Just blocks from restaurant hotspots Bestia and Bavel, the newish headquarters for Warner Music Group and Spotify’s regional offices, Comme des Garcons’ Dover Street Market is putting the luxury fashion stamp of approval on downtown L.A.’s burgeoning Arts District, and betting there’s a customer there for the Japanese brand’s gender-bending tailoring, Chanel fine jewelry, Gucci dresses and limited-edition streetwear and sneakers.
On opening weekend, A$AP Rocky, Diane Keaton, Travis Scott, Alessandro Michele and Jimmy Iovine are just a few of the creatives who stopped in to check out the 15,000 square-foot retail space designed by CDG’s Rei Kawakubo that’s part contemporary art museum, part retail playground, with chandeliers and installations from Gary Card, Warren Muller and more. Meanwhile, sneaker heads and streetwear lovers lined up around the block to purchase limited-edition launch merch.
If DSMLA can keep up the momentum, the opening may represent another pillar in Los Angeles’ ascendency as a new global fashion capital, following Hedi Slimane’s moving his Saint Laurent atelier here in 2012, and Tom Ford’s relocation from London in 2017.
The L.A. location has been a long time coming for the anti-establishment Comme des Garcons brand, founded in 1969 by Kawakubo, and elevated to a new level of celebrity thanks to the 2017 Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute retrospective exhibition and gala.
DG had a pop-up guerilla store in downtown L.A. 15 years ago, and has been looking for a permanent space ever since. “We always liked the idea that for better or worse, this is the place artists and cults have come, even going back to the 1950s with Aldous Huxley,” says Joffe, speaking in L.A. in his wife’s absence (Kawakubo is like the Greta Garbo of fashion; she likes to stay away from the spotlight). “But it always seemed like more of an outback, nice sunshine, good food, a place to holiday. Now L.A. is becoming more like a mainstream alternative of how life can be,” he adds, pointing to the state’s liberal politics, clean air initiatives and more as examples of it becoming its own brand of anti-establishment.