33 posts tagged "Dover Street Market"
“I am scared,” laughed emerging British menswear designer Craig Green. The 27-year-old, who previously presented with Fashion East and Topshop’s MAN initiative, is referring to his very first London Collections: Men solo show, scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The runway event is sponsored by the BFC’s Newgen Men. “It’s nerve-racking. It’s just me. Alone. I don’t know if people will even come!” His jitters are understandable, but Green need not worry about the latter. The designer, who graduated from Central Saint Martins’ prestigious MA course back in 2012, is one of London’s most exciting up-and-comers. And his forthcoming show is one of the most anticipated on the calendar.
Green’s collections, which up until last season have incorporated sculptural wooden frames carried by the models, seamlessly combine the artistic and the commercial. They offer clothes that feel fresh and cerebral on the catwalk but that aren’t intimidating on the sales rack. That is in part thanks to Green’s utilitarian sensibility, which he picked up from his very practical north London family—his father is a plumber, his mother a nurse, and his uncle a carpenter.
Green caught the eye of Dover Street Market after his second show—the retailer not only stocks his wares in London, New York, and Tokyo, but also asked him to create an LC:M window installation. He decided to make a giant octopus in the same cerulean hue that will feature in his Spring ’15 lineup. The beast is currently swimming in DSM’s London storefront. But the retailer isn’t the only institution that has recognized Green’s talent. He was nominated for a British Fashion Award last October, was a semifinalist in LVMH’s inaugural Prize for Young Fashion Designers competition, and has collaborated with the likes of David Beckham and Adidas, Grenson and Mr Porter, Topman and Purified footwear. (He has a Champion USA team-up on the way, too.) There’s no arguing that Green’s star is on the rise. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t need to be so concerned about his solo debut after all. “It’s actually quite exciting,” he conceded.
Ahead of his Spring ’15 show, Green spoke with Style.com about his vision, his critics, and his dreams, like building a sturdy brand and moving out of his mom’s house.
You’ve basically exploded in the last year. How are you handling all the attention?
More like my head has exploded. I think I’ve aged more in the last two years than I had in the previous ten. I feel very fortunate to not dread coming into work every day. And I get to work with people who are friends of mine. I’ve had lots of support from Newgen, the BFC, and Fashion East. The BFC actually gave me a free studio for the next two years, which has been very helpful.
Dover Street Market has been very supportive of you as well. How important do you think DSM’s early embrace of your work has been to your success?
Dover Street Market is amazing and it’s always been a dream store for me to be in—it’s always been my number one. I just never thought I’d actually get there, especially at such an early stage. They’re the most incredible company to work with. Everything they do is so well executed, and they’re very respectful of my vision. I wish everyone worked the way Dover Street does.
It’s very impressive that you’ve stayed true to the artistic vision you cultivated at Central Saint Martins. You haven’t wavered from it for a second. Has that been difficult?
There is definitely a lot of temptation. Everyone has a different opinion, and you can’t let that affect you or what you’re doing. You have to use that criticism constructively. It can end up being a positive thing. But it’s definitely hard to stay true to my aesthetic.
Even though you have this cerebral side, your clothes have a realistic, utilitarian twist. They shine in the context of your conceptual catwalks, but can also easily be worn by a normal guy walking down the street.
That balance has become more and more important for us. In the beginning, I just wanted to make amazing imagery, as well as amazing clothes, because I wasn’t really selling. But now it’s essential to have that balance between what we want to show—an emotion and a fantasy—and something that’s accessible and can fit into the real world.
There have been a few people who don’t get the artistic elements of your work. For instance, David Gandy, who’s an LC:M ambassador, made some dismissive comments on television about your Spring ’14 collection, which, for the record, received rave reviews from actual fashion critics.
That was my first [runway] show out of college. I didn’t know how it would go. It was a rush to get everything done. I didn’t have any money. I had no studio. I was relying on favors, and I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing. So when that happened, I was a bit down about it. But then people came out with positive opinions, and I realized that the collection was something that was challenging people. Some people loved it and some people hated it. It was an extreme thing to show. I think every designer wants to challenge people and push things forward and take risks. That’s what keeps fashion exciting and that’s what we love to do. I love the excitement of Oh my God, are we really going to show this? Are we really doing this? It’s not like we’re going to do something crazy every time, but I think designers always need to push.
