For four years, Holly-Rose Butler and her partner Octavius la Rosa (or “Otto” as he’s more commonly known) have run dot Comme as an online store from their space in the Nicholas Building.
Now the duo is opening the boutique’s first physical store, in Curtin House on Swanston Street.
dot Comme makes what’s buried in wardrobes in Tokyo accessible from every bedroom. It sources and sells an archive of Japanese and Belgian fashion from Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Junya Wanatabe and Bernhard Willhelm to the world. Butler and la Rosa sell mostly to customers in New York, London and Paris. Buyers range from personal collectors to museum curators.
The duo is now focusing on getting Melbourne customers hooked on their ethos: “sick of easy fashion” (a quote by designer Walter van Beirendonck). To them, that means experimenting with different shapes, colours and patterns through the stable of designers who challenged the fashion establishment in the ’80s.
The Curtin House store will be stocked with more-accessible, less-expensive pieces, which Butler says work well with Australian fashion labels. The online store will continue to showcase the more-complex and rare items.
While there are older ladies who have been wearing labels such as Comme des Garcons their entire lives, Butler and la Rosa are seeing the enthusiasm spread to younger generations.
“We’ve had customers as young as 11,” Butler says. “It’s nice to inspire younger generations to collect and invest in these brands, because a lot of the pieces actually go up in value. If you hold onto them for long enough, and you take care of them, you can make money from them. They’re pretty much artworks."
dot Comme will open at Level 3 at Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne in early March.