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    Fall/Winter 2014 could be described as the Season of the Eastern Bloc here at Opening Ceremony, what with the influx of standout independent Eastern European designers, like Litkovskaya and Tigran Avetisyan, in our stores. While many of the labels favor avant-garde designs born from colorful, high-concept territories, Russian label Forget Me Not prefers its landscape grey, anonymous, and a bit drab. Designer Artur Lomakin finds his inspiration not in big city glamour, but directly outside of it, within the suburbs. Lomakin could find kinship with esteemed Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (of the famed Solaris), whose lesser-known photography projects exuded a similar kind of melancholy and reverence for the beauty of everyday life in Russia. The designer, however, prefers down-to-earth, honest techniques in all of his processes, sketching designs at home and embarking on spontaneous trips, camera in hand, around the city to document lookbooks, editorials, and enigmatic visual content.

    Lomakin’s attraction to the mundanity translates to humble materials and textures that are somehow romantic in their ordinariness. Forget Me Not’s designs are not without the occasional flourish, however, manifesting as androgynous styles with cut-out details that are more challenging than showy. Elements of sportswear combine with subtle unfinished details in the Sheepskin Hood, an accessory that would pair well with a minimalist athletic ensemble. The Hand-Knit Camel Wool Sweater is simply a versatile sweater that contains streaks of black, white, and grey, bringing to mind overcast Moscow days.

    Shop all Forget Me Not men's and women's Hand-Knit Camel Wool Sweater in black 
    Waist-Length Long-Sleeve Apron Top in black/denim

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    The world we live in contains various types of groups, classes, and organizations to bond and cohabitate. And last month's New York Fashion Week introduced a new form to the mix, "clump choreography." The term was coined by 28-year-old Elle Erdman to describe the experimental dance she created for Eckhaus Latta's Spring/Summer 2015 show. As you might've guess, it's the antithesis of the struts and glides normally seen on catwalks. 

    A graduate of SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Dance, Erdman relishes in creating movement in unconventional spaces, from galleries like 303 to clubs like Berghain to rooftops and subways. This “site-specific dance,” as she calls her style, is "created in response to a particular space.” In the case of the Eckhaus Latta show, Erdman created a down-tempo routine where models, after walking in a more conventional procession, returned en masse to the runway and began merging into three groups, embracing like post-apocalypse survivors huddling for warmth. All this was set to the ethereal moans of the Trinity Youth Chorus.  

    “I wanted it to be uncomfortable and awkward,” Erdman explained. “I think models have this way of doing what they’re told, and when they’re not told exactly what to do, there’s that awkward factor. A lot of them were laughing, a lot of them were confused, and I thought that humanized them.”

    This subversion of typical fashion show aesthetics fits in perfectly with the aesthetic of bi-coastal design duo Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. As OC blog readers know, the duo create avant-garde, sculptural garments made of innovative materials ranging from selvedge carpeting to industrial plastic. For Spring/Summer 2015, Echkaus and Latta created a unisex collection that was equal parts hard and soft, made up of stiff denim, sheer knits, and terry-cloth two-pieces. The RISD grads also have a history of bridging the worlds of art and fashion, from collaborating with Bjarne Melgaard to showing at the 55th Annual Venice Biennale with Dora Budor.

    The designers aren't the only ones fascinated with dance as of late. Editors and fashion journalists took note when Rick Owens commissioned a group of traditional step dancers to perform during the finale of his Spring/Summer 2014 runway show in Paris. Since, designers including Gareth Pugh and Astrology IRL have incorporated dance performance into their shows; the obsession culminating with FIT's fall exhibition, Dance & Fashion. 

    That said, Eckhaus Latta and Elle Erdman’s collaboration was by far the least conventional iteration of the trend. Their partnership was more concerned with expanding on the typical runway format than it was with classical dance performance, Eckhaus explained via e-mail. “In working with Elle, we wanted to establish something that was not as much about 'dance' as it was exploring choreography to create alternative means to presenting the collection and interaction found between the models.”

    Erdman experienced this herself as much as she orchestrated and observed it. Days before the performance, the designers asked her to walk in the show and participate in the dance. “That was scary because I couldn’t see what was happening," she said. "But it felt better to be right in it and to energetically know what was going on around me.” 

