6 posts tagged "Supreme"
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.
World of Interiors: Dover Street Market New York’s Designers on the Spaces They Designed for the New York Megastore
Tomorrow, Dover Street Market in New York opens its doors to the public (including that very committed member of the public who has been camped out in a pup tent on the corner, reportedly for days, waiting). The multibrand store, owned by Comme des Garçons, stocks both the full range of Comme des Garçons labels (which are many), and lines that Rei Kawakubo and her team select and buy for the store—with the sphinx-like Kawakubo often doing the buys herself.
The concept of shop-in-shops at multibrand retailers is nothing new, and many department stores have concessions piloted by individual designers and labels. But few give so much freedom to so many as Dover Street Market. (“We don’t go in for brainstorming,” CdG CEO Adrian Joffe put it dryly to Style.com last year) The result is that walking through the seven stories of New York’s Dover Street Market—or riding up in the glass elevator that was commissioned for the space—is a varied, eye-popping, and often surreal experience. Brands are grouped together in unlikely arrangements, decided by Kawakubo. On the seventh floor, Prada sits next to the skate brand Supreme, the Japanese line Visvim, and near André Walker, the cult designer coaxed out of semi-retirement to design a new collection for the store. And because most if not all of the labels are given license to design their own spaces and fixtures, going from one to the next, even over a distance of only a few feet, can feel like traveling between dimensions or falling down the proverbial rabbit hole. (This is not even to take into account the stairway, designed by the architects Arakawa and Gins, which somewhat resembles a birth canal and is reputed, according to a Comme representative, “to reverse your destiny.”) And this is before you account for the artworks commissioned from the space, including three artist-designed pillars that evolve as they cut through the seven floors, a sound art installation, a mural and more.
The result is a store that is completely unlike all of the existing shopping experiences in New York. But for every person disoriented by the experience, there is likely to be another delighted by the creative chaos. “It’s not overthought. I feel sometime shopping environments can be overcalculated—it’s nearly forced, duty-free luxury,” said Jonathan Anderson, who created the first branded space he’s ever done in the history of his J.W. Anderson label for the store. “I don’t think luxury has to be determined in that way. I think luxury is about the arrangement of ideas, not necessarily the finish.”
Style.com spoke with several designers who created their own spaces—and in many cases, exclusive product—for Dover Street Market New York.
Dover Street Market New York opens tomorrow at 160 Lexington Avenue, NYC.
Anderson, the London-based designer who was recently named creative director of Loewe, was inspired to build his space out of children’s foam-rubber play blocks, all in a shade somewhere between sky and Yves Klein blue. He’d seen children playing with them in a park in Venice, where he’d just returned from his first vacation in seven years when Joffe asked him to do a space on DSMNY’s fifth floor. “They’re from America, weirdly,” he said. “The company did them exclusively in different shapes for us. It was quite fun, actually.”
Dover Street has been a longtime patron of Anderson’s collections, which are also stocked in its London and Ginza, Tokyo, stores. Kawakubo herself selects the pieces to carry which often, thanks to her off-kilter eye, end up being exclusive to DSM. “I always like watching her edit. I love her commitment to fashion, buying from other brands. You have to be on a very different plane to able to do that,” he said. “I think that’s what’s so exciting about the relationship between Dover Street and Comme des Garçons. I think it’s such an interesting exercise, and that’s why there’s no compromise in the buy, there’s no compromise in the store shopping experience.”
“Supreme is a hard brand for people to categorize,” said founder James Jebbia. “DSM does a great job at taking the best brands in the world and mixing them in their store without categorizing them.”
All that is to say, Dover Street let Supreme be Supreme: graphic, in your face and immediate. Jebbia commissioned Weirdo Dave (né Dave Sandey, but also known as Fuck This Life) to create a large backdrop mural of found images, which has a Tumblr-ish spark. (A few yards away hangs Visvim’s cozy hanging quilts.) How much interaction did Kawakubo have with the space? “Not much, really,” Jebbia said. “Rei let us design the space how we wanted, but she looks at and approves every detail. If she didn’t like something, she certainly would have told us.”
