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23 Wall Street is a very precise address. It marks the catty-corner location across from the New York Stock Exchange, and it now marks the home to one of New York Fashion Week’s hottest shows. Anxious on its steps last week were clads of under, over, and uniquely dressed guests. After making way through the building’s main entrance, two things were noticeable. Outside, a long stretch of Wall Street was completely barricaded off—but on the inside, it was very different. Opening Ceremony’s (OC) spring/summer 2016 show space was fashionably, and architecturally, a dream home. And just before entering this dream home, a small mini bar, served sparkling wine—because a personal Freixenet cava bottle with a cardboard straw would, most likely, greet you at the front door.
To say that Humberto Leon and Carol Lim have been “cool” with the direction of OC for the past 13 years is a bold understatement. They’ve traveled around the world to Argentine craft workshops, Paris flea markets, Swedish furniture studios, and Japanese silk mills all in search of cutting-edge cultural movements. Ultimately, souvenirs from around the world became imaginative thoughts as to what a “dream house” could be like—and they contemplated on who would be the architect of said house. After deciding upon Frank Lloyd Wright for his architectural prowess, OC had a live garden set to symbolize the harmonization between a dream home and its natural surroundings.
There were enormous stained glass pieces hanging, acting as lampshades, serving as backdrops, and illuminating from their spots. Potted plants congregated in large circles—a concept based off of Wright’s undeveloped housing project plan in Pittsfield, Mass. dating back to 1942—and large, tiled beams separated the room into lines of chairs, creating a walkway, danceway, and runway.
As the show began to start, dark violin and sharp beats began to take over the room’s conversations, as a one-of-a-kind mix by OC’s long-time pal, and Fade to Mind’s producer, Kingdom, began. There were heavy classical components to the mix, and little did the audience know, the models darting down the runway were actually professional dancers from the New York City Ballet—ready to show off the new collection to the beat of a drum.
One by one, looks went by, but the dancers began to physically drop like flies. Flashes of oversized sunglasses from Gentle Monster would jot by, but down they went, and back up again. Pom-pom tops, panel tanks, shift dresses, and u-neck jumpsuits all went by in a variety of colors and materials, and again, at each sharp note, a model would dramatically fall.
When she got back up though, it was unclear as to whether this accident was a fumble or a fete. At first, the mystery continued along with the dramatic scores, but evidence proved itself after each choreographed surprise arose.
None of this took away from OC’s newest looks, however, like kimono coats and t-shirts embroidered with bonsai trees. Basket weave dresses, twill cargo pants and twisted bandeau tops were the main attraction. Dropped drawstrings, panels, pleats, and origami folds were present throughout the collection, and they beckoned deserving attention.
At the end of the show, models danced fluidly together, presenting a graceful, modern piece choreographed by Justin Peck. As each look took on new form, the dancers’ outstretched movements enunciated the fluidity of the clothing’s designs.
To add to the feel-good vibe of OC’s stellar show, Leon & Lim donated a large section of it to Edible Schoolyard NYC—a nonprofit that develops gardens and kitchen classrooms in public schools. “Like a well-made garment or a piece of heirloom furniture, this part of our show will inspire joy for years to come,” they said.