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    In the industrial heart of downtown Los Angeles on the border of Chinatown sits the studio where the simple yet elegant bags of Building Block are designed. The studio is in a charming, 100-year-old building once owned by the Pacific Railroad Company. In the '70s, it became the Los Angeles Woman's building, a nonprofit space at the center of the feminist movement. Now, the space houses the studio where sisters Nancy and Kimberly Wu work alongside the designers of Iko Iko, amid large open spaces and lots of light.

    Shop Building Block here

    HEIDI GAUDET: Wow! This space is beautiful. How long have you guys been here?
    NANCY WU: Two months. It's an unconventional space; you have to find it then climb up the weird stairs. We like that about it. We are trying to turn it into more of an event space. We have an old safe [that] we want to empty out and turn into a gallery space. It's a little creepy.

    Where was your studio before this?
    KIMBERLY WU: For a while we were living and working in the same space—the two of us—[and] we needed to separate it.
    NW: We share the space with Shin Okuda and Kristin Dickson-Okuda. Shin makes the furniture for WAKA WAKA, and Kristin designs clothing under the name Rowena Sartin, and they created Iko Iko.
    KW: When you work with a third party, it's nice to have that dialogue of what you're creating, so we share a lot of the same inspiration with them and it's not competitive.
    NW: We have a similar way of thinking and a similar way of designing.

    How did Building Block come about?
    NW: Prior to starting Building Block, Kim and I were working corporate jobs. I was working with Nike in Portland designing footwear, and she was at Honda designing concept cars in Tokyo. We studied industrial design and that got a little tired creatively; we weren't able to express what we wanted to do at the end of the day. But, we always wanted to do something together as sisters. Kim started making bags on the side of her job. She would go to Tokyu Hands and collect materials and put them together. She had a blog when she was in Japan just for family and friends to see what she was doing. She had posted pictures of the bags and then public people started following her and got excited, asking if she had made the bags.
    KW: It took off naturally. At first it was personal, like, "What is something I want to make for myself?" It started from a selfish need, and then [I found] other people wanted it, too.
    NW: I think we are growing really tired of fast fashion and feeding trends. We wanted to create something simple, classic, and basic in not such a fast turn around, so we came up with Building Block. Basically, the idea is going back to paring down your wardrobe. Simple is the best; basic is the most reliable. Once [the bags] got big in Japan, we started to produce them. [Kim] was like, "Join forces with me." And we quit our jobs and moved back to LA.
    NW: When we came up with Building Block, we wanted it to encompass a philosophy or idea of starting from basics and building from there.
    KW: The actual definition means being a part of the whole. it gives us room the expand on an idea.

    What's the process like?
    NW: We introduce core styles, then reinterpret [them] into other colors seeing what works, what doesn't work. Now we are focusing more on our utility stuff; it's like trial and error. We also want to expand on the idea of utility and what's behind that. Function comes first. The backpack has the front that comes off and turns into a fanny pack.

    Do you have a speci

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    “Yves Saint Laurent lived for women,” said Pierre Niney, the French actor who plays the unbearably shy, gay, puritan-turned-partier and spiraling genius that was Yves Saint Laurent. The term prodigy gets thrown around a lot, but Yves was exactly that, a design prodigy, so-called fashion’s “Little Prince” who redefined what women could wear, and therefore who they could be, throwing out the soft, flowery, structured dresses of Dior’s 1950s woman (Charlotte Le Bon) for the cool, angular slacks of the liberated 1960s woman (Marie de Villepin). The clothes, originals from the YSL archive, are the heart of the film: green fox fur, Moroccan-inspired headpieces, the iconic Mondrian dress. Swoon.

    We talked to Pierre Niney about what it was like to play the sensitive bundle of nerves and charm that was YSL, and whether you can ever leave a role like that behind. Plus, check out our exclusive preview clip below in which Yves and his lifelong love and business partner, Pierre Bergé (the one cool-headed character in Laurent’s life) decide to start the legendary line.

    AUSTEN ROSENFELD: Can you tell me about your preparation for the role of YSL?
    PIERRE NINEY: I didn’t know that much about Yves Saint Laurent before I started my preparation. I was familiar with his silhouette, his glasses, and a certain idea of the perfection on his work. But nothing more. Therefore, I really needed the five months of preparation with three different coaches, which allowed me to learn and deeply understand him and his life. I worked with a drawing coach to be able to draw for real on the movie, [to] get as close as possible to his style. A physical trainer, to do a proper evolution of the body through the film, and a stylist. I watched and read everything I could about him and his life, and I listened to his voice for more than three hours everyday. And, I had a priceless and rare access to the archives, dresses, and places, thanks to the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent. I met his closest co-workers and friends to see and understand the public persona, as well as the person he was behind closed doors.