From the time she launched her new, self-titled album at 12:01 a.m.—without any warning, press, leaks, or buildup buzz—today has been the Day of Beyoncé. The new Beyoncé features fourteen tracks and a full seventeen videos. One in particular has caught the attention of the Bey Hive: “‘Yonce,” which stars not only Bey, but also three of the fashion world’s top models—Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls, and Chanel Iman—in an homage of sorts to George Michael’s famous supermodel-filled “Freedom ’90″ video. Director, video artist, and co-head of creative at Supreme, Ricky Saiz, shot the video over two days in Brooklyn. “When I started to propose ideas and put together a visual narrative, Beyoncé responded really well,” he said. “She was open to me pushing a bit, and to trying new things, and I didn’t want it to be overproduced. I didn’t want a performance video, which is like jazz hands. This was more like an upskirt.”
“Upskirt” does set the racy tone. Saiz was inspired by Daido Moriyama’s erotic photographs as well as the iconic George Michael Video—and styled by Karen Langley, the cast dons an array of revealing outfits, including a black Anthony Vaccarello dress (for Dunn) and a bondage-inspired molded bodysuit from Tom Ford’s tenure at YSL (for Beyoncé).
Here, Saiz talks to Style.com about the singer’s most smoldering video to date, what it was like working with the one of the world’s biggest stars and a trio of supermodels, and that time on set when Smalls decided to lick Beyoncé’s breast.
How did you come to work with Beyoncé on this in the first place?
It was very all of a sudden, actually. I have a working relationship with Todd Tourso, her creative director. We worked together on the 2011 Lady Gaga for Supreme campaign that we put together. He called me out of the blue and said they wanted me to do a video for them. Four days later, we did it. It was very fast, all of a sudden, and fun. I think Beyoncé is an incredible artist—she has ability, reach, and doesn’t compromise. She’s always kind of done her own thing. But the project that they approached me with was very much in my lane, and my aesthetic. If they had me do a big, drawn-out, cinematic production kind of video, I probably wouldn’t have done as good of a job.
What was the brief that Beyoncé and her team gave you? What were they asking for?
They came with a pretty broad concept. They had the models in line, and wanted something pretty simple. The brief was in the direction of George Michael’s “Freedom” video. And I kind of took it from there. I felt like doing something really simple, handheld, lo-fi. It felt like an interesting way of doing it. It could come off so bland if filmed the other way. And again, I wanted to explore her transgressive imagery. Things that were sexual and erotic, but not cliché. I didn’t want to see Beyoncé with her tongue out, you know?
How is this display of sexuality different from what Miley Cyrus does in “Wrecking Ball”?
Beyoncé is so sexy without having to do anything. I felt like she didn’t need to be wet, or need to twerk. It was more about a mature sense of eroticism, like what Madonna expressed in “Human Nature” in the nineties. A lot of the inspiration came from still photography. Like Daido Moriyama’s really tight close-ups of fishnets—things that felt abstract but still resonate.
What was Beyoncé’s reaction to your creative process? Was she very hands-on?
She’s incredible. She was very hands-on, and everything was a collaborative effort. I think once she saw my aesthetic and references in the styling and art direction, she had full trust in my ideas for the video. I’ve never worked with anyone that gave so much, and was so willing to try new things. For example, the styling; Karen Langley brought this Tom Ford [for YSL] molded-breast bodysuit with the pierced nipple, fishnets, and things like that. It was exactly the references that I was looking for, but in my head I was like, Yeah, right. We’re never getting Bey to put that on. And Beyoncé’s so incredible, she was like, “Let’s do it.” I don’t think anyone’s seen her like that. She was into it.
Do you have a sense of why Beyoncé tapped Jourdan, Joan, and Chanel for this project?
They came to me with these three women in mind. It just felt very of-the-moment, very iconic. You know, they’re all supermodels, they stand on their own, they’re such powerful women. And when brought together, it created a whole dynamic. We definitely weren’t trying to put together a “girl group.” But the chemistry on set was amazing. People just came in really excited about the project, and I tried to keep things loose and fun. I wanted you to see something you maybe weren’t supposed to see.
The “Freedom” video worked because the girls were supermodelséthe first generation of so-called supers, in fact. Do you see these women as the new generation?
Absolutely. I think that in addition to being extremely beautiful, they have their own characters, and their own personalities that they brought to the table. They were anything but casted models.