    Despite her inclination toward the experimental, the choreographer prefers not to label her work as performance art. “It’s bordering [between performance art and dance], but I like to keep it dance. By performance art, I mean I am pulling in costumes, musicians, and imagery. The fact that

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    All month long at the 356 S. Mission Road art space nestled in the sparse, industrial Arts District of Los Angeles, New York-based artist Jonathan Horowitz will assemble his latest work, 590 Dots, with the help of hundreds of participants. In the neighborhood? The collaborative project is open to any passersby willing to dedicate an hour of their time to crafting a perfect 11-inch dot using only black acrylic paint and an 18-inch canvas. Before they leave, participants are presented with a $20 check hand-drawn by the artist. 

    (In conjunction with Jonathan Horowitz’s large-scale installation, Opening Ceremony will launch "DOTS" 2014 Jonathan Horowitz and Opening Ceremony, a capsule collection of jackets, tapered pants, and tote bags later this month. More on this in coming posts.)

    Last weekend, a few of us at Opening Ceremony Los Angeles paid the space a visit and tried our hand at painting these dots. Luckily, the artist was present and explained that we should approach the painting like “a machine” and strive for a circle as clean, consistent, and evenly textured as possible. Once each brushstroke feels like it can no longer improve upon the last—time to put down the brush. 

    Before we got to work, Horowitz added, “Once you make a mark, you can’t take it back.” True to the artist’s careful, meticulous form, he later corresponded with us via email about the 590 Dots project. 



    NOAH ADLER: How did you connect with Opening Ceremony for this capsule collection? 
    JONATHAN HOROWITZ: A couple of years ago, I had an idea to make polka-dot fabric where every dot on the bolt would be drawn freehand by a different person, so no two dots would be alike. Not practical, I know. Because fabric wants to be made into stuff, I spoke to Humberto [Opening Ceremony's co-founder] about the idea, and he was into it. We settled on every dot in the repeat being different, and Opening Ceremony designed this really cool updated Mao suit.

    Did you choose Los Angeles specifically for the 590 Dots installation?

    I chose 356 Mission Road more specifically. I wanted to incorporate the making of the work into the show, and it seemed like the perfect place for it. Things are more in flux there than at your average exhibition space. There’s always so much going on and so many different people passing through. It’s got a great feeling of community.

    How does this installation correlate to your previous installation, 402 Dots, Line, and the One Note Samba, held at Karma in New York?
    The dots in that show were all made prior to the exhibition and in different places. It was presented as a finished work with a few other pieces that inter-related. It was more of a traditional art show. For LA, the show opened with a blank wall and on the first day, everyone who came was invited to make a dot. All the dots are being painted on site over the course of the first month, and there are events and performances happening concurrently to help bring people in. The Opening Ceremony component is important too. You can look at the wall of dots as like an unrolled bolt of fabric.

    Why did you choose to incorporate public participation into the process of the 590 Dots show, as opposed to the traditional format of your New York show?

    How the work gets made is a

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    Long before the zipper entered our lives, there was a revolutionary clasp known as the buckle. Since its introduction during Bronze Age-era Asia, the underappreciated embellishment has seen its fair share of revamps and adjustments. From rhinestone-studded belt buckles à la Baby Phat circa 2003 to Versace's various Medusa head embellishments, the buckle has proven itself to be a necessary fashion closure that can stand the test of trends and time. 

    This season, designers decided to buckle up and add both statement-making and understated buckle details to some of Fall/Winter 2014's strongest pieces. Japanese brand Toga Pulla, for instance, strapped in with the Embossed Leather Boots, which feature not one but four buckle straps with ornate metal details. 

    Furthermore, Tokyo-based punk label Blackmeans redefined its DIY approach with Leather Pants, featuring gold-tinted metal buckles and adjustable loops on the thighs to allow for a so-tight-you-won't-bend look. And in perhaps the most useful and convenient example of buckles done right, the Mismo M/S Express bag closes with a single, simple brass clasp. If only your seatbelts looked this good...

    Click through the slideshow above for the best buckles for your buck. 


