Dover Street Market Ginza, Tokyo

Coudamy Design's 'Bear Cave' ceiling looms over the menswear
Coudamy Design's 'Bear Cave' ceiling looms over the menswear section, featuring collections by Raf Simons, Damir Doma and House of Billiam
(Image credit: press)

We knew it was only a matter of time, but we never expected to wait this long. An epic eight years since transforming London’s avant-garde fashion landscape with anti-department store Dover Street Market, founder Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons (opens in new tab)has finally imported the concept to her hometown of Tokyo. Six storeys of glass and steel prop up more than 60 fashion labels in a former office building in upmarket Ginza.

Unsurprisingly for this most hands-on of designers, Kawakubo took on the transformation herself, adding a monochrome pillar motif to the framework and carving out intriguing whitewashed niches for her fashion tenants. Her own labels, the entire stable of Comme lines, including Beatles, Homme and Pocket Comme des Garcons, get a variety of custom displays: giant metal spirals and arches and imaginative wood vitrines that envelop the merchandise.

Elsewhere, Kawakubo has given her fashion collaborators – from Alexanders Wang (opens in new tab) and McQueen (opens in new tab) to Celine (opens in new tab)and YSL (opens in new tab) - full artistic freedom. Japanese brand Visvim hired British set designer Andy Hillman to imagine its space with a patchwork wall mural and a giant fallen rose. Cultish New York menswear designer Adam Kimmel (opens in new tab), charged with his first-ever standalone concession, commissioned a series of neon canvases by artist Dan Attoe. Streetwear brand A Bathing Ape (opens in new tab) went with Tokyo interiors mavericks Wonderwall (opens in new tab).

Considerably larger than the London location at 1,300 sq m, DSM Ginza is what its author describes as ‘beautiful chaos’. Some long-loved London-born themes are reimagined Ginza style, like the changing-room ‘hut’, interpreted here in corrugated metal and wood, its primary-colour paint seeming to fade and rust. As in London, no distinction is made between luxury and streetwear brands – it all collides in delicious anarchy, much as it would on a frantic Ginza street.

Kawakubo treats the space like a multi-tiered sculpture garden, curating each floor with works by Coudamy Design (opens in new tab) from France and Vancouver’s Patkau Architects (opens in new tab). Fashion designers with an itch to scratch get a dedicated event space on the ground floor to toy with. Vuitton (opens in new tab)menswear designer Kim Jones, along with sculptor Alistair Mackie (opens in new tab), took up the inaugural task and directed a Masai-themed scene, featuring a life-sized plaster elephant by Stephanie Quayle and Vuitton’s Africa-inspired Spring/Summer 2012 collection.

The building’s winning feature, however, is a recurring installation by sculptor Kohei Nawa (opens in new tab) of Kyoto. Kawakubo, eager to obscure the ‘intrusive’ escalator bays on each floor, commissioned Nawa’s wall of giant spindles. They cut across the thrust of each escalator like arrows, directing energy up through the building. Not surpringly, Nawa has called it ‘Pulse’.

The 'Bear Cave' from the perspective of the A Bathing Ape concession

The 'Bear Cave' from the perspective of the A Bathing Ape concession, designed by Wonderwall.

(Image credit: press)

British artist Stephanie Quayle sculpted

British artist Stephanie Quayle sculpted the white elephant for Louis Vuitton's event space, curated by Kim Jones and Alastair Mackie

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The traditional Dover Street hut

The traditional Dover Street hut, Ginza style

(Image credit: TBC)

installation called 'Pulse' by Kyoto artist

On each floor, an installation called 'Pulse' by Kyoto artist Kohei Nawa distracts visitors from the imposing escalators

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The Céline concession, designed by Rei Kawakubo

The Céline concession, designed by Rei Kawakubo with thick pale-pink walls

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The Junya Watanabe Man space

The Junya Watanabe Man space, featuring a sculpture by British artist Graham Hudson

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The Thom Browne shop

The Thom Browne shop

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A giant rose by UK artist Andy Hillman

A giant rose by UK artist Andy Hillman and a mural for Japanese label Visvim

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Fashion from Michael Samuel

Fashion from Michael Samuels, Comme des Garcons Homme Deux, Nike box and CDG Homme

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The Beatles Comme des Garcons concession

The Beatles Comme des Garcons concession

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The spiritual heart of Dover Street Market Ginza

The spiritual heart of Dover Street Market Ginza is this spiralling installation for Comme des Garçons, featuring one of Nawa's giant spindles at the centre

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The Dover Street Market bookspace

The Dover Street Market bookspace

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Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Martin Margiela

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Undercover's Gyakuso collection (left), Nike footwear (centre) and a vending machine

Undercover's Gyakuso collection (left), Nike footwear (centre) and a vending machine, which dispenses Dover Street Market T-shirts (right)

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In front of the Sacai concession is a steel shelter

In front of the Sacai concession is a steel shelter by Vancouver-based Patkau architects

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Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

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Balenciaga

Balenciaga

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The Pocket Comme des Garcons concession

The Pocket Comme des Garcons concession on the fourth floor, with its aluminium arches

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Adam Kimmel’s first ever stand-alone shop

Adam Kimmel’s first ever stand-alone shop features a neon installation by Dan Attoe

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The Ganryu space

The Ganryu space

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Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent

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On the sixth floor, scenes from ‘Wasp Factory

On the sixth floor, scenes from ‘Wasp Factory’ by British artist/set designer Michael Howells

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Howells' ‘Wasp Factory’

Howells' ‘Wasp Factory’

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10 Corso Como's Courreges exhibition

10 Corso Como's Courreges exhibition

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Azzedine Alaïa

Azzedine Alaïa

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Black Peanuts products

Black Peanuts products in the event space

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The new men's collection

The new men's collection by Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton

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ADDRESS

Dover Street Market Ginza
Comme des Garçon
Ginza Komatsu West
6-9-5, Ginza
Chuo-ku, Tokyo
104-0061, Japan

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