The projected December 2013 arrival of their very own Dover Street Market location has fashion-conscious New Yorkers abuzz with curiosity. Why the unhip locale? What will it look like? Style.com’s Matthew Schneier interviewed Comme Des Garçons CEO Adrian Joffe to find out more about the impending DSM Manhattan takeover, as well as the core ethos that continues to dictate company’s aesthetics and business practices. Some highlights:
– Much has been made of CDG’s decision to implant their debut American Dover Street Market into one of Manhattan’s most decidedly unfashionable neighbourhoods: Murray Hill. But Joffe argues, the unique appeal of the future DSM building (a 20,000 square foot building that once housed Touro College), not environmental context, led to them to select the unconventional luxury location: ‘We really decided this because of the building itself—although, I must admit the fact of its location and the absence of fashion here was an added bonus.’
– It will be gutted and rebuilt exactly to Rei Kawakubo’s specifications. ‘We do not want it to be a mere version of the two existing ones.’ Joffe explains. ‘It has to be new and peculiar to New York. It is important for us to never “copy conform” but create new individual spaces whenever we do a shop—that takes into account the spirit of the city and surrounding area. London is very London and Tokyo very Tokyo. We aim for this one to be very New York, even in an abstract sense.’
– On what goes into Dover Street Market’s reliably avant-leaning retail selections, Joffe quips, ‘[it] doesn’t have to share our sense of values, but must at least have a sense of values of its own.’ You can therefore expect Manhattan’s DSM inventory to evoke the same deliberate chaos and wonder as London and Tokyo locations.
– He shares a similar selfless but quality-strict open-mindedness towards collaborations, calling them ‘interesting when they have a meaning—when neither party can do what the other does, when there is some synergy. Each case is different, but we only work when the other party leaves it all to us, or we leave it all to them.’
– Don’t expect Comme Des Garçons to increase its online retail presence any time soon. However, DSM is a more flexible animal and already boasts a successful e-shop. Expect that to expand in 2013.