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Aspirational Shopping: What's New This Fall at Dover Street Market

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One can't just drop in for a browse in London's art and fashion emporium Dover Street Market. It'll take a good hour (and a serious spending account) to make one's way through the overwhelming (but in a good way) six-floor art and retail extravaganza that is the brainchild of Rei Kawakubo.

The Commes des Garçons designer and cutting-edge tastemaker brought basically every who's-who in covetable high-end fashion and design together under one expansive roof this season. We're talking Band of Outsiders, Christopher Kane, Ann Demeulemeester, Celine, Nicholas Kirkwood, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Lanvin, even Monocle—we could go on, but our heads might explode. The list is so exhaustive that immaculately coiffed and dressed staffers will hand you a store directory and floor guide upon arrival.

We have to mention the "concept" welcoming guests entering the store. On this occasion, Dover Street Market goes all goth meets National Geographic with vintage pieces like a croc skull (yes, we said skull, not purse) circa 1900 for a mere $2800 and some change.

On the ground floor, shoppers will also notice the innovative and creative dressing units. By innovative and creative, we're talking about the bright red port-o-potties scattered throughout the floors. On this floor, we also found the only wallet friendly item in the store: candy-colored Dover Street Market T-shirts straight out of a vending machine (love that) for £25 (approximately US$40).

The rest of the floors held a veritable mix of drool-worthy apparel (even one of our not-so-interested-in-fashion male friends stopped to admire the structure of an Azzedine Alaïa skin-tight lace mini-dress) and the sickest collection of shoes we've ever seen. Amongst Lanvin, Givenchy, Giambattista Valli, YSL, Alaïa, signature Nicholas Kirkwood and more, we even found a couple pairs of the Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte melted-wax heel shooties (yes, of the sleepwalking-themed debacle).

Adding more eclecticism, Monocle provides a corner of curated items like stationary, wooden block desk pieces and fragrances on the second floor (that's third floor in American). For those feeling a bit of retail fatigue and are in need of sustenance, the Rose Bakery offers Anglo-French eats and, of course, afternoon tea.

After making our way through the ambitious and very comprehensive retail experience (we can't really call it a department store, that just doesn't do it justice), we felt a bit overwhelmed, but totally inspired by the dreamy pieces we just saw. Then we came to our senses and prudently walked that inspiration up to Topshop on Oxford Street to find some items that we could actually afford to purchase.
· Dover Street Market [Official Site]