New York's #1 luxury shopping destination - Dover St. Market

Look out NY's fashion obsessed Dover Street Market is here

It isn't everyday when a new luxury fashion store, featuring well known and emerging designer labels, opens in New York. This December, the Murray Hill section of Manhattan became home to the Dover Street Market emporium, which has locations in London and Ginza, Japan. At first I thought this endeavor was a risky proposition. After all, why establish a fashion destination in a sleepy neighborhood where track sets, knit caps, Tory Burch and lower-end white Nikes are the norm? Or perhaps this is genius foresight on the part of fashion sage, Rei Kawakubo, designer of Comme des Garçons and store visionary. Establishing a landmark building as the cornerstone for a retail and arts magnet could jump start Murray Hill into a new hip hub.

Dpver St Market NY entrance

Wheelchair streetstyle Dover Market St NYC What did all the garments from Dover Street Market want me to wear on my visit? Felt tulip hat by RetroReproHandmade, faux fur by Todd Smith, Red Valentino tshirt, Level 99 jeans and Prada shoes.

My visit to the store was fortuitously on an unseasonably 55 degree March day. New Yorkers were out in force, weary of the rough winter, biking, running and pushing souped up baby strollers. I stood outside of the building, taking it all in and snapping photos of the grand entranceway. Meanwhile, a gravelly voiced, elderly woman using a walker sidled up to me saying "I don't know about this place. Tons of people walk in and out, but no one buys anything. It is more like a museum than a clothing store." I chuckled, thanking the woman for her honesty. Now, I was really eager to see myself what awaited inside.

The kind security guard ushered me through the side door up a dingy grey walled ramp. I barely got through the door and was already too excited for words. Enter floor one, where I came face to face with the spin off Comme des Garçons Black line, priced mid-range for men and women. Immediately, I fell for a $500 polka dot flight jacket, but my size was nowhere to be found. I took a deep breath in anticipation of wheeling through 6 more floors fueled by a stash of energy bars. Dover Street Market carries all the Comme lines and many more along with artifacts, art installations and a ground floor café. (Here are all the labels currently sold on all floors.)

Black and White polka dot comme des garçonds flight jacket Black Comme des Garçons polka dot flight jacket.

Black Comme des Garçons Black section Dover St Market NY Black Comme des Garçons department.

The glass elevator in the center of the store whisked me from floor to floor. Every floor offers a visual experience which mixes art with fashion, with several areas on each floor merchandised as a store within a store. Each area appeared to me like a meticulously curated fashion installation surrounded by sculptures. The curation and editing throughout the store was very effective. I didn't feel overwhelmed the way I do when I visit Bergdorf Goodman or Barney's. The customer service at Dover was superb and exceeded my expectations. The sales staff was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about all the lines throughout the entire store. Unlike other luxury stores, the employees are encouraged to dress with their own sense of style, no matter how edgy. I saw body piercings, tattoos, lavender, neon green hair and creative layering of garments. This was New York street style at its finest.

Comme des Garçons Homme Time to shed the popular "I-don't-give-a-crap-that-I-dress-like-a-lumberjack" look fellas and opt for either of these Comme des Garçons Homme Plus ensembles. Why can't more men dress like this?

Dover St Market NY staircase Staircase which connects levels 3 and 4.

"Yarn bombing" pillar by Magda Sayeg "Yarn bombing" pillar by Magda Sayeg

Leo Sewell pillar Dover St Market NY Leo Sewell took common objects and turned a pillar into objects d'arts.

Dover Street Market is what Barney's and Henri Bendel's (on W.57th St.) used to be in their heyday. The creativity of clothing, the high quality of workmanship and the store design are of such a high level that a visit becomes a cultural experience rather than a mere shopping expedition. What you see at Dover is wearable art, some of which were created exclusively for the NY branch. Though I was enthralled to witness what the Comme des Garçons groupies come to gawk, I was more eager to see brands which usually aren't sold under the same roof--Jacquemus, Sibling, Simone Rocha, Sacai, J.W. Anderson, Thom Browne and Undercover.

Sacai jacket spring 2014 Dover St Market NY My favorite collection and jacket is this one designed by Chitose Abe (who spent years working for Comme des Garçons) for the Japanese brand Sacai.

Simone Rocha collection Dover Market St NY Why do the majority of brides resort to wearing uncomfortable, poufy white gowns that sweep up dust from behind? For the bride that wants to break out of the mold, Simone Rocha's beautifully embroidered floral motif dress is the answer. At first glance it looks like a rain-repellent bridal gown. The supple vinyl fabric, along with the fused lace detail peaking out from beneath the embroidery, makes this design memorable. A bride for all seasons and a bride for all types of weather! Pair this dress with these satin, pearl floral embellished sandals and an extravagant headdress that would make Isabella Blow smile from heaven.


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