    Yulia Kondranina Striped Eyelet Dress in black/white Toga Pulla Kiltie Velvet Buckle Boots in navy/black Anthony Vaccarelli x Versus Lion Medallion Wide Belt in black Mismo M/S Express in pine green/dark brown Blackmeans Zipped Leather Pants in black Acne Studios Allea Buckle Boots in black Proenza Schouler

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    It's a known fact that the average person spends most of her day glued to a smartphone like her life depends on it (sometimes, it does!). And, it's no secret that for many of us, smartphones have replaced alarm clocks. It's a bit of a mystery, then, how the watch has managed to stick around as a classic accessory. Or maybe, it's more of a testament to its enduring potential for style.

    The Kenzo 3-Point Watch proves it. A statement piece that's also highly functional, the accessory separates three increments of time (second, minute, hour) into three small dials. Its minimalist face is accompanied by wide leather straps in a variety of textures: embossed, color-blocked, and even tie-dyed. 

    Starting today, you’ll receive a treat with it just in time for Halloween: Kenzo Monster Fur keyrings, featuring a leather embroidered mechanical “monster” tufted with fuzz. These Lynchian tokens look like a twist on the old-school lucky rabbit’s foot, and come in lime, dark green, and blood-orange red.

    Shop all Kenzo men's and women's 

    While supplies last. This promotion is valid in US stores and online at openingceremony.us. It cannot be combined with other offers or discounts and is not valid on previous purchases, exchanges, or pre-orders.
    Kenzo's Tie-Dye Strap 3-Point Watch in white/blue, paired with Sibling's Hand Knit Fluff Striped Cardigan 
    Shop the Kenzo 3-Point Watch and receive a free Kenzo Monster Fur keyring in lime, dark green, or blood-orange red.
    3-Point Watch in black/pink 3-Point Watch in white 3-Point Watch in black/green
    3-Point Watch in black/white

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    On April 13, 1912, 21-year-old Austrian painter Egon Schiele—just three years out of the academy but already one of Vienna’s reigning artists—was arrested in the village of Neulengbach on charges of public immorality and seduction of minors. Schiele’s provocative portraits of prostitutes, street urchins, and mistresses—the latter no more infamous than the nubile, flame-haired Wally Neuzil—placed him at the forefront of the Vienna Secession movement, but earned the damning of provincial neighbors, who disapproved of his casting local children as models. While awaiting trial, Schiele nevertheless continued to create (thanks to a cache of watercolors snuck in by a patron), documenting his 24-day imprisonment in a series of prison cell scenes and tormented self-portraits.

    It is these pictures, on view from October 9 at the Neue Galerie’s latest survey of the artist, Egon Schiele: Portraits, that become an entry point into Schiele’s work, emphasizing the recurrent motifs in his most challenging tableaux. In Prisoner!, a loose pencil sketch of an unshaven and wild-eyed Schiele buried beneath a dark blanket, his hands are missing, alluding to the townspeople’s crusade to keep him from making art. (At his trial, the judge burned a drawing in a theatrical display of censorship.) Elsewhere in the show, amputation as a symbol of repression resurfaces in Seated Male Nude (Self-Portrait), illustrating Schiele’s own sense of sin as he struggled between desire and restraint at a time when that so-called “solitary vice”—masturbation—was thought to induce insanity.

    Divided between four rooms with groupings that include “Eros” and “Allegorical Self-Portraits,” the exhibition offers an in-depth primer certain to convert audiences previously unfamiliar with the Expressionist master. For the devout, a selection of Schiele’s most explicit and technically accomplished nudes juxtaposed against a traditional portrait of his wife Edith (by Schiele standards, exuberant in a candy-striped pinafore) probe at the contradictions that characterized a brilliant career cut short. (He succumbed to the Spanish flu in 1918, two years shy of 30.) Most striking of all is how the many faces of Schiele—some writhing in agony or euphoria, others impassive in their gaze—feel radically modern. Reconsidering these images with the contemporary portraiture they’ve influenced, from the jewel-toned Romantics of Elizabeth Peyton to the nocturnal dandies of Hernan Bas and even the monochrome rockers of Hedi Slimane, reveals why Schiele remains as relevant as ever.


    Egon Schiele: Portraits is on view at the Neue Galerie in New York from October 9 to January 19

    Neue Galerie New York
    1048 Fifth Avenue 
    New York, NY 10028
    MAP Egon Schiele's Self Portrait with Peacock, Waistcoat, Standing, 1911. Photo cou

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    The leaves have fallen, summer beach trips are far behind us, and it's time to bring out the denim jackets, cozy scarves, and Opening Ceremony logo beanies to top it all off.

