An obsession is not always a bad thing. Keen collectors of avant-garde labels COMME des GARÇONS, Junya Watanabe, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Walter Van Beirendonck, Melbourne couple Holly-Rose Butler and Octavius La Rosa decided to turn their hobby into a burgeoning business venture.
Earlier this year, they launched online store dot.COMME, which stocks one-off vintage pieces of the Japanese and Belgium labels. “We traveled all around Europe last year for four and a half months – it was a big buying trip,” says Butler. “We were sourcing from collectors in Paris, Belgium and Milan mainly.”
Their impressive collection of the sought-after labels is one of the biggest online offerings of the brands. Pieces are predominately from the '80s and '90s and the couple makes sure to keep prices reasonable. Last year, La Rosa emailed Van Beirendonck to tell him that he was a huge fan of his work. Their friendship blossomed and the designer recommended them to Opening Ceremony, who invited the couple to curate a selection of their archival W< (the celebrated label Van Beirendonck designed for between 1993 and 1999) collection in the Opening Ceremony NYC and LA stores.
“Walter has been really lovely,” says Butler (the pair finally met Van Beirendonck in person at his Melbourne exhibition, Dream the World Awake in July). “So we’ve had opportunities to purchase directly from their company, which is really wonderful. We have a lot of the W<—we are calling it ‘deadstock’, new old stock with tags on—so really rare pieces.”
Their customers mainly come from New York, Paris and London, although Melbourne orders are on the rise. “People around our age – in their twenties – are discovering the label,” says Butler. “And they’re able to purchase something that was worth thousands of dollars, and is now at a much lower price point.”