Opening Ceremony’s Blue Jean-ious
Fashion rule of thumb: Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Take the denim in Opening Ceremony’s Spring 2009 collection, for example. From high-waisted shorts and faded stovepipes to a sleeveless jean jacket—everything is made out of indigo-dyed jersey or sweatshirt knits. Not that you’d guess by eyeballing the stuff. What inspired Opening Ceremony impresarios Humberto Leon and Carol Lim to create these ingenious sweat-jean mash-ups? A reasonable person might assume the thinking went something like this: “Eureka! Let’s combine the all-American style of a blue jean with the mushy comfort of sweats. We’ll be millionaires!” But that reasonable person would be wrong. “[We] came up with this interpretive story about an American guy who falls in love with a Japanese girl,” explains Leon. “[He] comes to find out that she’s involved with these odd Japanese subcultures, each with its own particular aesthetic that we then tried to hybridize and crossbreed.” And how does that get you to sweat-jeans? “In Japan, there’s a kind of fetish for Americana running through the culture,” elaborates Leon. “That’s especially true with denim. It was natural for us to pick up on it.” One of the ways he and Lim found to synthesize Japanese street style was by putting a body-conscious spin on erstwhile girly or grungy looks—hence the stretchy “denim,” and hence, as well, the collection’s emphasis on sexy riffs on gingham check and ruffles. “If I had to boil down the Opening Ceremony approach to design,” Leon says, “I guess I’d say we like to take something pure and make it un-pure.” Sounds simple. But of course it’s not.