Do you think menswear is changing in that respect?
I think it’s really the time for menswear. London finally has its own menswear shows, men are a lot more open to suggestions…I think it’s still not going to grow or evolve at the rate of womenswear, but more people are interested in it than they were. Even if you look at BA shows, you’re seeing a lot more menswear students. People are finally seeing the possibilities in menswear, which is really exciting.
How, if at all, did your north London upbringing affect your aesthetic?
I guess I’ve never really known anything else. A lot of my aesthetic—and my perspective—comes from my upbringing and my family. The main reason I got into fashion is because I love to make things. So if I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably just be somewhere making things. I love that we get to do projects like the Dover Street octopus installation. I love making a show. And my family is filled with people who make things. My dad is a plumber, my uncle’s a carpenter, and my godfather is an upholsterer. I remember when I did art projects in school, I used to call my godfather and ask him for upholstery, and then I’d call my uncle and ask him how to make something out of wood. In my house, there was always stuff lying around that I could make things out of.
Is your family proud of all your success? Do they get the fashion thing?
I guess so. I don’t know. They don’t really get the fashion world. But I’ve put my life into it, so it’s not like they’re saying, “Ugh, I don’t get what you’re doing.” They enjoy it. They like it more when I do something like the octopus. That being said, they’re really supportive, and I could never have gotten to where I am without their help. I still ask them for help now. They’re amazing.
The generation ahead of you—Christopher Kane, Nicholas Kirkwood, et al.—are making it on the global stage in a way that, with few exceptions, London-based designers haven’t in a long time. Does that put pressure on you? And do you want to follow in the footsteps of, say, Jonathan Anderson, and get a big investor?
[Those designers' success] helps. It makes me think it’s all possible. It’s inspiring, and it’s gotten people to look to London more than they used to. I try not to think too much about investors and all that because what I’m doing now is so much different and bigger than what I imagined I’d be doing two years ago. It’s terrifying, but good. Of course, this is a real business, and I want this to grow into a real brand, a real company. And things are going well. We’re surviving. Two years ago, we were struggling. For Spring ’13, we couldn’t afford any fabric, so we made everything out of washed calico—which was actually kind of amazing because we made something out of nothing. But now we have the ability to say, “Hey, we want to use that fabric. Let’s get some and try it.” We have more resources to try things and do what we want.
What goals do you hope to achieve over the next few years?
I hope to stay in business! Survive! Move out of my mum’s house, maybe. These are life goals. But honestly, I hope to just be able to continue doing what we do. I’d love more brand awareness, to reach more people, and to do bigger shows. That’s always an aim. But as long as we’re able to make what we love, I’m happy.
If you didn’t catch Prada’s Spring ’08 collection (this reporter was still in high school), you now have a second chance at those botanical prints, metallic leaf dresses, and sheer parkas. Dover Street Market has teamed up with Prada for another exclusive women’s capsule, this time reintroducing twelve key styles and prints inspired by that vibrant and memorable season.In true DSM fashion, these aren’t just copies of past designs; each piece is hand-painted and thus one-of-a-kind for a thoroughly modern spin. A first look at the lineup, which hits DSMNY tomorrow, May 8, debuts exclusively here on Style.com.
“I am so delighted to be receiving this second very special collection by Prada for Dover Street Market,” Adrian Joffe, CEO of Comme des Garçons (the parent company of DSM), told Style.com. “Their willingness to create these unique capsule collections for us fills me with endless pride and proves how much they understand what we are trying to do. I think it is fair to say that our mutual admiration and respect knows no bounds.”
The collection is just one element of a wider project that DSMNY is opening in celebration of New York’s forthcoming cultural events and art fairs, including Frieze. Palace Skate’s installation from Tate Britain, Comme des Garçons’ giant Kewpie, and a special exhibit of archive hats by Stephen Jones (which coincides with the launch of his new Wisteria Hysteria perfume) will be unveiled at an open house tomorrow.