    What’s your own relationship to fashion?
    I didn't know much about fashion before the five months of preparation I did for the part. I went to some fashion shows for my last movie, It Boy, where my character was having a love affair with a fashion journalist, but nothing more. Now, after five months of daily work with a stylist, observing how a fashion house runs, having gone backstage on various fashion shows and having intensively studied the archives, my outlook has changed significantly. When I see a dress, I realize the inspiration, the craftsmanship, and the patience gone into the creation. I am not a fashion addict, though. I like quality of course. And, I like to mix styles and items. A haute couture jacket and a good pair of sneakers, for example!

    In your opinion, what caused YSL to shift to the world of partying and self-destruction? Do you think great artists always have a dark side?
    He wanted to feel alive. He was scared of being bored. And, danger was to some point synonymous [with] emotions and strong feelings for him. What you discover in the movie is the fact that he was diagnosed manic-depressive at the age of 22. That also explain this lack of balance and maybe why he delved so far into self-destruction, drugs, medicine, and sex addictions.

    I personally don't think an artist necessarily has to be desperate to create. Happy creative people exist, of course. But, there is a strong link between pain and creation, for sure. To me, it's because ma

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    Supply and demand is a tricky thing. Our series, GOING, GOING, is your siren call to OC's most covetable items that are flying off our shelves at lighting speed!

    Designers Ek Thongprasert and Noon Passama never fail to amaze us with their elegant, statement-making jewels in innovative materials. A prime example is the Huntercombe Purple Crystal Necklace. Not your ordinary chandelier necklace, in lieu of precious metal, the designers opted to stud the neckline with crenulated silicone beading. Venturing further down, you'll find an overflow of cubic zirconia crystal cradled in violet-tinted silver, with a silver clasp at the back holding it all together. 

    Shop all Ek Thongprasert here
    Huntercombe Purple Crystal Necklace in green/purple

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    In Straight Trippin', OC friends and family share tidbits from their latest travels. This time around, OC contributor Fiona Duncan shares some photos from a recent trip to Barcelona. 

    Name: Fiona Duncan
    Occupation: Freelance writer, independent bookseller
    Travel destination: Barcelona
    Carry-on necessities: iPad, Aesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol (keeps your skin from pruning on the plane), gum
    Reading materials: American poet Eileen Myles’ The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art, the latest issue of 032c, the Prisons issue of CLOG, the e-flux journal iPad app, and Ben Lerner’s upcoming novel 10:04.
    Most over-played tracks on your iPhone this trip: I downloaded all these mixes that friends made on SoundCloud, like oooooayooooo’s “Womyn & Thongs 6” and Eckhaus Latta’s one for SAFE HOUSE USA. Listening to them is enough like being in their company to never feel lonely.
    Favorite outfit to travel in: Worn boy jeans (black or white), white T-shirt, Nike Flyknit sneakers. It’s an awesomely easy but gross outfit. The T-shirt I switched daily, but the jeans—by the end of the trip, the black ones had two new tears at the crotch, and the white ones revealed traces of what I’d eaten, drank, and rubbed up against.
    Highlight of your trip: Too many. The Sónar Music Festival was there. Drinking red vermouth at a tapas restaurant called Bormuth, too. Getting to know a new friend: my host, Leticia, a multilingual Canadian-Romanian living in Barcelona whom I met last year in New York. She was definitely the highlighter of the trip, though. She made everything extra vibrant.
    Souvenirs you brought back: An iPhone case from one of those tacky tourist traps (they’re everywhere in Barcelona; the city center is pretty much a giant, globalized strip mall). It’s holographic: a jean's fly unzips to reveal a literally-hot, like on fire, nude pin-up of a woman. Also brought back shoes—two pairs with nice leather. And a few extra pounds from the excellent food.

    A view from the lobby of The 5 Rooms hotel. I’ve visited a lot of boutique hotels and this one definitely topped among my favorites. The place is totally inconspicuous from the outside. There’s only the tiniest sign—like two business cards on the doorframe. I walked by the entrance five times before figuring my way in.
    A not-uncommon sight in Barcelona: overgrown balcony gardens.
    Lol at this tourist family
    At Barcelona’s Mercer Hotel, I accidentally ordered (from a Spanish menu) chocolate cake for breakfast

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    Soccer is just a sport, right? Not exactly. To many, soccer is considered an art form. It is the art of fluid body movements and delicate touches of the ball, all centered around a pristine canvas known as the pitch. And what would art be without out-of-the-box elements? 

    One of the more noticeable standouts of the 2014 World Cup are the artistic expressions of hairstyles from players of all 32 countries, as our friends at DIS have notedBut, let's take it a few steps further. This is not a one-time phenomenon, nor is it happenstance. The trend may be catching fire with audiences now, but let's go back to the 1994 FIFA World Cup, held right here in the US: There were no flashy cleats, and definitely none of those made-for-fans uniforms that scream, "Buy Me!" What you did find, was the marked foray into players rocking unique hairstyles in order to differentiate themselves. 

