Opening Ceremony

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Opening Ceremony
Founded 2002
Founder(s) Carol Lim and Humberto Leon
Headquarters USA


New York

Opening Ceremony is a multifaceted environment comprised of retail spaces, showroom, and gallery that establishes a new international creative forum in downtown Manhattan. Opening Ceremony brings together emerging American talent with both young and established designers and artists from abroad. Each year, the unique commercial and cultural character of a visiting city is represented at Opening Ceremony by capturing the essence of the consumer experience. Opening Ceremony recreates a shopping excursion based on four different perspectives--established designer (designers that best exemplify the country), emerging designer, one of a kind vintage pieces and select items from the open-air markets.

Opening Ceremony appropriates the mission statement of the modern day Olympics from the founder, Baron Pierre de Coubertin. In 1896, he transformed what the Greeks had created into a modern day business venture. The Olympics were founded under the guise of creatively merging sports, business, and global participation. Opening Ceremony takes from this foundation and applies these elements towards fashion. Beginning with USA vs. Hong Kong in Fall 2002, each year Opening Ceremony has introduced a new country to its home team. Following Hong Kong, Opening Ceremony represented Brazil (2003), Germany (2004), United Kingdom with an exclusive launch of infamous London-based retailer Topshop and Topman in 2005, Sweden in 2007, and New York vs. Los Angeles in 2007 as well. Currently, USA vs. Japan (2008) embarks on a collaboration with POSTALCO, Japan’s premiere stationary, and will house the first ever “Opening Ceremony presents Middle Space / Comme des Garcons shop”. Opening Ceremony collaborated with the iconic Japanese toy maker, Sanrio, on “Opening Ceremony Loves Sanrio”. To highlight this collaboration, Sanrio shopping stations and vending machines will pop up in the New York and Los Angeles boutiques.

Opening Ceremony currently features Proenza Schouler (US), Rachel Comey (US), Mary Ping (US), Rodarte (US), Alexandre Herchcovitch (Brazil), Lutz (Germany), Schiesser Revival (Germany), Pulver (Germany), BLESS (Germany), Hussein Chalayan (UK), Marios Schwab (UK), Topshop (UK), Vlas Blomme (Japan), Whereabouts (Japan) and many more established and young designers.

In Spring 2008, Opening Ceremony launched an ongoing design collaboration with the actress and style icon, Chloë Sevigny. Inspired by nostalgia for her early days in New York, high school thrift store finds, and music by Depeche Mode and the Slits, the line featured body-conscious gingham check skirts, mesh jersey party dresses, and floral prints from the renowned textile maker, Liberty’s of London. In Fall 2009, Chloë Sevigny will continue her collaboration with Opening Ceremony by designing a line of her favorite menswear pieces.

Collaborative design has been a key aspect of Opening Ceremony’s retail philosophy. Joint projects have included a special line of Opening Ceremony for Tretorn sneakers, a re-launch of classic 80s styles from seminal surf brand Maui and Sons, an 8.8.08 Olympic celebration and limited edition merchandise with Nike, American-made Red Wing shoes (previously offered in Japan only), exclusive stationary from POSTALCO, and the first ever co-branding project with Stetson.


Opening Ceremony Tokyo is an 8-level conceptual department store located in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. As Opening Ceremony’s first venture outside of the United States, the concept of the Tokyo store expands on an idea initiated last year in Opening Ceremony LA: the boutique as a "mini mall". Opening Ceremony collaborates with designers to create designated brand shops within the store, identifying the aesthetic of the brand within the greater Opening Ceremony environment. Among the designers and vendors participating are Alexander Wang, Other Music, Nom de Guerre, Boy/Band of Outsiders, Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, Pendleton, Heath Ceramics and The Row. In this respect, Opening Ceremony Tokyo can be seen as a total overhaul of the classic department store as each floor will feature a different theme with unique merchandising. New York and Americana figure highly on all floors: parks, roof-top decks, classic American homes, Victorian architecture, Santa Fe and Southwestern American craft, Native American designs, and a surreal office setting are among the numerous and varied design details incorporated into the space.

Los Angeles

Opening Ceremony opened its Los Angeles location in April of 2007 in the former dance studio space of Hollywood icon, Charlie Chaplin. The 10,000 square foot boutique, located in West Hollywood, is the second shop operated by Opening Ceremony founders Carol Lim and Humberto Leon. Featuring a sprawling space of hallways and separate rooms, the shop’s inspiration stems from the experience of driving the L.A. freeways. Also featured is a new concept of boutique shopping: Branded shop-in-shop’s within Opening Ceremony L.A.’s second-floor “Mini-Mall.” Individual brands have created their own atmosphere and individual retail environments. Designers participating include Acne, Nom de Guerre, Mayle, Topshop, Exquisite Costume, Schiesser Revival, DAP Art Books, Other Music, BOY, Band of Outsiders, and Opening Ceremony’s own private label collection. The additional 6,000 square feet of retail shopping space parallels each label’s particular aesthetic and overall brand image using furniture, fixtures, wall decorations, and color schemes in each designer’s likeness. The key objective was to create individual “shops” for each designer, as if they were to open their own freestanding stores, but to combine them in an environment represented by Opening Ceremony.



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