After months of sifting through end-of-season sales remnants, the arrival of the new collections is always an exhilarating experience, not least at Dover Street Market. Here, this transitional period is known as 'Tachiagari', the Japanese term for 'new beginning' and involves the store closing for a four-day period. It is during this time the six-story emporium undergoes a dramatic seasonal transformation, under the direction of Adrian Joffe and Rei Kawakubo making way for new shop fittings and new collections. Well-known for its unexpected and unconventional approach to retail, the store's latest window doesn't disappoint, working as surprising juxtaposition to the new Autumn/Winter stock. Named 'Endless Summer', set designer Andy Hillman has cleverly created a mirrored space planted with vibrantly coloured fabric flowers, complete with a doorway allowing customers to enter the greenhouse-like area and become part of the window display.
Despite this being Dover Street Market's first delivery of the season (with plenty more promised over coming months) there are enough pieces to start to put across the message of each of the store's carefully 50+ chosen brands. Always a big draw, Rei Kawakubo's mainline womenswear collection is this season called 'Wonderland' and is executed in a palette of khaki, nude and navy, featuring childlike trompe l'oeil detailing. Her Homme Plus line continues this channel of thought - 'Fashion Illusion' incorporates jumpers with false cardigan fronts and blazers with sewn-down lapels, using garish leopard print, lame and traditional grey twill. Arguably just as feminine as the current women's line, this season comprises layered silk skirts, delicately embroidered socks, leopard print pumps and patent, two-tone Mary Janes. Junya Watanabe's womenswear collection entitled 'Feather and Air' promotes a simple gold, black and grey colour palette, featuring sculptured puffa cocoons wrapped in Chanel-alike chains - a favourite reference point for Watanabe. Peter Jensen makes a reappearance after last season's in-store debut with a collection of printed dresses - this season's Greenland inspired collection has resulted in a series of vibrant beaded knitwear created specially for the store. There are a number of new additions to the roster, such as Giles Deacon whose rail includes a black felt skirt pierced with oversized studs.
Out of the five varied floors, the second is arguably the most appealing, boasting a women's Shoe Space, Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, plants from Petersham Nurseries and Michael Costiff's 'World Archive' (used by Simon Foxton in our recent VMAN Model Search shoot). The floor is also home to most of the store's menswear brands including Maison Martin Margiela, Lanvin and Casely-Hayford. Following its successful debut for Spring/Summer '09, the brand headed by Joe Casely-Hayford and son Charlie, this season takes its inspiration from the functionality and utilitarian approach of British workwear and English sartorialism, resulting in jersey tweed suit with grey tweed tracksuit bottoms. Reacting to a high demand for their suiting, Casely-Hayford will be launching a made-to-measure service exclusively at Dover Street Market in September. The biggest architectural change comes in the basement which has been completely reworked, adopting a more compartementalised approach perfectly suited to showcasing a cornucopia of brands, including a new Sneaker Space and Junya Watanabe Homme featuring collaborative shirts in association with American brand Pendleton, Trickers shoes and Porter bags. Angela Hill's IDEA books are displayed in a booth around the corner the inaugural Dover Street Market Menswear line comprising a well-edited collection of menswear separates and an installation of Artek furniture. The latter, a taster to an upcoming, rather unexpected perfume collaboration set for release in September. Following the successful 'Artek Invasion' installation in October 2007, the historic Finnish furniture company will become the fourth company to collaborate on a fragrance with Comme des Garçons, following successful partnerships with Stephen Jones, Monocle and Daphne Guinness. 'Daphne' is set for release during London Fashion Week and will also be followed by a DSM fragrance to mark the store's fifth anniversary.