    This season, the Opening Ceremony logo beanie makes a triumphant return after spending a winter atop the domes of the fashion elite, such as Leigh Lezark, Kelly Rowland, and Rihanna. Of course, the cotton-blend beanie is back in its signature pitch-black hue, and with it, a vibrant, traffic-cone-orange iteration. 

    If you have a predilection toward eye-catching prints, simply sport one of the three fingerprint-patterned beanies. Keeping with the Fall/Winter 2014 Antwerp-hand inspiration, the hats feature an up-close, digitized view of a fingerprint that wraps around the entire piece. Each cap is also complemented by the Opening Ceremony rubber square logo placed front and center, ensuring that your head is not only snug but you're looking pretty dope... even on bad-hair days. 

    Shop all Opening Ceremony men's and women'sFall weather is upon us, which means it's time to start dressing in proper attire fit for the season. OC Logo Fingerprint Beanie in burnt red multi  OC Logo Fingerprint Beanie in marble green  OC Logo Fingerprint Beanie in light grey multi  OC Logo Beanie in orange  OC Logo Beanie in black


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    Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, Humberto Leon: Asian-American designers have long been at the forefront of the fashion game. But Chinese-Chinese designer Shangguan Zhe—the one who sent models down the runway in giant paper-maché skeleton hands at LC:M this summer—is on the up-and-up, too. The 29 year old's label, SANKUANZ, is making a name with its South Park references, weed hats, LED grills, and trippy collage of Mandarin characters that translate into words like "Acid" (酸) and "In Hell" (地獄裡) . “I wanted to ironically poke fun at elitism through the combination of these elements,” he tells us of his newly arrived Fall/Winter 2014 collection.

    Zhe's studio, littered with knickknacks and memorabilia, is in Xiamen, China, a city where most residents are culturally conservative and not tapped into global fashion, he says. But, that hasn't stopped him from making sharp political and cultural observations through his designs. “I’m into cultures that are constructed from the bottom up, and youth culture is one of them.”

    After sending a photographer to his studio in Xiamen, we caught up with the designer via e-mail to talk inspirations, working with remote Tibetan craftsmen, and Russian prison tattoos. And, just when we thought he couldn't get any cooler, he threw in a Kerouac quote and dished on his childhood arcade addiction to Street Fighter. Read on...

    Shop all SANKUANZ here



    GRACE WANG: Where are you right now?

    SHANGGUAN ZHE: I live and work in China’s Xiamen.

    Tell us a bit about your background. You studied graphic design at Xiamen University; how did you get into designing?
    At first, the decision to become a fashion designer was obviously because I like clothes (I collect a lot of vintage clothing) and the process of producing them. So, there’s this kind of inseparable cohesion of the process and the product that I like. But, what really inspired and motivated me was the culture and spirit I could express and showcase through clothes.

    You reference South Park and Japanese manga in your collections. You also look like you have quite a collection of manga in your studio. What are your current anime/manga obsessions?
    The Fall/Winter 2014 collection used a lot of cartoon images with cultural elements, like the South Park graphics and S&M cartoon masks. I rarely read comics now, but I loved to when I was a kid. My company’s Chinese name translates literally to “Child Tiger,” (童虎) which is a character from the Japanese manga Saint Seiya. He never gets old and is forever a warrior, a bit like the final line in Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums which says, “O ever youthful, O ever weeping.”

    You said in another interview, “We hope to express a serious topic in an easy and interesting way.” What is this serious topic?
    The intention of the Spring/Summer 2015 collection is to pay tribute to youth who lost their liv

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    Last week, as part of OC's Shop Talk Series, Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver and recently returned hip-hop queen Remy Ma took a shopping trip in the Opening Ceremony NYC store. Following Remy's well-documented prison sentence after turning herself in for involvement in a shooting incident, Opening Ceremony had Oliver fill her in on what she's missed. The pair also discussed the perks of not wearing heels every day, turning men’s tees into dresses, and the rapper’s definition of “couture hip-hop.”

