NEW YORK -- Opening Ceremony's premiere runway show was easily the most memorable and star-studded event of the week so far, and also gave the fashion flock a pretty good idea of what a New York Fashion Week based at SuperPier 25 here might very well look like.
The inspiration: In the show notes, designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim called their first-ever Opening Ceremony runway show (a distinction worth making since the duo also serve as co-creative directors of Kenzo) "a love letter to New York, where our company was born, a tribute to Carol's Korean background and to the street racing culture from our suburban Los Angeles adolescence."
The look: Beyond the dozen sports cars that roared out onto the runway at the start of the show, street-racing references could be seen in straps, belts and buckles that resembled the safety harnesses and seat belts found in race cars, as well as a humorous zigzag pattern that riffed on tire tread designs.
Many of these elements were paired with riffs on traditional Korean garments -- magoja (longer jackets) and jeogori (short jackets) and the baggy style of pants called baji in a range of fabrications -- including neoprene, which gave some garments a stiff, structured feel.
The collection was chock-full of colors and patterns, including the black-and-white checkerboard pattern inspired by racing flags and trippy blue-and-red optical patterns on skirts, and wave prints, daisy prints and stylized landscapes.
The scene: Where else -- short of an awards show -- are you likely to find an eclectic mix of celebrities that includes Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and, wait for it, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann?
Afterward, guests mingled among metal shipping containers repurposed as retail kiosks and food stands (think wheel-less food trucks) under strings of lights that gave the place a festive feeling that designer/actor/man-about-Manhattan Waris Ahluwalia described spot-on as "urban county fair."
The verdict: The show seemed to stretch on as long as the pier, and the men's collection, tacked on all at once at the end seemed like an afterthought, but those are small points that shouldn't overshadow the bigger takeaway that Leon and Lim have fully transformed Opening Ceremony from niche retailer to something much, much more.
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