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09zJPCRITICAL1-superJumboRight on cue, today's Thursday Styles has the Critical Shopper take on the extravagant Comme des Garçons Dover Street Market multi-brand complex that opened last month near absolutely nothing in Murray Hill. It is the male ocunterpart Jon Caramanica who takes on this task, but gender hardly matters at the store which mixes men's and women's lines randomly throughout the store. Our shopper sees it as a Wonderland for those New Yorkers, native or not, whose aesthetic proclivities might find them disenfranchised elsewhere, represented in microcosm by the staff, which "— uniformly beautiful, uniformly friendly — suggested the population of Rei’s Ark after rescuing everyone living at fashion’s edges: chipper kids in beat-up Rick Owens next to neo-organicists in Visvim next to willowy things in Demeulemeester dresses, all huddled for warmth." Like Alice's Wonderland, however, there are pitfalls along the trails.

On the days I visited, around the recent snowstorm, the place was filled with tourists, so it’s no wonder half the floors feature what essentially boils down to a Comme des Garçons gift shop. This is the gauche shadow cutting across Dover Street: the PLAY Comme des Garçons Converse sneakers with those now-unbearable hearts, or any number of goofy wallets, or the distractingly pajama-like offerings from Comme des Garçons Shirt.

His tip is to avoid the tourists and their designated merch, and instead watch for the adventurously styled locals who have come to pay tribute to patron saint Rei Kawakubo. That's where the show is, and if you happen to be one of them, you will immediately find yourself at home.

Critical Shopper: Inside With the Outsiders By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Dover Street Market New York 160 Lexington Avenue at 30th Street, Murray Hill/Kips Bay
Auspicious Arrival: Dover Street Market Opens With An Eclectic Splash


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