Urban warfare, Comme des Garcons style, continues in Athens with new Guerrilla Store

The tiny logo sticker by the nondescript entrance opens the door to a world of high intellectual style – just ring the bell. Urban fashion warfare continues in Athens as the city’s second Guerrilla Store by Comme des Garcons opened in commercially active Kolonaki last month. This second «occupation» (the term coined by the Japanese fashion house), follows the first one at the downtown Bios center last year. Established by Rei Kawakubo in Tokyo in the early 1970s, Comme des Garcons belongs to a select group of global, trendsetting fashion industry leaders, as opposed to followers. Based on deconstruction, plenty of black – without discarding flashes of exuberant color – and silhouette innovation, Comme des Garcons’ signature looks are often defined as conceptual. For Kawakubo, fashion serves as a platform for experimentation and exploration. The idea for the Guerrilla Stores occurred to the Japanese designer sometime in 2004 as a form of alternative shopping experience. Short-lived (a maximum of one year is authorized for every occupation), emerging in unexpected places and without counting on advertising, the outlets are a sharp contrast to Comme des Garcons boutiques worldwide where meticulous attention is paid to every single detail. Stretching from Hong Kong to Singapore and Reykjavik, the stores have proved a tremendous success. Besides Athens, the fashion fight is currently on in Beirut, while outlets recently disappeared in The Hague and Cracow. Stores are expected to open in Warsaw and Miami – the latter marking the first time the Comme guerrilla concept travels across the Atlantic. A store is also scheduled to open in Dusseldorf, as part of an exhibition at the city’s modern art museum. Meanwhile in Kolonaki, the 150-square-meter warehouse space has conserved its previous, untidy character, with various installations acting as counters and dressing rooms. The man behind the local Guerrilla Comme des Garcons campaign is Dimitris Papadopoulos. With a career in retail, Papadopoulos came under the Comme des Garcons spell after viewing a collection in 1997. For this second Guerrilla venture, Papadopoulos traveled to Paris, handpicking a number of exceptional pieces from the early period of Junya Watanabe (originally a Kawakubo protege, the designer now works under his own name for Comme des Garcons), as well as Comme des Garcons circa 1999. Catering to a rather broad, 20- to 70-year-old clientele, the Kolonaki store showcases vintage as well as recent apparel and accessories. Besides collectible pieces (accompanied by visual material demonstrating how each item was presented on various catwalk shows), the outlet has a constant flow of merchandise. The entire gamut of Commes des Garcons perfumes is available here, with the brand-new Luxe collection on its way too. Also on display are pieces from the Play line, a Comme des Garcons collaboration with New York-based artist Filip Pagowski; polo shirts from a collection co-produced by Watanabe and Lacoste together with Comme des Garcons wallets and footwear. In the words of its creators: «Style is a revolution, a way of life, a state of beautiful anarchy – spread the word – leave your mark – join the guerrilla.» For more information go to