This is just me, hanging out with Humberto Leon, Carol Lim of Opening Ceremony, Chloë Sevigny and Henry Holland - ya know - maxing and relaxing. We weren't shooting the breeze talking about rem…. wanderlust and irony (you don't know how hard it was to resist asking Ms. Sevigny about those videos). I along with Henry were there to moderate a Q&A with Humberto, Carol and Chloë to celebrate the official opening of the official Opening Ceremony London store.
Photograph by Harry Carr for Opening Ceremony
They went all out with a big shebang that involved lobster noodles at a cheesy Chinatown restaurant, mariachi dancers and hula hoop girls last time when they opened up their pop-up store on King Street. Now the dust has settled a bit, they bring us their bigger, better-laid-out and more importantly PROPER store down the road on 35 King Street. It feels proper because of the amount of stock that's there and the fact that it's so open-plan. It currently occupies one floor but there are plans to expand into the basement. With the selection of brands, they've made a point of stocking all the stuff that we can't get out mitts on and not doubling up on brands that are already well-represented in London (no J.W. Anderson, Christopher Kane, Proenza Schouler etc…) but plenty of the stuff that I personally love. In particular their Korean label section with labels like Kaal E Suktae, Kye and Steve J & Yoni P is really strong. There's the expected lot of Kenzo, Opening Ceremony own brand line and a few of their collabs too but as you can read on the brand list on the mirror below, there are a lot of unfamiliar labels for even the most hardcore of fash kids to discover. Like I said, OC is always a place of discovery for me, making me feel like I haven't done my job properly because I always find something to go home and research about.
As for the Q&A itself, the guys were pros at talking about their beginnings, their friendship and their collaborations. The key point to take away is that whilst Carol and Humberto had no formal experience of retailing, they always approached the look and feel of the store and the buy as a consumer. They are consummate shoppers and have an eye for truffling out treasure and ever keen to want to bring that sense of newness to Opening Ceremony, hence why they excitedly shop in their own stores, rifling through the racks after hours. Chloë is a genuine diehard supporter of the store and what they do. She was showing her support by wearing a Kenzo suit and an embellished vintage beret (apparently she has a thing for decorated berets). With regards to her collaboration with Opening Ceremony, she regularly takes inspiration from the streets, observing life in her nearby Tompkins Square Park as well as working with the duo to eke out ideas from her collaged sketches (which I'd love to see). As for the other collaborations that Opening Ceremony do, I did ask whether Humberto and Carol had any dream collabs in mind. They've pretty much nailed some of them already but Humberto threw out a few wish list ideas like Esprit, Benetton and Fiorucci - brands of yesteryear that were brilliant at one point and could do with an update. If anyone can make it happen, those guys can. A little-known fact? They had a few lame name choices in the hat before the store was officially christened Opening Ceremony. Imagine Passport as a store name? Nah…
I did a spot of shopping myself as you can see from my Cher a la Clueless laden-with-bags shot. I naturally veered towards anything with a fuzzy texture. I think I was sub consciously going for the look of a Care Bear as I picked up a faux fur skirted Fleamadonna dress and a sweatshirt with monster sleeves and a fleecy back by New York reworked vintage label Reborn Process. I'm wearing the sweatshirt on the flight to San Francisco today as we speak and yes, I will in fact be rubbing by arms needlessly.
Worn with J.W. Anderson skirt
May I belatedly I mention that I had the MOST fun in a LONG time at the Opening Ceremony 10 Year Anniversary Party back in New York during fashion week. I have no preconception of all the various legendary NY club nights that the party referenced and had condensed into one mahussive Webster Hall but I definitely got a taste of some of them thanks to OC. The best thing about it? That it wasn't like a fashion party at all. People actually danced. They didn't shuffle around meekly with their drinks. Talking to strangers didn't involve awkward small talk. Oh and in every party picture of me there's a broad smile that was completely dance-induced.