When the yardstick of cool London shopping ups sticks and moves house, it has to be very careful where it goes. The success of Dover Street Market over 12 years in the eponymous Mayfair street means it has far outgrown its five floors, and the rent boom there – partly created by DSM’s pioneering arrival – has made the site untenable. So, on Saturday March 19 it opens its doors in a much larger, venerable building – the old Burberry head office on Haymarket, currently as much of a retail desert as Dover Street was when DSM arrived. Owners Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons’ designer) and her husband Adrian Joffe have no doubt that loyal customers, and probably a whole new set (as this is essentially Theatreland), will be excited by both the new store design and the range of adventurous new names that three times the space – 2,900sq m – has allowed them to bring in.
Their idea is that the store, although grander – a sweeping staircase is a main feature, unlike the old store – will seem new but familiar. Comme des Garçons and its offshoots are foremost, plus an expanded Rose Bakery – run by Joffe’s sister – on the top floor. Fashion’s biggest and latest hitters get the great representation they always did, many in their own settings planned by each designer in an idiosyncratic way – the “market” element of the brand name. So as well as the expected new area for über-cool Paris “street” brand Vetements, comparatively trad Brit Paul Smith has reconstructed his first tiny shop in Nottingham with all the quirky, curated items with which he loves to individualise each of his stores. Margaret Howell, known for her quiet quality and breezy British style, is another unexpected inclusion, along with spaces for cool-again established brands like Paris jeweller Repossi and Belgian bagmaker Delvaux.
A string of names fresh to the store adds a frisson of newness. They include Renli Su’s graceful, handworked pieces in traditional, organic Chinese fabrics; Katie Roberts-Wood’s extraordinary ruffled organza confections – her graduate collection won Vogue Talent’s support; luxury minimalism from The Row; Homecore’s luxury streetwear for men; avant-garde Japanese label Facetasm; experimental nostalgia from London-trained Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen; handcrafted ethnic purity from Dosa; graphic fine jewellery with baguette diamonds by Greek designer Ileana Makri; and bold, sculptural silver pieces by LA jeweller Sophie Buhai.
The icing on the cake is a clutch of exclusive pieces designed by some of DSM’s key names. These include a small capsule range in pale-gold brocade from Simone Rocha – a full-skirted dress (£1,480, second picture), sleeveless top (£390), big skirt (£1,090) and signature Perspex-heeled brogues (£670, third picture). There are geometric diamond rings in oxidised gold (£1,980) by Raphaele Canot, a navy cotton dress from Sacai (£890) and sneakers (£60) or high-tops (£65, first picture) from Vans, where the DSM logo is subtly printed with its signature check. The biggest surprise is Kawakubo’s homage to the brand that once occupied the space – 20 Burberry coats (from £995), which will be followed by a selection of one-off vintage Burberry trenchcoats reworked in full Comme style (from £995) and true collector’s items – arriving later in the year.
The store’s name will stay the same – DSM already has branches in New York and Tokyo, and anyway Haymarket Market doesn’t quite slide off the tongue.