    Differentiation and distinction: Defining factors that give the eccentric hairstyle tradition in soccer its backbone. It not only gives players a chance to display what makes them unique, it puts a spotlight on their respective countries and cultural backgrounds.

    If you've ever attended a youth soccer tournament in America, you'll see how common it is for teams to bleach or color their hair, to sport fauxhawks and mohawks. As a 10-year-old, aspiring soccer player, I remember watching US National Team member Cobi Jones streak down the sidelines, his miniature dreadlocks flowing behind him as he diced through defenders. 

    Little did I know that one day, I would be playing next to him on the Los Angeles Galaxy with my own unique, evolving hairstyles. In my nine-year professional career, the identity I created through my hair allowed me to express myself on the field as a professional, and made me recognizable to the fans (the day I shaved my head, even my parents didn't recognize me from the stands). 

    My dad's side of the family is from Jamaica, so being half-Jamaican, I had always wanted to explore my roots. Exactly what roots, you ask? Yes, those would be the head-turning dreadlocks that are supposedly intrinsic to every Jamaican's head.

    My journey began with the torturous in-between stage, where my hair looked as if my barber had neglected me for months. (If you've ever tried growing your hair out, you feel my pain.) Fortunately, my teammate-slash-roommate was an inspiration. He had what I wanted: dreadlocks. As we left for practice every morning, I would be reminded as to why I was going through these confusing hair stages.

    Before making my dad—and Bob Marley—proud, I spent a couple of months rocking my version of the afro. The afro was a fan favorite; curious hands would always want to explore this majestic creature on my head. And, when my dreadlocks finally came into place, I felt accomplished. I had achieved a tradition sustained through soccer history as well as my own cultural background.

    As my soccer career continued, so did my hairstyles. From cornrows to the mohawk to the extremely plain, shaved head, I've been an active participant in the hairstyle culture that exists within soccer. In essence, this is why soccer is an art form—no two teams (or players) are alike. Each representative is infused with culturally different backgrounds, which

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    Sure, you can order a pommes-frites with curry ketchup and pronounce Dries Van Noten's name without a hitch. But can you really get by in Belgium? Our SLANG DICTIONARY will make sure of it.

    Don’t try this in France! In everyday French, baiser is a pretty damn vulgar term to describe the beautiful act of lovemaking. In Belgium, however, you shouldn’t freak out when a charming old grandmother requests une baise: all she wants is a little kiss on the cheek!

    Example sentence: Be a nice boy, give me a kiss on the cheek! / Sois un gentil garçon, donne-moi une baise!

    We'll be rolling out more Belgian slang throughout the month of June! Submit your own words to WEBSTORE@OPENINGCEREMONY.US with the subject line "Belgian Slang".  

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    Inspired by Dadaism’s imperfection and noncomformity to societal values, Christian Dada's clothes are pretty bang-up perfect. You see imperfection (in the shapes and cuts of the materials—think reimagined silhouettes), but Tokyo-based designer Masanori Morikawa also caters to a high-end sensibility, with abundant use of refined leather and delicate embroidery.

    Aesthetically, the collection aims to be as forward-thinking as it is punky and sporty. Take the Dragon Hand Embroidery Hand Dress (the evening number is given the novelty element of embroidered dragon hands), or in the case of the HIBISCUS SKULL SOUVENIR JACKET, which plays more for the side of sporty, only to be elevated by the use of silk.

    Shop all Christian Dada here

    Dragon Hand Embroidery Long Dress in black

    Hibiscus Skull Souvenir Jacket in black 
    Printed Turtle Neck Long-Sleeve T-Shirt in black 
    Daimon Embroidery Sweatshirt in white and Leather Motorcycle Skirt in black
    Dragon Embroidery Big Parka in white
    Gold Dragon Embroidery Trapeze Slacks in black 

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    In this interview from Tunica Magazine's third issue, photographer Charlie Engman, famous for his surreal collages and intimate, (sometimes) nude portraits of his mother, takes us inside his world. Shop the full issue of Tunica HERE!

    WINSLOW LAROCHE: I was excited to speak to you through Google for this conversation, but then I thought: "Would the new Instagram chat work better? How do you think your art is affected by the rapid ebbs and flows of the Internet? Do you think your connection with the Internet will change in 2014 or in the near future?

    CHARLIE ENGMAN: I have to admit, I have this weird feeling that I left the Internet a long time ago. Of course, like most people, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the web, but it's become much more of a library or slideshow than anything else; I graze like a cow. I think I'm as much affected by it as I am by seasonal depression or something like that. Right now, I can only see that ambivalence getting deeper in 2014, or maybe ambivalence isn't exactly the right word. But I definitely feel like it's more of a resource than anything else. It doesn't carry the weight that maybe it did when I first started adding my work to it. It's been normalized.

    So you are trying to be less affected by the Internet's scope? Also, do you believe in developing a personal brand?
    Yes, well, the whole branding question is a whole other ball game! It's not that I'm actively trying to be affected by the Internet, it's more that it's been normalized, like I said. I'm certainly affected by the things I read and see online, and the connections with people and institutions I make there, but it doesn't feel like it supersedes other forms of communication necessarily.