    This week, we're rolling out the second part of our feature, in which Remy and Oliver discuss their identities as told through clothing as well as simply not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks. In the words of Queen Remy herself: "I try being me; it's easier to be yourself than to try and be someone else. I never want to be tied into feeling like I have to dress a certain way to be Remy Ma."

    Check out the video above for more of Oliver and Remy's insights.
     

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    HART+LËSHKINA stand firmly at the crossroads of art and fashion. The multi-disciplinary duo blend photography, sculpture, and performance to create beautifully haunting work. Like any of the greats, there is little distinction between their personal and commercial projects—any piece could be pulled straight from the lookbook and be equally at home on art gallery walls.

    The New York-based duo recently shot OC’s winter men’s 2014 editorial and are currently working on This is only temporary, an ambitious piece exploring the impermanence of human actions in public spaces. The work, due to debut early 2015, combines video, sculpture, and photographs and will eventually find its way into book form. Before its release, we spoke to the incomparable HART+LËSHKINA about their influences, the ideas behind their new project, and the hardest parts of being in a working partnership.

    View the editorial here



    JAMES
     DEREK SAPIENZA: Your photography has elements of classic, almost Dutch-masters style portraiture, yet it is also so modern and minimalist. How would you describe the aesthetics of your work?
    ERIK HART AND TATI LËSHKINA: Often our work is performative; we stage actions and create photographic documentation of them. We like to isolate our subjects in space; our work has been said to have a cold objectivity to it. We often explore various ideas of purity, tension, disengagement, and dislodged realities. From an aesthetic standpoint, there is often a sense of absence, poetic immediacy, and unstableness found within our images.

    Even at its most whimsical, there seems to be an undercurrent of isolation or loneliness in your work. Is this an aesthetic choice or social commentary?
    For us these are base undercurrents of existence; fortunately and unfortunately, we experience these states daily. This is not a conscious decision but, at its most elemental, the way we often view the contemporary human condition.  

    Do you have any influences, or has your style evolved organically? 
    We tend to share and appreciate many of the same things and also view our environment in a united way. Our work constantly changes and evolves; although, our concerns have always been the same. It has been a matter of refining our language since we began creating together. The process has been both organic and actively conscious. We are influenced by many things, primarily everyday life, human body, things we notice in the streets, human interaction, dance, performance, and sculpture. We also don’t draw borders between our personal and commissioned work—they feed and inspire each other, and we like to view them as of equal importance and meaning to us. Most of all we inspire each other in our daily life and our unified existence together as artists. 

    How did your new project This is only temporary come about? 
    It was really an evolution of ideas we’ve been exploring for a while: duality and symbiosis, looking at the human body as a sculptural form, documenting the unstable balance of human interaction and movement. Here you see the first part of the project, but there’s two more we are working on at the moment. Every installment of the project employs found garments that we modify to create propositions for alternative interaction. The end work will include multichannel videos, sculptures, printed matter, and still images. 

    Does working on this type of multi-disciplinary project present any unique challenges?
    All our work is mult

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    ​It doesn't come as surprise that the ​Paris-based duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant took home this year’s ANDAM First Collection prize for their breakout label, Coperni Femme​. The designers have joined two seemingly opposing elements—classic French silhouettes and futuristic materials—​to create something light-footed, graceful, but absolutely exquisite. ​​Something a Bullett writer once described as "Gattaca and Ghesquière​," combined.​

    Meyer and Vaillant met when both were studying at the Mod'Art International school and ​have become partners​ in every sense of the word: in business, in creativity, and in life​. ​(​Yes, ​​​​they're not only talented, but incredibly charming and attractive—leading to more than a few fashion voices to draw parallels to the Proenza Schouler boys.) ​The brand’s name itself is an unexpected joining of two figures that suggests a methodical aspect balancing with an evocative concept: “Coperni,” after astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, and “Femme,” the French word for woman.

    This Fall/Winter ’14 collection, exclusive to Opening Ceremony, is defined by sophisticated forms shaped from high-tech fabrics and textiles, exuding a quintessentially feminine Parisian essence. The Molleton Sweater takes a classic, crisp white pullover and covers it with wavelength-like dimensional ridges all along the front, elevating the piece to a work of art that would fit right in at the Centre Pompidou. The Patchwork Coat and Cut-Out Mini Skirt both feature subtle slitting techniques, pairing as an ensemble that echoes Henry Matisse’s​ ​artistry. There's no doubt, however, that this collection caters to the forward-thinking, modern woman.  


