Officially, Mayumi Tamieko, 24, is in London for a language course. Unofficially, she's here as a self-described Dover Street Market (DSM) groupie. "I love everything that Rei Kawakubo does," she says in halting English. "But you have to understand -- Kawabuki-san is a legend in my country." And a legend in the Ol' Blighty as well. Most retailers, especially in this climate, would shudder at the thought of closing their store for four days and losing out on those sales, but Kawakubo does so each year post-Boxing Day. It's called Tachiagari “beginning” in Japanese, and Kawakubo takes that concept very seriously, completely clearing out the old and adding new, interesting designers to her world famous Dover Street Market. This week, the store re-opened with a refreshingly slick new look, and without a single sale rack of sad leftovers.
Kawakubo's exciting additions once again proved that DSM can be relied upon to consistently raise the retail bar. Pieces from Phoebe Philo’s Celine, the intensely cool YSL unisex line, and jewelry from a collaboration between Ileana Makri and Marios Schwab caught our eye. DSM has always been known to attract browsers, suck them in for a day and turn them into full fledged buyers. Believe us, there's lots to get lost in. However, this season's highlight is most certainly the new collaboration between Junya Watanabe and Macintosh. They jackets are so cool, in fact, that fashion tourists are returning by the planeload, recession be damned. "I came from Tokyo because the Macs weren't available there yet." says our new friend Tamieko. "My mom and sister are coming next week to look at them and other things, too, and they can barely wait." If anyone can rebuild the retail tourism industry, it's Kawakubo.