The second Prada x DSMNY collection will be available exclusively at Dover Street Market New York, 160 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
Ronnie Fieg has made a name for himself as a guru of sneaker collaborations. His remixes of classic designs from brands like Asics and New Balance send streetwear kids into hype-fueled frenzies, regularly creating block-long lineups at his shop, Kith in New York, and instantly selling out online. Among his most coveted collaborators: Dover Street Market. His latest, releasing at DSM and Kith stores later this month, is the Puma XT-2 “Achromatic,” an aptly named retro runner that features no color and no branding, just a premium black-and-white Italian glove leather uppers with a supple calfskin lining and quilted detailing.
“Removing all branding is daring and risky, but the opportunity to sell product based on quality alone is very rewarding,” Fieg told Style.com. “When the consumer purchases this product, they are not paying for the branding, they are paying for the most luxurious upper ever constructed on a trainer.” A bold claim, one we’ll have to wait with everyone else for release day to confirm.
Black is red hot in the hands of Tokyo-based designer Kei Ninomiya. A former pattern-cutter for Rei Kawakubo, and current inclusion under the doyenne’s Comme des Garçons group umbrella, Ninomiya is a chosen one in a line of luminaries like Junya Watanabe. Quietly launched two seasons ago, Noir Kei Ninomiya is a laboratory of technique for the designer, and it is in this third collection that he has hit his stride. Here, the designer explores his chosen hue via varying shades, textures, and frequencies, and each piece is labored over with painfully detailed execution.
The result is a fusion of punk DIY and elegance, anchored in reality. The 30-year-old Royal Academy graduate’s main driving force in fashion is to create something new through a formula of impactful design, beauty, wearability, and a nice price. Biker jackets appear in various forms: Complicated as they may look—bat wings with metal piercings delicately holding the strips together—they wear effortlessly. Men’s tailored pants are constructed of intricately woven velvet and jacquard tape strips or destroyed with laser slashes. Feminine lace is rethought using durable vinyl fabric punctuated with laser-cut patterns, while sequins take on a new identity in faux black leather.
“It’s figuring out how to make it as a product at the same time as exploring techniques,” he explained from the Comme des Garçons building in Tokyo. “There is a dangerous element. The fragility somehow looks beautiful. But you can still wear them as clothes.”
Priced between $480 and $3,585, Noir Kei Ninomiya is sold at Dover Street Market, Comme des Garçons stores, Le Bon Marché, 10 Corso Como in Seoul, and other select retailers.
LVMH Prize finalist. Creative director of Paco Rabanne. Founder of the fledgling label Atto. French designer Julien Dossena is juggling a lot of roles this spring, but he was in New York last week wearing his Paco Rabanne hat. Dossena replaced Manish Arora at Rabanne early last year shortly after leaving Balenciaga, where he worked under Nicolas Ghesquière. By his own account, he has his work cut out for him at Rabanne. Outside of France and fashion circles, the brand is known for little more than perfume and men’s cologne, despite the late designer’s groundbreaking designs of the 1960s. Jane Fonda wouldn’t have been half as convincing as Barbarella without her Rabanne chain mail, and photos of pretty young things in his metal shifts encapsulate the futurism and free love of the era. But the company has floundered in recent years. “The image of the brand before was a bit blurry,” Dossena said. “Now we are taking back the reins.” Over lunch with Style.com, the designer talked Jane Birkin, Françoise Hardy, and why chain mail will always be essential.
How did Paco Rabanne sales go for Fall?We got opinion-leader kind of shops: Corso Como, Maria Luisa, The Webster, Blake, Just One Eye, Dover Street Market in New York and London. It’s a good start. And Barneys for the bags.
Did any piece in particular connect with buyers?We really wanted to emphasize a daywear wardrobe, but—there’s always a but—the stores need a bit of chain mail on the rack. People love it, they buy it. The challenge is to figure out how we can integrate chain mail into a daywear wardrobe.
As you say, the vision of the brand was blurry before. How do you intend to clear it up?