Did you have any favorite moments on set?
When Joan Smalls licked Beyoncé’s boob. I’m probably not going to forget that anytime soon. To be honest, I didn’t even see it happen. I was in between monitors. I saw it in playback. My director of photography came up to me and was like, “Oh, my God, did you see that?” It was totally spontaneous. [Smalls] just went in. It was fun. We had a good time.
It’s coming…. Last year, it was announced that Rei Kawakubo’s conceptual shopping wonderland, Dover Street Market, which already has locations in London and Tokyo, would be opening its doors in New York. But we didn’t know exactly when the Manhattan mecca would launch, until today. This afternoon, DSM revealed that the store, located on the fittingly unlikely corner of Thirtieth Street and Lexington Avenue, will bow on December 21. What treasures will be on offer, you ask? Prada, Thom Browne, Supreme, Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane, Alaïa, Atto, A.P.C., Rick Owens, Junya Watanabe, and a brand-new range from nineties fashion star Andre Walker are just some of the lines on DSM New York’s stock list. And don’t worry—wares from every breed of Comme des Garçons you could possibly dream of will be up for sale, too. Whether DSM will be able to transform the notoriously bland Murray Hill neighborhood into something with a little more elegance and edge is up for debate, but if anyone can do it, it’s Rei Kawakubo. For more information on DSM’s stateside arrival, read our Q&A with Comme des Garçons CEO Adrian Joffe.
Sex and streetwear aren’t the most obvious bedfellows, but editor, stylist, and all-around provocateur Andrew Richardson has united them in his new store, Richardson. “I don’t know if there is a logical connection between sex and streetwear, but I always thought that streetwear was sexy and cool,” he mused between puffs on a cigarette. “There’s always an attitude, and I think that’s sexy—sexy confidence.” That may be so, but his shop, which opens this Friday at 325 Broome Street in New York, sells swag that’s arguably more perverse than confidence-boosting hoodies.
Best known for his cerebral, self-titled sex magazine, also called Richardson, Andrew is well versed in the streetwear subculture—he’s even done a bevy of projects with cult label (or, as some would argue, lifestyle) Supreme. In his store, Andrew presents his liberated take on sex and bondage via clever T-shirts, bomber jackets, swim trunks, caps, and towels—many of which were created in collaboration with such artists as Christopher Wool, Bjarne Melgaard, and Aaron Bondaroff. Some highlights include a melting snowman shirt by Nate Lowman; a tee printed with a car that reads “Blow Jobs”; totes scribed with the store’s ethos, “Work hard, play nice, communicate”; and a sweatsuit by artist Mark Gonzales. Embellished with images of lady parts and a cowboy flaunting his impressive member, the latter is guaranteed to inspire stares.
The shop goes beyond threads, though. For instance, good pal Olympia Le-Tan designed a signature patch for Richardson’s club car jacket—more intriguing, though, is her capsule of erotic minaudières (think bags embroidered with busty femmes and titles like Fanny Hill, Cutter Girl, Carnal Cargo, or Sweet and 20.) Above the clutches’ case hang drawings by Japanese artist Hauro Namaikawa that depict couples in compromising, albeit comical, positions. And, across the room, shelves are lined with an A-to-Z collection of erotic tomes, which was curated by Idea Books, London. Richardson is, of course, on sale, too. “There are going to be guys who are my age who are going to come in and spend $1,800 on an original drawing, and I think we’ll have 25-year-old skaters who want to wear fucked-up T-shirts to scare their parents,” said Andrew of his clientele. “There’ll be a range.”
When the editor—whose résumé, it should be noted, includes working on Madonna’s Sex book, as well as shoots with heavyweights like Terry Richardson, Steven Meisel, and Ellen von Unwerth—was asked about the thinking behind his sex-themed products, he told us, “I was always into that idea of idolizing women through sexual provocation…and I’m trying to find that fine line between palatability and provocation. If you’re too provocative, you end the debate.” Ultimately, his patrons will be the ones to decide whether he’s found that balance; however, no matter how explicit or ridiculous Richardson’s offerings may be, everything is done with a wink, a smile, and a streetwise attitude. And somehow, that makes it seem all the sexier.