    But, about branding, do I agree or disagree with the artist and their brand mentality? It's funny, just this week I had a lengthy conversation with a commercial photo agent who represents some artists I really admire, and he asked me to boil my work down to three essential concerns. It was funny, because while I was initially put off by the question, I immediately had an answer. It was something I've really been reacting against lately, too, because commercial work all comes off the back of some kind of brand-able element. It's confusing and frustratingly egoistic territory. Everyone is interested in a lot of different things, so naturally the concept of branding seems unnecessarily limiting. But I guess it depends on your goals and priorities. And everyone has their patterns.

    Are most of your shoots collaborative works with the editor and art director or do you come in with something calculated and planned out to engage with? Where do you think your influence ends and begins with a shoot? What do you believe is the role of an artist's point of view when it comes to editorial photography?
    In my case, the majority of my editorial and even commercial shoots are collaborative, up to a point. But of course each project is its own project. My general approach isn't particularly calculated, so I usually try to approach projects from the inside out. It really ranges—sometimes a client will give me a storyboard and expect me to reproduce it, sometimes a client will present me a problem and ask me to find my own solution. I would like to believe the artist's point of view is the essential ingredient to editorial photography, but it's really a case-by-case scenario.

    John Baldessari's work revolved around communication, and I believe in that logic whole-heartedly, so I've been researching symbols lately and how humans digest them, consciously and subconsciously. What are some symbols that follow you and/

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    Weekend plans feeling light? This Sunday, MoMA PS1 will unveil Rockaway!, where Fort Tilden fans can celebrate the long-delayed reopening of their favorite no-lifeguard beach with a free public arts festival featuring work from heavy-hitting artists Adrian Villar Rojas and Janet Cardiff, a large-scale installation by Rockaway resident Patti Smith, a poetry reading by James Franco, and...kayaking! Plus, about a ten-minute bike ride away, at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, museum director Klaus Biesenbach will double dip with an additional group show in collab with the Honolulu Biennial, turning the spotlight on contemporary artists who helped rebuild the surf town, including Olaf Breuning, Ryan McNamara, Daniel Gordon, Lena Dunham's mom Laurie Simmons, and OC friend Tom Sachs.

    So, grab some beer-boiled peanuts from The Cookout and head out to the beach. But before you do, get your preview of the Surf Club show via Sachs, who gave us a first look at his forthcoming work. 

    This is what he had to say about "Tides at Rockaway Beach": 

    "The subject here is our mortality. The main image is of the lunar module, the device by which we first landed on another world. Through this gesture, we expand our understanding of our place in the universe. And, we begin the process of spreading our DNA throughout the galaxy. This colonial gesture is overlaid with a social security actuary chart that tells us how long we each shall live. For example, if you are a 30-year-old woman, you will live 50.25 more years. There is also a chart of high and low tides as they cycle at Rockaway beach. These waves travel 5,000 miles across the ocean to crash upon our shores. The waves and our lives are very short, but they all continue with the cycle of life. We are at the shores of the cosmic ocean. We have waded out just a little bit and the water seems inviting. If we don't destroy ourselves we will one day reach the stars." 

    Rockaway! runs from June 29 through September 1

    Rockaway Beach Surf Club
    302 Beach 87th St.
    Far Rockaway, NY 11693

    Fort Tilden Beach 
    169 Slate Rd. 
    New York, NY 11697

    "Tides at Rockaway Beach," 2014, KRINK enamel paint and synthetic polymer paint on latex, and on plywood. Photo courtesy of Tom Sachs 

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    Emoticons are finding their way into everything these days, from text messages to emails to... precious stones? That’s right. Nektar De Stagni's jewelry transforms perfect pearls into tiny magic disco balls, adding pavé crystals, emoticons, and gold spikes. Think '90s club culture meets Queen Elizabeth. The Bad Pearl Earrings are like the classic pearl’s evil twin, while the OC-exclusive Smiley Emoticon Ring, made with 14K gold, freshwater pearls, and black crystal, is what we imagine a mermaid might wear in the Internet era. Throw on a pair of iridescent earrings or a shiny ring or just deck yourself out like a raver princess :)

    Shop all Nektar de Stagni here

    Photo courtesy of Nektar De Stagni

    Exclusive Disco Dot Earrings in multicolor crystal
    Exclusive Disco Dot Ring in multicolor crystal 
    Exclusive Smiley Emoticon Ring in 14K vermeil/peridot
    Exclusive Smiley Face Earrings in 14K vermeil/amethyst 

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    Two weeks into our World Cup love affair, the games in Brazil have been nothing short of beautiful. This should be no surprise: in Brazil, futebol is an art form, and the Brazilian brand of the sport has a distinctly aesthetic ingredient. One place the beauty of "the beautiful game," as it's called, is particularly visible is street art tributes. Graffiti––grafite for Brazilians––is, like football, distinctly national. Decriminalized since 2009, Rio's graffiti murals are considered among the world's richest and most diverse.