    Shop all Coperni Femme here Gauffre Turtleneck in white Classic Flared Suit Pants in navy Patchwork Sleeveless Coat in light grey Short-Sleeve Top in red Cut-Out Mini Skirt in light grey

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    It's all work and no play for Helen Lawrence, the 27-year-old "Northerner"-turned-East Londoner behind the eponymous clothing collection new and exclusive to OC. Or at least, that's what she claims. Since her school days at the famed Central Saint Martin, she has worked to establish herself as knitwear pro. Her pieces—a creative mix of fluffy knits and embroidered scribbles—are all handmade, after all. 

    On approaching Lawrence’s North London Studio, we're greeted by the continuous meows of a cat that cannot be located and a clothes line in the yard from which hangs an isolated unclaimed tee. These are easy-to-miss details, however, once your eyes meet the large, essential knitting machines, which consume the space. Other than these and and a shelving unit complete with eclectic-colored wools and cottons, the studio possessions are kept to a minimum. And, although Lawrence insists there is no time for anything but work, the BBQ and ping-pong table outside hint that there is more fun to be had than she lets on.

    Shop all Helen Lawrence here


    OWEN BLACKWOOD: What was the starting point for your Fall/Winter 2014 collection?
    HELEN LAWRENCE: I’d always wanted to do a fluffy collection. I then found these beautiful images of these gypsy traveler kids from the '80s, around London fields, all dressed up by their parents. Then I found this image of a little girl in like a full fluffy outfit, something like what I wanted to already make. It was a progression from my previous work but more wearable, more commercial shapes amongst wobbly shapes. 

    Knitwear seems to be a focal area for you. What do you love about it?
    So basically, from starting my BA at Chelsea College of Arts, we got to try out different things. I tried out the knitting machine and loved it! I love knitwear—you’ve always got to have a good jumper! I’m from up north; it’s always cold. Even in the summer, there’s always the want for a big, warm jumper to throw on.



    Tell us more about your signature scribble, which can be seen across your Fall/Winter 2014 collection?
    I’d been looking at '70s nail art and wanted to make a lace fabric based on that. I wanted to create an embroidered fabric that would hold its shape. I don’t want to say too much about how I do it, but I eventually came up with this idea after lots of development.

    So like you already mentioned you're originally from "up north," Whitley Bay to be precise. Do you bring any inspiration from there to your collections?
    It’s a really nice, little seaside town—I’m not really sure though. I don’t know if this sounds weird, but there is quite a lot of flesh, like a lot of people don’t wear very many clothes, even in the winter, so maybe that was the inspiration. Like a cropped jumper and knickers. [Laughs]

    How would you describe the general vibe in the studio?
    Work, work, work, because everything is done by hand, and everything is hand-knitted, and every stitch is altered by hand. We work out all the patterns and the pieces and hand-make the felt. Everything takes so long; it's fast-paced and very busy.

    Do you have any essentials/must haves in the studio to get you through the day?

    Knitting machines, coffee, and my AMAZING interns! 


    What's on your studio playlist at the moment?
    Well Kate (who I share my studio with) is a bit of a genius DJ so she plays me lots of nice music. A lo

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    Something fishy is going on at Olympia Le Tan. The designer recently hosted a party with French restaurant Caviar Kaspia to introduce their special-edition clutch bag to the fashion elite. And now, the doyenne of dainty accessories brings an updated version of her cult caviar bag to OC and OC only. With its embroidered specks of caviar and signature fish logo, this edition is just as quirky as its predecessors—and with its larger size and crossbody strap, it's even easier to swing over your shoulder on all occasions. Something so salty has never been so sweet.

    Shop all Olympia Le Tan here The Olympia Le Tan Caviar Cross Body Round Bag in teal

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    Here at OC, we are struck by how often we end up in everyday conundrums. The ones that land you in the thick of semi (or full-blown) awkwardness, or maybe, the doghouse. 

    So, we turned to Simon Collins, the
     dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons, who after six years in his plum perch, just announced plans to step down at the end of this year. Translation: More time to advise on how to exit a #totalfail dinner party—gracefully. 



