Design + Architecture

The World's Coolest Stores

by Gigi Guerra

Comme des Garçons

Location: New York City

The big selling point: A beautifully bizarre space—complete with a space-age tunnel entrance—that's a pitch-perfect complement to the idiosyncratic clothing.

What's in store: If the word "quirky" were to be illustrated, an image of this offbeat boutique would capture it perfectly. Located on a block sprinkled with art galleries and repurposed warehouses in west Chelsea, you'd never know the store was there. The only marking is an old-school hand-lettered sign for a car repair shop—Heavenly Body Works, the previous tenant—tacked up to the second-floor fire escape. But the futuristic entrance suggests that something unusual is afoot: The weathered brick exterior is burrowed straight through with an industrial aluminum tunnel, asymmetrically shaped and tapered as it snakes inward. A hefty, egg-shaped glass door bisects the tube, and the passageway (a gangplank-like walkway embedded with eerie red lights) gives the feeling you're just about to enter some sort of high-fashion alien craft. The designers were cult-favorite design firm Future Systems—known for Selfridges's cocoony metal-disc-covered outpost in Birmingham, England, and Marni's Dr. Seuss-ian boutiques worldwide. Those ready to get beamed up will appreciate the spaceshiplike interior too, made of hulking, curved partitions, each sheltering a section of avant-garde clothing.

Rub shopping shoulders with: Local gallery directors blowing their commissions, up-and-coming artists, Comme des Garçons enthusiasts eager to visit all the brand's global outposts.

Treat yourself: A pair of Nike for Comme des Garçons men's nylon sneakers, $370; a "Ouarzazate" scented candle (the fragrance is a rich, spicy Moroccan-inspired mix), $64.

Comme des Garçons
520 W. 22nd St.
Tel: 212 604 9200

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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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