Friday, September 26, 2014


By Stephenie Adubato Burke

New York Fashion Week Open House at DSMNY
Pharrell Williams' GIRL fragrance launch

 Photos by Stephenie Adubato Burke (Click to enlarge)

NEW YORK - If you’re a freak for fashion and you’ve never been to Dover Street Market in the Kips Bay neighborhood of NYC, go immediately. With seven floors stuffed to the gills with some of the most beautiful designs from among the most established fashion houses in the world, it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for fashion-lovers. The featured installations are equally as breathtaking and creative as the clothes themselves, utilizing color, texture and space manipulation to create the most visually captivating displays (imagine transitioning from level to level via a steep winding staircase carved into a rocky purple cave).

Each floor is a feast for the senses and you can quite literally see the art coming and going as you travel through the venue in a tiny glass elevator. If every single thing wasn’t so fabulous and interesting, it might be overwhelming. As it is, there didn’t seem to be enough time to really see, touch and feel all the amazing details. From a two story rainbow stalk shooting out of Rose Bakery to the lushest of YSL velvet dresses, there was nothing in the market that wasn’t stimulating and inspiring.

Rainbow (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

There was not a fashion rock left unturned with floor upon floor of gleaming jewelry, covetable handbags, men’s and women’s apparel in every print, texture and formation you could image in addition to sneakers, boots, pumps and hats of every sort. Everywhere I looked there was another piece of art work to behold: a beautifully shabby shack erected in the center of the first floor, an installation of variably sized boxes hanging precariously above a collection and a metal patchwork bear cub perched beside the racks. 

The reception at DSMNY, held on the first Friday of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, was an official launch of Pharrell’s unisex fragrance collaboration with Comme Des Garçons, aptly titled GIRL. The scent is encapsulated in a new, limited edition bottle designed by New York-based artist KAWS (Pharrell’s close friend) and is emblazoned with vibrant abstract shapes and the artist’s trademark crossed out eyes. The result: an oddly adorable voo-doo doll- like capsule for an equally unique fragrance.

Simone Rocha (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

In addition to the launch, the event featured new installations and displays from a mix of up-and-coming and well-known designers like Raf Simons x Ruby SterlingIDEA BooksWalter van Beirendonck and Prada as well as lustworthy collections from YSLA.P.C. and J.W. Anderson. Not to mention the pervasive presence of an innumerable number of Comme Des Garçons products interspersed between presentations. What was especially compelling was the juxtaposition of more mundane apparel (Converse and Vans both made appearances) with some of the most luxurious and outlandish fashion in the world. And it is because of this duality that the market itself appeals to every type of fashion-fiend, from the casual minimalist to the most sartorial. 

Among my favorite features were a wall of high-end Nike sneakers, the chicest collections from Louis Vuitton and Simone Rocha and beanies and graphic tees from the skater-vibed brand Supreme. And in the midst of the fashion insanity, in what looked like a literal pop-up shop (reminiscent of the glorious Fendi shop in the middle of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas) was Thom Browne’s absolutely stunning and only slightly unnerving designs. While I coveted pieces from the more sublte collections, I was in absolute awe of the construction of Browne’s wearable artwork. There was a decadent display of texture, color and size (I fell in love with a plaid, frayed-edge jacket/skirt set) as well as some of the oddball accents one might expect (I nearly cried at the sight of a Donnie Darko-esque bunny hat).

THOM BROWNE's rabbit hat (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

THOM BROWNE (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

And if the pleasantly incessant assault of art and design weren’t enough, the canapés and white wine provided by in house cafe, Rose Bakery, were absolutely delicious and had guests going back for seconds and thirds (and fourths, but maybe that was just me). With a simple yet dynamic menu that reads like a culinary institute course in gourmet ingredients and a reach across continents (with locations in Paris, London, Tokyo and Seoul), the cuisine was just as unique and engrossing as the designs. 

The crowd itself was immensely fashionable, exactly what you might expect from the guests at such a fashionable venue. Looks varied from chic to wild to sporty and there was a rainbow of vibrant hair hues. And just in case all the gourmet fare, eye-catching art and high-end design were boring anyone, Mr. Ten-Gallon himself, Pharrell Williams, arrived at the end of the event in one of his signature hats (this time in a cobalt blue) and was mobbed, albeit it gently, by fans. The presence of music and fashion royalty revved the eclectic crowd and capped off a fantastic evening.

Supreme (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

Limited edition of GIRL - new fragrance by Pharrell Williams 

Comme Des Garçons (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

LV booties (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

LV display (Photo by Stephenie Adubato Burke)

Read more: MBFW Kick-Off 2014

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