“Tachiagari” and “Kachikan”

Although I love the option of on-line buying, I prefer the experience of walking into a brick and mortar. Because of the role my clothing plays in the performance of my life, part of that is the actual experience of going into a beautifully designed space and “being” with clothes and interacting with the people who make and sell them. I think because of my training and interest in qualitative research or research that emphasizes the importance of looking at variables in the natural setting in which they are found, my desire to learn more about fashion means going into the spaces where it is played.

Just as the impetus for design starts with the CDG “kachikan” (value) of creating something different, the question that the duo also must answer in order to balance the art and commerce mandate is “how can we sell in a new way?” The first response to this question was the advent in 2004 of the guerilla store, or the first of what is now known as “pop-up” stores.  As a way of moving “dead” stock, the brand offered fans in cities where there were no existing CDG stores, the opportunity to open a store for a period of one year. They could not spend more than $2,000 and the shop could not be run by persons in the fashion business. When the concept was no longer unique CDG stopped doing it.

The next evolution was the incredible Dover Street Markets. Inspired by Kawakubo’s love of bazaars and an inspirational vision of “beautiful chaos”, the Dover Street Markets are a living bricolage (construction or creation from a diverse range of available things) of layers, textures, installations, tiny stores within stores and the experience of walking in is akin to falling down the rabbit hole. The clothing is mixed up, men’s with women’s.  Parfumes appear next to sneakers and there are a mix of CDG lines, luxury designers like Jil Sander and Louis Vuitton and streetwear lines like Supreme. Each designer can create their unique space and has no idea what another designer or Rei herself might envision and create. Kawakubo designs the overarching interiors and Joffe decides the mix of designers. The result: exactly as intended, “beautiful chaos”.

The New York Dover Market, a frequent haunt, is located in the most unlikely place for a clothing store in a small neighborhood characterized primarily by Indian restaurants and nowhere near where any upscale clothing is sold. Prior to last Tuesday the Market had incredible sales of up to 70% off (for those of you who think you cannot afford) and now is closed until Saturday for the bi-annual “tachiagari”, or renewal for the Spring. During this time there is destruction and reconstruction and a mix of new and old designers are asked to have a vision and something to say in the way they design spaces and installations to showcase new collections. I really love the idea of shutting down twice a year for “creative destruction”, reinvention and renewal.

So rather than show you too many photos here, a future post will show the results of this season’s tachiagari. But…here is Louis Vuitton’s vision of the Iconoclast collection with the guest of honor being “The Bag With Holes”, my Christmas present! Since my mandate from Rei is always do something new, my “Bag With Holes” has been also used to play peek-a-boo with my glorious granddaughter!

If I did have a “tachiagari” for Accidental Icon two times a year what would you like to see when I return?