If women have only one Paco Rabanne dress in their closets, the brand isn’t going to develop. So we want to move away from the super-embroidered dresses that were the base of Rabanne before. We want to make it a classic brand for a younger customer. This season, we got the stores we need to deliver that commercial message. Now we’re working on our first pre-collection. We’re going to open our first shop in about a year and a half. Those are the first steps to having a strong brand.
Where will the shop be?
In Paris. Paco Rabanne is a classic from the sixties like Courrèges or Cardin. It can compete now with Balmain, Carven, those kinds of names. Paco Rabanne can be one of them. In France, Paco Rabanne is really deep in the culture. People love the name in France. I don’t know about America.
People who know fashion here know Jane Birkin and Françoise Hardy in the dresses—those cool metal dresses.
That’s what we want to bring back, that coolness that we love from those images. The question is how to translate those images into new product. If there’s a main word that we’re trying to do, it’s effortless.
To be a successful revival brand these days, you can’t just be about the past, right?
It has to be a balance of not losing the signature, but not being impressed by it, either—not being controlled by it. In five, six, seven years, Paco could become a lifestyle brand. Like if you travel, what kind of clothes do you want to wear? If you go to the countryside on the weekend, what do you want to take? I’m super-interested in that aspect and bringing that together with the visual futuristic signature of Paco Rabanne. It’s a good challenge. The good thing, I hope, is that we cleaned the image of the brand quite fast. And now we can move forward.
No one was paying much attention to the label, but very quickly you seem to have caught people’s attention.
I hope. The name deserves it.
Do you think launching your own brand, Atto, at the same time as you signed on at Paco Rabanne has been helpful?
Yes. You learn so much on your own. When you launch your own brand, you have to be super-logical. Basically, it’s either you can do that or you can’t. That’s all. It teaches you not to be afraid to say, “OK, we can’t make a show? Don’t make a show.” But also to find the power in not making a show by really focusing on your products.
That’s what I wanted to do after I left Balenciaga. At Balenciaga I was working on the shows, and when you design clothes for a show it’s totally different than when you design for a customer. Paco Rabanne has taught me that a good basic with a little something more can be super-interesting. Each look has to go on a woman, has to be relevant.
But is it hard to manage two brands?
I just started wondering about that now. It happened randomly that I started Atto and Paco at the same time. I launched Atto in December  just after Balenciaga. Then Paco called me for freelance in mid-January. Now that we’re adding pre-collection in Paco, I wonder what is the best way to keep the balance. At the end, the signature is me. Of course I have the Paco name to hold on to, but in the end, it’s what I think is good.
How is the Paco girl different from the Atto girl?
She’s different, but she’s still my girl. Maybe at Paco she’s more sensual, she’s more rich. At Atto, her look is more sharp, more clean.
Are you going to stick to showing Atto by appointment only during the pre-collections?
Yes, I don’t want it to go too fast or too big. I really want to take my time and enjoy it. To not put pressure on me or the collection. What I’d love to do is co-branding, or collaborations with people who have a specific technique or savoir faire, like Atto Mackintosh, Atto and Charvet shirts. That’s a dream. I love the Comme des Garçons model—you know the way they do those jackets with Barbour. I love that. They keep the essence of Barbour, but they add all their craziness and twists to it.
I’m almost afraid to do a show for Atto because I worry that I will lose the aim of Atto. Doing a show totally transforms your vision of your clothes. It makes you think about the casting, all these kinds of things. When I design Atto now, I say, “OK, is the girl going to be comfortable in that dress? What can she mix it with?” I’m afraid to lose that mix-and-match, modular feeling of Atto.
What about the LVMH award? You’re one of the twelve finalists, for Atto. Congratulations.
I was super-honored and super-happy. You know, in France, there is not much support for young designers and young brands. It’s really hopeful when you see that a big group like LVMH is looking at what young designers are doing. It’s a good thing. It means you are not playing anymore. It’s serious. If Atto doesn’t win, we already won, just to be part of the designer group. It’s quite an eclectic group of finalists. And I’m so happy it’s going on in Paris, you know, finally.
There is something moving. My friends and I are super-happy that J.W. Anderson is coming to Loewe, that Nicolas Ghesquière is coming to Vuitton. You can feel a good energy now in Paris.