    In the months leading up to the World Cup, street art in Brazil has become an outlet for political commentary. Take PAULO ITO's mural of a crying boy with nothing but a soccer ball to eat, which went viral earlier this spring. Meanwhile, during the past year, over a million people have taken to the streets in host cities like Rio, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Recife, to protest government corruption, forced removals of the poor, unsafe working conditions, and poor access to education, public transportation, and healthcare—all while FIFA expects to walk away with an estimated four billion dollars in revenue. In short, many in Brazil feel their “beautiful game” has been bought.

    At 16, I convinced my mom to let me go to Rio by myself for a month to train at the prestigious Zico Soccer Academy (ran by the legendary Brazilian attacking midfielder). While staying in safe neighborhood of Jardim Botânico, I traveled nearly an hour each day to training, passing lush natural beauty and beautiful beaches as well as the cities' hillsides filled with favela slums, home to 22 percent of the city’s population. Many, if not most, of the kids I played with at the Academy came from these areas, as have some of the Seleção’s (National Team’s) brightest of stars, from Ronaldinho to Roberto Carlos. The Seleção’s ability to create something out of nothing is what makes their brand of futebol distinct, full of ingenuity born out of a culture that, entrenched in real hardship, finds new opportunity––a Brazilian spirit of positivity.

    While some would argue the players and street art protesters like CRANIO and PAULO ITO are on different sides of this battle, the late great Sócrates––captain of Brazil at Spain ’82––seemed to suggest a more comprehensive approach, celebrating both the beautiful game and the beautiful struggle, saying, “Often I think what if we could one day direct this enthusiasm that we have for football also towards positive causes for humanity? For in the end, football and earth both have one thing in common: both are a ball.”

    Calen Carr is an eight-year MLS veteran for Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo. For daily World Cup 2014 coverage, follow his Instagram project FIFTYTOFOURTEEN

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    No summer is complete without a beach day, but just because you're hitting the waves doesn't mean you have to hit the sack immediately after. Plan an outing to go from beach to bar this summer and forget any sartorial conundrums; we've got the best suits, cover ups, and versatile shoes to keep your tanlines at a minimum, while still keeping to dress code. Bikinis pull double-duty as crop tops or peekaboo bras, so you can avoid any Princess Diaries beach shenanigans. Shoes slip on and off, so you can run from the promenade to the sandy shores. Best yet? All these looks are effortlessly chic when paired with a summer tan and beach waves.

    Toss everything you need for a beach day into Truss' SMALL RHOMBUS PATTERN MEDIUM TOTE BAG

    Wear Opening Ceremony's Calyx Bandeau Bikini as a suit during the day, crop top at night.

    Avoid tanlines with Kenzo's Flower Blocked Bandeau Bikini with a print adorable enough to peek out under sundresses.
    Prism's Strapless U-Bar Bandeau Top is the perfect statement bikini top for the day, and hides under dresses effortlessly.

    Chromat's Neoprene Tri Top is simple, modern, and would look great paired with any high-waisted skirt for a night out.

    Toss Kenzo's Ottoman Open Triangle Sleeveless Dress over your suit for a polished look with enough ventilation to dry off any lingering sea water.

    Kenzo's Jacquard Bicolor Wave Sleeveless Dress in deep ocean blue adds a flirty kick to a sweet cover-up.

    Kamali Kulture's 1/2" Striped Shift Belted Knee Dress is perfect for strolling the promenade until dusk.

    Pair Acne Studios' sea striped shorts with your cropped bikini tops for a chic, casual look.

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    All-black is so passé. From acid-yellow shades to flourescent green clutches, our latest favorites are bright, sunny, and perfect for a little pop. Wear one as a statement piece or all together for a psychedelic effect—what better way to show your pride for this week's festivities? 
    Clockwise from far left: Thierry Boutemy for OC Royal Collage Tabio Crew Socks and Royal Composition Tabio Crew Socks; illesteva LEONARD 2 BLUE SUNGLASSESLe Labo for Opening Ceremony Rose 25 Candle; Tabio Colorful Rib Striped Low Crew Socks in blue (online soon)Opening Ceremony WATER PRINT NEW ERA 59FIFTY HAT; Kenzo Fish Foundation print New Era 59Fifty HatLocal Supply KERMIT'S CLASSIC SUNGLASSESComme des Garcons Super Fluorescent Clutch Wallet; Tabio Tule Border Ankle Socks in emerald green (online soon); Opening Ceremony x Teva OC-Exclusive Universal Hurricane SandalsOpening Ceremony Cat-Eye Sunglasses; Opening Ceremony Aviator SunglassesOpening Ceremony Rock Print New Era 59Fifty Hat; Moschino iPhone 5 Case; Tabio Colorful Rib Striped Low Crew Socks in orange (online soon)Opening Ceremony Slip-On Platform Sneakers

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    “Just a lot of inspirations—I don’t like to tell of inspirations. The main one is the moment of now,” Moscow-based streetwear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy said after his inaugural fashion show on Wednesday in Paris. Rubchinskiy is known for rummaging around in Russian history—referencing vintage footage of summer sports camps, USSR music scenes, and '80s- and '90s-era skater boys and club kids—“But now, it’s now,” he insisted backstage.