    Q: I'm dating someone new. How soon is too soon to begin moving a few innocent toiletries over to my bae's pad? 

    First thing—there are no "innocent toiletries." Everything is part of the message, and when the first item appears, the story has begun. "Look at me," you can hear the cotton buds saying, "all my friends are coming to join me soon." [Editor's note: LOL] Next thing you know, the bathroom cabinet has been occupied, and you’re living out of a wash bag in the hallway. Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but let’s be honest about what’s happening here: assessment, infiltration, and eventual domination. 

    If you’re lucky enough to find someone that you think might fit the bill for the long walk, then of course you’re going to be shacking up together and toiletries will be exchanged—at some point. But, until you’re both ready and in full communication and agreement, then the casual appearance of cotton wool could prove fatal. 

    Much better to take an early morning Uber Stride of Pride back to your own toiletries and leave your partner alone in bed wishing you were still there keeping him or her warm. Later that day, watch him or her shoot over to Kiehl’s or Opening Ceremony to ensure that next time, you can enjoy proper coffee and WSJ's Off-Duty, in conjugal bliss.

    Q: You seem like a man who enjoys hosting a fine dinner party or two. What's the correct etiquette for a polite early exit, when the food, or the company, is a dud?

    It is true that I have broken bread with some absolute rogues and some utter dullards.

    Rule #1: Never be the most interesting person at dinner. As you stand around amusing the bouche before being seated, be sure to assess likely tablemates well in advance. It goes without saying that you should avoid the R-words—Republicans and religious zealots. But, also look out for the conversationally needy, for they will ruin your evening with their incessant questions. Life is, after all, too short for boring conversation or bad wine.

    Once seated, if you catch a whiff of dodgy politics or a cheap perfume, immediately scope your exits. “Just need to make a quick call,” is an easy exit line if no food has appeared (though unsatisfactory if you want 1.) to be invited back or 2.) to make a grand statement.)

    So, let’s say you're halfway through the soup and the person next to you says, "You know, I just subscribed to Sarah Palin's new cable channel, and she really does have some good ideas." 

    Tricky, because you’re already committed to the first course so a pre-food-exit is off, and you might want to save the flouncing-out for later. In this situation I recommend introducing yourself as though the person hadn’t spoken. Then if they continue to spout dri

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    Weekday warriors, rejoice: 8 AM alarms and all other workweek horrors are finally behind you. And, as if you needed another excuse to slip on that club-ready dress, Saturday is also National It's My Party Day


    In honor of this genius and much-needed holiday, Opening Ceremony decided to take a look at the iconic films starring women who don't just make partying look easy, but a way of life. From a snow-skiing Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction to an Alaïa-clad Cher Horowitz in Clueless, here are some of our favorite film party girls and the modern dresses they would have worn to whatever rager today... yes, even ones in the Valley. 
     

    1. Romy and Michele from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
    Post-It inventors or not, one thing is for sure: Romy and Michele knew how to make an entrance AND exit.
    When they weren't taking over the dance floor, getting back at high school crushes, or taking off in a helicopter, they were rocking colorful, iridescent dresses with fur-trim detail that looked straight off of the racks from Limited Too.

    2. Veronica Sawyer and Heather Chandler from Heathers
    The Heathers were the bitch-clan that every Westerburg High School student feared just as much as they admired. At the helm was Heather Chandler, the blonde bombshell who could out-party the college kids—in shoulder pads and totally '80s, off-the-shoulder tops, no less. 

    3. Michelle Burroughs from Dazed and Confused
    While everyone else was busy hazing freshmen and fighting over kegs at the summer kickoff party in Richard Linklater's lazy classic Dazed and Confused, hippie high-schooler Michelle was simply trying to just vibe, man. Throughout the course of the film, Michelle could always be found with a guitar in tow and a joint in hand. 
    Even when she was singing songs about aliens, Michelle came correct in '70s fringe classics that give us severe Janis Joplin vibes. 

    4. Mia Wallace from
    Pulp Fiction
    It's no secret that Mia had a taste for the, well, whiter things in life. And with that striking black bob, sexy button-down-shirt-as-a-dress look, and killer dance moves, how could anyone resist? We also dig any leading lady that makes coming back to life after a shot of adrenaline look oh so good. 

