Design + Architecture

The World's Coolest Stores

by Gigi Guerra

Dover Street Market

Location: London

The big selling point: A multilevel hipster megaboutique by Comme des Garçons mastermind Rei Kawakubo.

What's in store: Though it's located in stately Mayfair, this store is anything but buttoned-up Brit. Inside, there are five levels of gorgeously art-directed bedlam selling a roster of design-world visionaries, from Alber Elbaz for Lanvin to Martin Margiela, plus Kawakubo's own broad range of offerings. Highlights include a haphazard-looking corrugated-metal shed stocked with bright tees; a violently disorganized display of designer accessories that looks as if it has been ripped through in a fit of rage; and a room piled high with helter-skelter stacks of cast-off dresser drawers (a pristinely folded shirt nestled within each one). And then there are the brilliantly offbeat dressing rooms. Two favorites: a gilded gazebo fashioned into a birdcage-like enclosure, complete with dramatically swagged red velvet curtains, and a matte-black-painted Port-a-Potty that has been repurposed as a men's changing area. The beauty of Dover Street Market creeps up on you—it's witty and inspiring, and the use of prearranged mayhem to create a compelling, cohesive environment is pure genius in retail.

Rub shopping shoulders with: Style-conscious skaters, dedicated sneakerheads, Comme des Garçons obsessives, fashion insiders with an appreciation for the ultra-high-concept.

Treat yourself: A pair of Pierre Hardy leather hi-tops, $400. An enameled metal lantern from East End-London retro-goods supplier Labour and Wait, $27.

Dover Street Market
17–18 Dover St.
Tel: Tel: 44 20 7518 0680

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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