WITH SO MANY RETAIL EXPERIENCES AVAILABLE OUT THERE; if you’re like us, you’ve become much more discriminating in your fashion shopping stops. A neoclassical building in the big apple in Midtown East Manhattan (160 Lexington Avenue at 30th Street) is already a pretty fancy affair, if only architecturally. But of course, there’s more.

Indeed, Rei Kawakubo has designed and launched her third (after London – hence the name – and Ginza) concept store in the aforementioned building. And it’s like nothing else. First, there’s a way to go through this shopping experience. You must take its single all glass elevator all the way to the seventh and top floor and work your way down either by taking the stairs from one floor to the next or the elevator if you’re accumulating bags of goodies. There’s something very Alice in wonderland about the whole concept. A dizzying, psychedelic and surreal experience like none other.

This New York version of the famous, cult status well-curated emporium of exceptional brands is the biggest of all three shops. And by exceptional we mean Sacai, Simone Rocha, Alexander Wang, Prada, Thom Browne and Saint Laurent, with some less uber-known brands but just as thrilling as Yang Li, Casely Hayford and Visvim, Andre Walker and 1205. Yup. But we haven’t written a line if we don’t mention the obvious; DSM carries all of the splendid Comme des Garçons collections, obvi.

While Kawakubo was responsible for most of the “look” including her main idea of using a humble and organic material, wood, as the predominant element of design in the shop (to contrast the sophisticated hustle and bustle of the city and even the building it was in), many of the store’s brands, such as Rick Owens, Moscot etc. were given carte blanche to design their own retail space. Pretty clever, if you ask us…

But that’s not all, many specially commissioned artworks, such as sound sculptures by Brooklyn artist Calx Vive to wall murals by Japanese artist Enomoto Koichi, are scattered throughout the space.

Finally, when you’ve reached down to your starting point, you’ll be glad to see the Rose Bakery spread around Magda Sayeg’s colourful column (which also runs through the store), waiting for you to indulge in its well deserved treats.

Not to be missed.

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