an individual and we can service that individual with product and service customisation.  It’s like having a personal trainer and equipment manager with you all the time.”  This shifts Nike+ from previously being an information dashboard – i.e. something that the FitBit or their separate Nike+ Running app fulfils – to being more like a member’s shopping and training club, where you’re alerted to new product releases and Nike events and can speak to Nike experts one on one.   At one portion of the Innovation event, everyone was given a gold box (mine contained a pair of NikeLab x Riccardo Tisci Dunk Lux High) to physically represent that sneaker head golden-ticket feeling of scoring a pair of limited release shoes.

In my follow-up post, I’ll be delving into Nike’s idea of design personalisation from the development of their ID services to their less publicised “Bespoke” service for that ultra level of product customisation.  From the Innovation event though, the main take away was that in a crowded market, Nike is distinguishing itself further with technical prowess as well as extra added value services.  Beyond Nike, the word “personal” will only become more important in the way we interact with brands.  For Edwards, this is how he sees the future of Nike’s domain – sport.  “Products can become increasingly more personal.  It’s this idea of putting technology in the background and people in the foreground.”

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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.

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

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0E5A8770Simone Rocha space featuring flower moulded cornicing encased in perspex

0E5A8503Junya Watanabe space

0E5A8517Comme des Garçons Homme Plus space

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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

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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

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0E5A8574Dior space based around the haute couture 2016 set

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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

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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.

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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

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

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0E5A8631Gucci

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0E5A8614Michael Costiff World Archive

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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

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

0E5A8712Sara Lanzi space entitled “Black Carousel”

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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

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

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

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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.

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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. 

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0E5A8982Craig Green’s black tarpaulin monster fish

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0E5A8987Undercover

0E5A8991Gosha Rubchinsky

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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!

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