Retail guru Rei Kawakubo will soon add some serious flare to Kips Bay, as her brand, Comme de Garçons, has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet for the entire former Touro College building at 160 Lexington Avenue at 30th Street. The seven-story property, built in 1909, will be home to the New York Branch of the Dover Street Market, the bazaar-style retail concept that Kawakubo introduced in London almost a decade ago. Her style revolutionized retail by displaying art in her stores and hosting collaborations with high-end to mid-level clothing brands.
This stretch of Kips Bay, where the Dover Street Market will open, abuts what is commonly considered as “Curry Hill.” With a host of Indian cuisine, sari shops and local pubs, there are no comparable retailers in the neighborhood. However, venturing into uncharted territory is a familiar feat for Kawakubo. She opened her boutique in SoHo in 1983, when it was mainly an industrial neighborhood, and then moved to the far west side of Chelsea, where she opened the Comme des Garçons store in 1999.