29 posts tagged "Rei Kawakubo"
Since launching her line in 2010, New York-based designer Zana Bayne has been blurring the lines between clothing, accessories, and bondage-tinged harnesses at warp speed. Fresh off her New York fashion week debut, she jetted to Paris, her home away from home, to present her collection to buyers.
“The whole city is black and gold. When I got back to Paris, I thought, Oh, so that’s where this collection came from,” said the raven-haired designer of her Fall ’14 outing, Ornamentalist. The lineup was inspired by fifties-era images from L’Officiel and featured black and croc-embossed cowhide and gold embellishments.
Belts became bras, or were elongated to look like skirts, sometimes with extreme accentuated waists. Some pieces were adorned with tassels, big buckles, or extra rivets, and a lingerie feel was created via elastic details and garter belts.
While in Paris, Bayne welcomed Rei Kawakubo to her showroom—Bayne’s leathers are currently sold at Comme des Garçons in New York, and she’s preparing for a project with London’s Dover Street Market in the fall. Bayne’s wares, which are priced between $150 and $1,500, are also carried by such stockists as Opening Ceremony, Selfridges in London, and Paris’ Mise en Cage.
Bayne aims to clothe more than just fashion’s edgy avant-garde. In fact, the ambitious 25-year-old, who has crafted pieces for both Prabal Gurung and Lorde, is aiming for sartorial world domination. She is expanding her handbag line and splitting her collection into two: the handcrafted runway range Zana Bayne Collection, and Zana Bayne Originals, which will offer seasonless pieces from the archive.
“It’s not just for the cool kids. There are pieces for all sorts of silhouettes. There are garter belts, full-body pieces, and really delicate items as well,” she explained. “I like to make sure there’s a variety.” Bayne hopes there’s a little something in her collections for everyone—even for her dream client, Michelle Obama.
Breakfast with my colleague Maya to go over the lineup for the next issue of Style.com/Print, which we put together while simultaneously covering the shows on the site and publish within a month of the close of Paris fashion week, a live-broadcast approach to making a magazine. Then it was off to the Rodarte show. Last season’s collection got slated, though I sort of liked its trashy energy. This one had more of the Mulleavy sisters’ customary handcrafted offbeat charm and should be a hit with their fans. After that it was on to Diesel Black Gold on the West Side, and then a meeting on the East Side with a European luxury house, who filled me in on its plans for a huge event later this spring.
Tons of energy and lots of food for thought at Marc by Marc Jacobs, which has been rechristened by its initials and is now in the hands of the London-based duo of Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier. Something about the scale of the plywood set and the refracted references here made me think I could have been at a show in Paris. There was an intriguing magpie quality to the clothes, as if you were moving through the racks of Dover Street Market from the Japanese designer section to the sophisticated European section to the streetwear section. My favorite grouping was the BMX-inspired looks. The show was a bona fide smash with the audience. It’ll be interesting to see how the aesthetic, a break from the line’s more insouciant past, plays at retail. Delphine Arnault, of the parent group LVMH, was looking on from the front row.
Talking of Dover Street Market, I ran into the new Comme des Garçons-operated, multiretailer space on Lexington Avenue to say hello to Andre Walker. Walker is the first to describe himself as an “elusive” designer, and after a few stops and starts, he’s back with a small line, thanks to the encouragement of DSM’s Adrian Joffe and Rei Kawakubo. You’ll find it on the seventh floor between Junya Watanabe and Prada, an indication of the esteem Kawakubo has for Walker.
Every season, there are a couple of models who break through and start popping up in all the big shows so that you can trace the day’s development through their changing hairstyles and runway attitudes. This season, those models are Binx Walton and Anna Ewers, who in the space of a few hours went from Bolshevik ninja at MBMJ to sleek gallerina at the serenely beautiful Narciso Rodriguez show that closed another day of New York fashion week.
Come Thursday, Dover Street Market won’t be the only conceptual Japanese-centric retailer in town—Tokyo-based department store Isetan is bringing its Nipponista pop-up to Soho. “Isetan considers New York the hub of fashion in the business sense, and their ultimate goal is to open a permanent store,” said Kohsuke Miki, the creative director of the project. The weeklong pop-up is sponsored by both Isetan and the Japanese government’s Cool Japan initiative, through which the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry aims to promote Japanese products, craft, and technique abroad.
“For more than twenty years, there hasn’t been significant [Japanese] talent that actually surpasses the talent that existed before it,” Kohsuke said. “In the eighties there was Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, and in the seventies there was Issey Miyake, Kansai Yamamoto, and Kenzo Takada.” Kohsuke believes that Nipponista, a cuter construct of the word Japanophile, is the right first step in establishing the new guard of Japanese creative talent and design.
Nipponista’s 2,000-square-foot space, which debuts exclusively here, features wares from some of the heritage brands Kohsuke mentioned—there’s a vintage Yohji Yamamoto ensemble, as well as choice pieces from Kansai Yamamoto’s latest collection (he revived his brand in 2013). But a coterie of designs from five emerging talents, who were commissioned to craft clothes in traditional Japanese indigo, or “Japanese blue,” is the centerpiece. Other fashion offerings include handmade sneakers from Hender Scheme, wearable embroidery from Maison des Perles, geometric jewelry from Shihara, delicate scarves from Suzusan, and garments from Anrealage and Yoko Chan, among others. Everything in the shop—even the giant window display of a teddy bear, which was constructed with hundreds of tiny balloons by artist duo Daisy Balloon—was made in Japan. Continue Reading “Nipponista Lands in New York: Finally, a Pop-Up Store That’s Worth Visiting” »
“I used to go to Dover Street Market when I was in Uni, and I was always awestruck by it. The space and concept were exactly how I envisioned retail,” said Fashion East alum and London-based menswear designer-to-watch Craig Green. “To be asked to design a display and showcase my collection…let’s just say it was more than a dream come true.”