    Models with names like Valentine, Jesper, and Luca filed out languidly but at clip, as if these men had somewhere to be. They wore button-downs quilted from gingham or plaid, or three-quarter sleeve tees, and their shirts were always tucked-in to sweatpants, knee-length shorts, or loose dockers. They were shod in Vans-style sneakers and athletic socks hitched up to their calves.Sometimes, the men wore monochrome: all-white, -mustard, or -moss green. They were kitted out in trench and faux-fur coats, perforated leather jackets, denim vests, and hooded sweatshirts, topped off by basic beanies or baseball caps. The collection was boiled-down in a functionalist, even gently Soviet way as uncluttered as it seemed comfortable. And yet, overall, there was something vaguely subversive about these looks. A camouflage-print overcoat was, for example, matched with Pussy Riot-balaclava pink pants. It definitely seemed to mean something.

    Best of all, the backs of the coats were patched with Rubik’s Cube-like areas of sky blue, dark green, camo, pink, white, and black; so, with their backs to you, so the models looked like they were bearing pixilated crests. Seems about right for right now, doesn’t it?

    “[I studied] the streets of Moscow, New York, and Paris for this season,” Rubchinskiy said. “Just real boys, real streets, and this moment.”

    E-MAIL US to be notified once the Spring/Summer 2015 collection hits OC! 
    Photos courtesy of Gosha Rubchinskiy 


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    From MASSIVE, the line that brought you this standout Jiraiya sweatshirt, comes a special-edition capsule collaboration created with Opening Ceremony, just in time for Pride Month. 

    MASSIVE's founders, Anne Ishii and Graham Kolbeins, specialize in gachimuchi (that would be slang for "muscle-chubby"), with a wink to the jubilant male pin-ups created by legendary Japanese artist, Jiraiya. Originally featured in G-Men, a monthly Japanese magazine featuring beefcake bods and manga erotica, the artist's meticulous, hypermasculine illustrations became so cult-popular overseas, he's evolved into the "fairy godmother" of Japanese gay manga, according to Ishii.

    To celebrate Jiraiya's ouevre—and the rarity of seeing this depiction of hypermasculine Asian males—the design duo and Opening Ceremony are bringing fans an eight-piece unisex lineup (sizes run from XS-XXXL) of the artist's most celebrated work, including the hulking beauties Asakichi and Seiji. Tête-à-têtes are grafted on sweatshirts (it was Jiraiya's idea to pair a Japanese cedar forest with a winking priest), muscle tees, rugby shorts (with a clever crotch placement), beach towels, and even a limited-edition, two-hole Tenga sex toy. If there were ever a summer-perfect collection to bring you from the parade, to the bar, to the beach, all with humor and warmth, this is it.

    Shop MASSIVE for Opening Ceremony Men's and Women's 

    Will Photos by Jason Rodgers



    Tony and Paolo 

    Best Couple Muscle Tee in pink/purple
    Shinjuku Tee in black multi
    Smiler Tee in pink/white

    Priest Sweatshirt in green black
    Signature Muscle Tee in black

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    It was impossible to get a traditionally coveted front-of-house seat at the Spring/Summer 2015 Raf Simons show last night. In fact, everyone stood. That was the “no hierarchy” idea behind the seating chart, which had editors, buyers, and photographers crowded together in the taped-off isthmuses of the polished concrete floor. It looked like a maze. The models walked through under a haze of red and green lights, the same combination used on 1970s horror-film sets. Around and around the men went, like atoms in orbit, and with the air of stately undead or preprogrammed sharks on the prowl.

    The models’ hair was wetly plastered to their heads and styled with extra-long wisps of extensions that strayed in their faces and seem to say that nothing could distract them from a vague but necessary mission. The heebie-jeebie suspenseful music from Under the Skin—full of heartbeat-like thumps, violins, and bursts of wind—provided the soundtrack to Raf’s collection, which consisted primarily of coats. The outwear—a lot of black, pumpkin, and jewel-red—was characterized by built-in capes, truncated mid-back. Simons badged the coats and sturdy button-downs with his RS logo and an insignia that looked a lot like a hashtag. There were also prints of old family photographs (such as those the from the courtship of his parents, who were backstage), images of astronauts in outer space, Mount Fuji, rollercoasters, koi fish, lifesavers, and that iconically sailing fin from Jaws.

