Phoebe English’s Dover Street Galaxy
From the Keith Haring installation to a giant Barbie display to entire worlds created by Tim Walker, Gilbert & George, Chanel, and Lanvin, the windows of Rei Kawakubo’s London concept boutique Dover Street Market (which is slotted to open in New York later this year) have become somewhat of an institution. So when the storefront is lent to a young designer, it’s a veritable rite of passage. Earlier this year, rising star Simone Rocha built an Irish wilderness behind Dover Street’s glass facade. And today, Phoebe English—a 27-year old Central Saint Martins graduate who won the coveted L’Oréal Professional award upon her graduation in 2011—takes the stage, mounting her first project for the shop. “They were my first stockist,” said English, who’s now been selling at Dover Street for four seasons. “We’ve been working on this for a long time. And it’s been very challenging because it’s such a different thing than putting together a collection.”
English has a penchant for combining unexpected materials in her wares—synthetic hair and strips of rubber, for example. So naturally, her installation, a giant, ethereal icy-blue orb that combines shreds of fabric and glass beads from her Spring ’13 collection (above, left), follows suit. “It’s a bit of a play on contradiction. I liked that the solidity of the sphere contrasted against the irregular textiles and beads,” she explained, noting that her sculpture had an intergalactic inspiration (“I quite like planets and stars,” she giggled). As for why she decided to forgo a clothing-based display, English offered, “I felt that it would be too literal. Dover Street is such a creative garment-based space already, and it felt right to push my creative thought in a new direction.” English’s windows will be on view through May 29, and her Spring ’13 collection is available now at Dover Street Market’s London boutique.