Dover Street Market: the most fashion-forward mall in the world

By Misha Janette


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Back in the golden heyday, Ginza was the poshest neighborhood around (the characters for Ginza literally mean “golden seat”). Nowadays, the district of Omotesando/Aoyama looks to take that crown with a higher density of luxury and hipper-than-thou shops. But wait, there is still reason to put on your best outfit and take a ride to Ginza. And that reason is Dover Street Market.

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Dover Street Market (further, DSM) is the brainchild of Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo, known as one of the most fashion-forward ingenues of our time. Ms. Kawakubo has a reputation for experimenting with the notion of “shopping”, often staging pop-up shops around the world in far-flung locations without warning. Then, as the stars aligned, she opened up a mini-mall patchwork of brands including her own in London, christening it the Dover Street Market. It’s success was palpable, and in 2012 Tokyo got its own playground.

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DSM Ginza occupies a fair amount of space, covering 7 floors including a bakery/restaurant and a rooftop terrace replete with its own shrine (which is almost completely unknown- you can thank me for inviting you to this little secret of an oasis later).

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Each floor houses a number of brands, covering the independent larvae-level newbies up to the bigwig Queen Bees, like Louis Vuitton. The reason to shop here instead of a department store? Here’s two:
1. Many brands get their own space to decorate, making it a bunch of small universes within the whole. Designers are given free reign, and they don’t disappoint with eye-catching huts, pieces of art and other objects d’art.
2. The pieces sold here run the gamut from casual to couture. It’s difficult to find fashion-forward pieces even in the flagship stores of the world’s biggest brands. But here you can be sure to find eclectic robes and confections. In the Louis Vuitton section I found a unique sequined dress that wasn’t available anywhere else but DSM.

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Even just window shopping here is a joy. Each level contains giant works of art, such as two works by Cindy Sherman as a clown (which greet you at the escalator), a massive plastic rose two people long, an elephant in the room, and other artworks done by the designers themselves. Spindles dripping with geometric dew pierce through the floors, designed by famed Japanese artist Kohei Nawa. Their sticky presence makes sense as soon as you run into the first of many giant honey bee sculptures scattered throughout the store, some of them painted into the walls and ceilings like they are planning to raid the joint.

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And this is just the tip of the iceberg. You will surely need a break after sifting through the myriad of exclusive and unique items here, so make sure to stop by Rose Bakery on the 7th floor. Their carrot cake draws lines at lunch time daily, but their other baked goods and juices are also not to be missed. Note there is complimentary wi-fi here. Finally, don’t forget to check out the rooftop to breathe in some of that golden Ginza air as the one of the most beautiful strips to walk at dusk comes alive.

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Below: Each floor has its own fitting room, some of them quite the art pieces themselves. I was told that some are too dark inside to see much.

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Some eclectic pieces found within the hallowed walls of DSM from Undercover, Louis Vuitton, and small independent labels.

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Below: One of the main reasons people come to DSM is because they are huge fans of the many lines in Comme des Garcons and the goods are difficult to find anywhere. You will find nearly every line here at DSM, including Junya Watanabe, CDG showpieces, the Beatles bag collaboration, Junya Watanabe Denim, NOIR by Rei Kawakubo’s youngest protege Ke Ninomiya, and BLACK which is the most reasonably priced line.

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Below: An Oasis on the roof, a shrine and mini park (I was told that many people will bring lunch from the bakery up here to eat)

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Watch out for these buggers

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To get there, you really just need to find the massive UNIQLO on the main street (Chuo-dori) and walk straight though and out the back. There you will find the entrance to Dover Street Market.

Dover Street Market, Ginza:
6-9-5, Ginza
Chuo-ku, Tokyo
104-0061, Japan

Open
11:00-20:00 Sun-Thu
11:00-21:00 Fri and Sat

Online Site for DSM ginza

 


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FASHION FOOD SHOPPING SIGHTSEEING TOKYO YAKUSHIMA

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About Columnist

Misha Janette
Fashion stylist-journalist-editor

Tokyo-based fashion creator-stylist-journalist-editor. Ms. Janette handled tour costumes for Nicki Minaj and collaborated in Kansai Yamamoto 2014 sales success at Isetan.She writes for media in and outside Japan and launched “Tokyo Fashion Diary” to introduce the Japan scene to the world.