17-18 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1
Who you need to know
Owner Rei Kawakubo
Brands include Christopher Kane, Comme des Garçons, Jonathan Saunders, Proenza Schouler, Yves Saint Laurent
Designer store Dover Street Market’s rough and ready six-floor space stands in stark contrast to the neighbouring mono-brand, high-end retailers of London’s Mayfair and Bond Street. While Dover Street Market’s staple brand list is more than enough to rival all the nearby luxury flagships put together, it’s the continuous change of industrial market stall spaces, revamped every six months to mark the start of each season, and eclectic and innovative label injections that give it star quality.
Juxtaposing the futuristic sportswear of Alexander Wang and owner Rei Kawakubo’s own Comme des Garçons line against the pretty princess florals of Erdem creates suspense, especially alongside the lesser-known brands, such as Japanese-designed hiking label Monitaly and the chic minimalist French lines of Phoebe Philo’s Céline collection (Dover Street Market installed a dedicated space for Philo’s spring 10 debut collection for the label).
The brands are given the freedom to design their own area and props, whether it’s a printed theatrical curtain backdrop or an antique velvet-covered foot-stool. Each collection stands side by side with ever-changing collaborations such as the recent seven-piece limited edition Valentino for Gap line, as well as a Takashi Murakami and G-Shock tie-up.
“It is hands down the most exciting retail space in the UK,” says Erdem sales manager Jennifer Baca. “It is a revolving door of creativity which educates the customers while remaining friendly, approachable and helpful.”