    The other big draw here was obviously Japonism, which bloomed on paper-thin long-sleeve tees that resembled tattoos. Our favorite: The beautifully light knit tanks that came in pink cherry blossom and swirling blue Hokusai-inspired surf prints—of which there were fishnet versions, too.

    E-MAIL US to be notified once the Spring/Summer 2015 collection hits OC!  

    Photos courtesy of Raf Simons

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    Sam Bompas has found the G-Spot. And he is playing it.

    If you’re wondering what that looks like, the G-Spot is actually a 1.5-foot tall, six-petaled upside-down tulip with an attached theremin. It’s the final surprise in a Tunnel of Love at the Museum of Sex, where Sam Bompas and his partner-in-crime Harry Parr (together, UK duo Bompas & Parr) have created an interactive tits-and-ass-and-penis-filled exhibit.

    Titled Funland, the exhibit includes the mirrored labyrinth where you hunt for the G-Spot, followed by a bounce house of breasts, a race course featuring dicks instead of horses, and a rock climbing route of various orifices and appendages.

    “You’ve just entered to the erotic Funland,” Sam says in a deep announcer’s voice. He is decidedly the gregarious one of the two, wearing Kenzo pants under a dapper blazer. “Come through here,” he directs, leading us out of the mirrored labyrinth, “And enter Jump for Joy… the bouncy castle of breasts.”

    It is exactly what it sounds like: A small entrance leads to a bounce house with various giant mounds with accentuated nipples. “Enjoy the areolas,” an attendant says. This is where we find Harry, decked out in Opening Ceremony jeans, bouncing amongst giant breasts.

    “It’s just joyful,” Sam says, “It’s one of those things we looked up and was like, ‘How come no one has done this before?’”

    When you think about it, fairgrounds and festivals have always been sort of erotic; think peep shows, burlesque, and roller coasters. “The rides, with their white-knuckle offerings, enabled audiences to cling, touch, group, or embrace in the confines of an enclosed car of compartment,” professor Vanessa Toulmin at University of Sheffield writes in some exhibition copy.

    Vanessa helped provide some black-and-white videos of fairgrounds of the past, screened alongside the carnie attractions. You can view gravity rides where a woman’s skirt flies up, a circus man’s set which cuts to a homemade sex tape, and couples happily bouncing around on a rollercoaster, a man’s hand slowly inching his way around his date.

    “Fairgrounds really provided a context for slightly transgressive behavior, like first date stuff, and we wanted that slight transgression in the museum,” Sam says. “We’re really trying to disrupt the museum experience.” So, after you view some pornographic material downstairs, come up to bounce around in a pile of boobs.

    “Oh, quick dive in!” Sam exclaims, dragging me to a game where you throw balls into holes to move racing penises. It’s low-culture fun (and kitschy, ballsy humor) in a high-culture setting.

    “Actually, what everyone wants to do is the fun, low-culture stuff,” Sam says when we finish the game (a third contestant won). “What I want is to give people stories for life. ‘Oh, I went to a bounce castle full of breasts… but it’s okay because it’s in a museum context and I was exploring the connection between fairgrounds and eroticism. You know I really thought about it.‘”

    FUNLAND: Pleasures & Perils of the Erotic Fairground opens June 26, 2014.

    233 Fifth Avenue
    New York, NY 10016

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  • 06/25/14--21:00: Tipsy And Tan: Charlie Bird
  • In our #ThirstyThursday series, TIPSY AND TAN, we ask consummate mixologists from New York City’s white-hot new restaurants and bars to create OC-exclusive drinks for our readers. Drinking on the job? Don't mind if we do...

    New kid on the block Charlie Bird is the hip-hop loving restaurant that's quickly become a West Village staple. With a wine and liquor program that makes sommeliers geek out and plenty of outdoor seating for getting sloshed in the sun, we weren’t surprised when bartender extraordinaire Kyle Griffin whipped us up a mean “Street Cooler” perfect for any summertime patio kickback. And “’Cause it’s the summer,” Griffin forsook a splash of vermouth for some extra vodka. Translation: this cooler kicks ass!  

    From behind the bar...

    Name: Kyle Griffin

    If this drink had a soundtrack what would it be? "You Got Me" by The Roots ft. Erykah Badu

    Best place to get day drunk:
     The Standard rooftop

    Hangover cure: A Blood Mary 

    Your summer getaway: The Outer Banks in North Carolina. I’ve been going there since I was eight.

    Favorite summer tradition: Laying on the beach and forgetting about everything 

    What are some red-light signs that someone’s been overserved? Eating steak with your hands

    Are there any personality traits essential to a being a bartender? Knowing how to read the situation. Knowing when to talk and when to let people be. 

    Exclusive Recipe: "Street Cooler"

    1.5 oz. Dry Vermouth
    1 oz. Vodka
    1 oz. Grapefruit juice
    .5 oz. Lime juice
    .25 oz. Simple syrup
    2 splashes of bitters

    1. Shake ingredients together.
    2. Strain over fresh ice.
    3. Garnish with orange slice.

    OC Alcohol Scale*: 7.5
    "There's 2.5 ounces of booze in there..."