The pairing seems especially apropos, considering the critically acclaimed young designer is well known for working against the grain—not unlike Rei Kawakubo and her team at DSM. Green was chuffed to be asked to partake in the London store’s tachiagari (“rebirth” in Japanese, and for DSM, that meant shutting down for a couple of days, clearing out the sad old sale bits, sprucing up the place, and adding a few new designers) and show off his Spring ’14 collection.
“They knew I have a thing for wood [Green has featured wearable wooden sculptures in his past collections], so they asked me to incorporate that in the display. Apart from that, they gave me full creative license, and I went with it to build this climbing frame, but cobbled together in a haphazard, chaotic way. It’s reminiscent of the type you would find in a park for kids, but this one is slightly menacing and dangerous,” explained Green, who also has an installation at DSM’s New York location.
“Then, because Spring ’14 had a lot of tie-dye, I thought it would be good to whitewash the frame to counteract the colorfulness of the collection,” he continued of the display, which takes pride of place on the ground floor.
Next up for Green is art-directing an eight-page spread for a men’s magazine, which the designer doesn’t consider moonlighting. Art director, stylist, builder, designer—his thing is to stay busy and let the creativity roll out: “I guess I’ve learned not to say no to anything.”
Is this the end of shopping as we know it? That thought kept insinuating itself in my head in December as I navigated the busiest spending time of the year. The revolution has been brewing for a while, of course, but this was the holiday season when I reached a personal tipping point in terms of favoring e-commerce over bricks-and-mortar. The physical act of visiting a store has finally become too depressing: You have to deal with the crowds, there’s rarely a sense of intimacy or discovery, there’s never anything in the size you want, the shop assistants in even supposedly upscale stores manage to be pushy and ill-informed at the same time (why is the line “Can I help you?” always delivered with a vague sense of threat?), and just try finding a taxi afterward. Better to stay home and log on. Ironically, one of the reasons the best online retailers win out is that they deliver a level of good old-fashioned service that their real-world counterparts have lost: Delivery to your front door (just hours after you’ve ordered if you live in New York), the ability to try things on in the comfort and privacy of home, and the option to return what you don’t like, no questions asked. Hell, if I’m logged in, one of my favorite e-tailers will even change the logo at the top of their site to Mr. Standen. It’s the little things in life.
No, I decided I was done with shopping the traditional way. And then along came Dover Street Market. I went to the press opening of the new multi-retailer space owned and curated by Rei Kawakubo and her Comme des Garçons team on the Friday before Christmas. Then I went back again a week later just to make sure my original opinion hadn’t been skewed by the energy of opening night. On both occasions, I came away with the same impression: Dover Street Market has made shopping enjoyable, even enlightening again. How? I think there are a few key lessons that other retailers could study.
1. Shopping should be a social experience first, a transactional one second.
The decision to put Rose Bakery on the ground floor immediately to the right as you enter was probably dictated by the contingencies of the physical space, but it’s a fortuitous placement. There’s nothing new about having a café in a store, of course, but what’s key here is that it doesn’t feel like a separate entity but a seamless part of the experience. The array of baked goods and the communal dining tables spilling into the shopping area immediately create a sense of well-being and bonhomie. That continues throughout the market with its seven floors and Aladdin’s Cave-like warren of individual boutiques. You feel like you are having a good day out even before you think about buying anything. That sentiment is probably helped by the slightly out-of-the-way Murray Hill location.
2. Shop assistants are the new rock stars.
First of all, they look the part here. But even if they’re dressed cooler than you, they don’t have that cooler-than-thou attitude. They won’t force themselves on a customer, but if you ask for assistance, you’ll find they are not only helpful but passionate and knowledgeable about the stock. None of this happened by accident. The assistants at Dover Street Market were cherry-picked from other independent shops around New York, then put through a rigorous set of interviews. I used to give other retailers the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was simply impossible to find great store assistants. DSM has proved it can be done.
3. It’s all in the mix.
Dover Street Market has the best variety of merchandise that I’ve seen in a long time. It adheres to the same formula that Kawakubo and Co. use in their other outlets in London and Tokyo, but perhaps because of the conservatism of most New York stores, it stands out in greater contrast here. DSM stocks a rigorously edited selection from—to name just a few—high-end designers like Prada and Saint Laurent, street/sportswear labels like Supreme and Nike, and up-and-comers like Shaun Samson and Gosha Rubchinskiy, not to mention a handful of items from an old-school French naval outfitter. Instead of feeling like you’re seeing the same things you’ve been looking at for months online or in glossy ads, there’s a sense of surprise here. Other retailers might argue that this approach wouldn’t be commercial enough for them. All I can reply is that nearly the entire stock of Supreme had turned over in the few days between my first and second visits. And it raises a larger point. Perhaps as traditional retailers do more and more of their business via their digital platforms, physical stores should become showcases for their more experimental ranges and most exciting goods, places where you enchant and engage your potential customers while the hard selling gets done online.
4. And finally…
Judging by DSM’s concrete facade, the shopwindow as we know it is dead.