If anyone still questions whether Los Angeles should be taken seriously by the fashion industry, this past weekend offered a barrage of convincing evidence that it should, including ComplexCon, two epic events hosted by Gucci and the opening of Dover Street Market's massive West Coast outpost on Saturday.
Rei Kawakubo and partner Adrian Joffe are expanding DSM's footprint, which otherwise includes locations in London, New York, Ginza, Singapore and Beijing. The latest concept brings LA a rare source of carefully curated capital-F Fashion, mixed with streetwear and sportswear offerings that will feel right at home — all in a beautifully designed, 15,000-square-foot space in a still-desolate stretch of the rapidly changing Arts District section of Downtown LA.
Some compare the area, filled with warehouses and separated from the heart of Downtown by Skid Row (the epicenter of LA's significant homeless population), to New York's Meatpacking District when meat was actually packed there; Kawakubo and Joffe, who like to open up shop in off-the-beaten-path areas, are getting in somewhat early. They're renting three connected single-level concrete buildings (two are retail space while one houses an office) that are a bit removed from the neighborhood's hip stores and restaurants like Bestia, Acne Studios and The Row DtLA, which is home to boutiques like Bodega and LCD; the Arts District was also the setting for last year's Louis Vuitton X Supreme pop-up. The opening of DSM is likely a signal of more gentrification, and high-end retail, to come.
Unsurprisingly, DSMLA is not a carbon copy of the New York store or any other location. Designed entirely by Kawakubo, who took inspiration from the "light and openness of Los Angeles," it's filled with exclusive shop-in-shops, installations and products, many of which will constantly rotate.
NikeLab, Noah and Palace all opened their first-ever West Coast retail presences within DSMLA. The store also houses the first Braindead, Doublet, Marine Serre and Melitta Baumeister shop-in-shops in the world. DSM commissioned a number of streetwear brands to create exclusive "Welcome to LA" merch, including Cactus Plant Flea Market, Online Ceramics, Palace and Stussy. Other brands with shop-in-shops, aside from several under the Comme des Garçons umbrella, include Gucci, Chanel fine jewelry, Jacquemus, Simone Rocha, Maison Margiela, Off-White, Raf Simons and Stephen Jones.
Among the LA-based artists who've created installations for the space is Eli Russell Linnetz, who's worked with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga; he also created special product with Nike that got its own little space in the store. There's also a special installation for the Pat McGrath Labs X The Met collaboration.
Interspersed throughout are multi-brand sections for womenswear, menswear, jewelry, T-shirts and sneakers, all filled with the mix of luxury brands and buzzy up-and-comers that you'd expect at a DSM. There's also an outpost of the cafe Rose Bakery — the first one with an outdoor section.
From luxury shoppers, Kawakubo stans and fashion obsessives to hypebeasts and those who just want to pick up a classic Comme des Garçons Play tee, DSMLA truly has something for everyone — they'll just have to travel to a far and likely unfamiliar part of LA to get it. Though, luckily for Angelenos, there is plenty of parking.
See inside the space and its many installations and shop-in-shops in the gallery below.