    *OC's Alcohol Scale ranges from 1 ("like sippin' from a juice box") to 10 ("take me home—right now"). 
    Photos by Jessica Chou

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    “WHAMBAM!” the collection is called.

    Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck sent out slim, loud, and fascinatingly deconstructed jackets in upholstery-rich brocades, tribal prints, and terribly fun embroidery adapted from the artwork of Scooter Laforge (which figures sharks, ducklings, oranges, hibiscus, kittens, machine guns, and zig-zagging geometries). Many of the tux-like jackets had mismatched lapels and extra-long tails and were worn over breezy cream trousers belted with karate obis. Gold epaulettes on some of them rivaled those of Prince Charming in Disney’s Cinderella, for sure.

    Dreamy electric music rang “Fame! Fame! Fame!” again and again, and there were jumpsuits modified with tulle bibs and capes, golden tassels, and cascades of fringe for the everyday raja. Tunics were sheer and/or embroidered, or made like oversized rash guards in the spirit of summertime.

    Many of these gentlemen wore their hair in Cary Grant side parts and trotted out in wide, Japanese-inspired sandals. Some wore tusked sunglasses, and others had face-bisecting visors like longboard fins. But nothing beat the raw materials. The spectacular textiles were originally woven and printed with Laforge’s work, who alternately called Van Beirendonck a “wizard” and “fashion godfather."  

    “I don’t know,” the designer said when asked where these boys come from. For this season he’d started by reading about the cargo cult in Papua New Guinea and the war between America and Japan, and one thing lead to another, he said, and “It came all alive.”

    “It was amazing!” British milliner Stephen Jones gushed after the show. “It was like this fantastic parallel world where Walter lives where it all, all makes sense!”

    I said they looked like cosmic Etonian boys.

    “That’s why I loved them,” Jones said. “Well, that’s me, isn’t it!”

    After the show, Beirendonck looked like the world’s coolest Santa Claus. The designer, who is characterized by a full silver beard, wore one of his white jumpsuits. His accessories included huge silver rings fit for kingly bikers; gumball-size freshwater pearl earrings; sneakers rimmed with a shark’s tooth print; and fresh mint, which he’d strung from his neck like a talisman. “I really like it!” He said of the refreshing plant.

    E-MAIL US to be notified once the Spring/Summer 2015 collection hits OC! 
    Photos by Karl Hab

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    Jiraiya is the most famous Japanese artist you've never heard of. The illustrator is the creator of some of Japan's most legendary bara––a genre of gay erotic art featuring husky, hairy dudes you can't help but want to bear hug. Defying all stereotypes about slender Asian males, Jiraiya characters have achieved cult status in Japan and are now finding a new audience in the US and abroad via MASSIVE, the NYC and LA-based clothing line. Today, we're debuting the MASSIVE for Opening Ceremony collection, featuring six of Jiraiya's amazing illustrations of gachimuchi ("muscular-chubby") love on tees, shorts, a towel, and a sex toy.

    Curiously enough, unlike his illustrations, Jiraiya has thus far remained out of the spotlight. The artist goes only by his pseudonym (Jiraiya translates to "child of thunder") and never allows his face to be photographed. Luckily, we managed to convince him to answer a few questions. Read on for details about his start as a cartoonist, gender roles in Japan, and his thing for Buddhist priests.

    Shop MASSIVE for Opening Ceremony MEN'S and WOMEN'S

    OPENING CEREMONY: How have perspectives of masculine and feminine recently evolved in Japanese and Asian culture?
    JIRAIYA: In general, I feel like there's a tendency for equilibrium of manliness and femininity during times of peace in Japan. During wartime, machismo becomes more prominent and femininity will be suppressed, but I have this idea that when the war ends, men become more neutered and women become stronger.

    You largely got your public start in G-men, a gay Japanese magazine, in 1998, and then debuted as a cartoonist. What was the feedback in Japan?
    Feedback on my illustrations and comics was immediate and positive, and I was full of joy that my work was being accepted. I suppose if I looked I’d have found negative feedback but I don’t actually remember any.

    You once said that you draw the type of man that would make someone say, "I want to meet someone like him" or, "He looks like someone I know." The stereotypical Asian male has a much slighter frame than the men in your depictions. Are you attracted to that rarity?
    If 90 percent of people are beautiful, then by that logic you could argue no one is actually attractive. So, in that regard, I suppose the rarity of any type would make it an ideal. You may very well find that there are overwhelmingly a lot of thin gay men, but if you take a bird's eye view of all the gay men in Japan, there are actually also a lot of strong, big types, and people who are into big men. Really ripped guys are my type, personally, and that’s why I depict them in my art.

    Do you think it's harder for Asian males to gain that beefy body you depict? 
    Different genetic races have different muscular composition, and I

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