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    "You're under arrest.”

    That's a phrase you'd expect to hear sitting in front of a document inked with your fingerprints, while under observation by a stranger. But this week, faced with this scenario, I heard something different: "The double loop on your thumbs indicates that you're at the helm of your own destiny..." 

    Jennifer Hirsch is a palm reader based in Johannesburg, South Africa, who gave me a reading via Skype this past Tuesday. With a chirping voice, long blonde hair, and habit of signing e-mails to potential clients with "Love, Jen," she couldn't be less like a TV detective—but much like that character, she spends her day analyzing the ridges, patterns, and shapes of digits and palms. Fingerprint analysis is an up-and-coming field within palmistry, and is said by its practitioners to divine things like personality traits, career prospects, and medical risks.

    Fingerprints are on the up-and-up in less mystic realms, too. There's the new iPhone touch ID, which also functions with "prints" of toes, paws, and nipples, if correctly set. In the art world, conservators use fingerprints to authenticate works. This fall, OC’s collection featured whorls, arches, loops, and other varieties of fingerprint or "glyph" blown up on garments.

    Oddly, fingerprints are in many ways newer than palmistry. Palm reading, a staple of ancient religions, has been around for thousands of years; it was banned as witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Meanwhile, though fingerprints have always existed on our bodies (and those of chimps, apes, and koalas), mankind's usage of them is relatively new. In ancient Babylon, fingerprints were used to sign documents. But, in the West, it wasn't until the nineteenth-century that anyone recognized the power of fingerprints to identify their owners. A British servicemen picked up the technique in India, tipped off Scotland Yard, and trips to the police station have never been the same since.

    A few decades later, palmistrists (palm-ist-rists) caught up. "It's like the myth of Magellan's ships," Jen told me the first time we spoke, after I stumbled on her welcoming, not-overly-professional website (I didn’t want to go with something glossy and corporate or a '90s GeoCities relic—Jen was the perfect medium). "Wherever Magellan sailed, the islanders wouldn't see the ships because they had no paradigm of them being in existence. Old hand readers were the same: they were looking at hands, but fingerprints didn’t seem to enter their consciousness until roughly 1940."

    I'd never had my palm read. But something about Jen's posi-vibes, stories about Portuguese explorers, and promises of merging Eastern and Western techniques piqued my interest. And, there was her prediction. During our initial informational interview, Jen’s guessed that I would have at least one whorl, a circular marking resembling a tire, on my hand. “It’s a sign of a researcher."  

    In fact, I had not one, but two whorls, on my left middle and index fingers. Jen also sensed that I’d attracted a similarly whorl-dly partner; someone who shared my stamina, individualistic streak, and—she suspected—now, bed. Right again. However, she misread a cut on right palm as a beauty mark s

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    Christopher Kane, the celebrated London-based designer known for bold, visually thematic collections that range in concept from the scientific to the animalistic, gets down with his dark side this Fall/Winter ’14. Steeped in the shadows, the collection isn’t afraid to wander into slightly sinister territory—in fact, it revels in it, employing floating black sheers, serpentine forms that wind around limbs, and exquisitely layered silk organza.

    That isn’t to say that a touch of evil is without color or beauty. With the Lenticular Peony Clutch you’ll find a holographic image of a yellow flower that gives the illusion of blooming with the wearer’s every movement. On the Stretch Metal Rose Printed T-Shirt, printed roses are stretched and distorted beyond recognition, resembling liquid metal more than romantic flora. The dark abyss certainly has its appeal, what with the potential of infinite beauty, and no one would blame you for diving straight in. In the words of Baudelaire, “There is only order and beauty. Luxury, quietness, and pleasure.” 

    Shop all Christopher Kane men's and women's Double Square Layered Organza Dress in black Organza Double Layered Flap Shirt in black Stretch Metal Rose Printed Dress in black Stretch Metal Rose Printed T-Shirt in white Ruched Hem Skirt in pink Tulip Printed Sweatshirt in black 

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    What do they say? People who possess a true command of style dress for themselves? No one embodies this quite like 93-year-old Iris Apfel, who takes the eponymous role in a documentary debuting this week at the New York Film Festival. 

    Helmed by cinéma vérité master Al Maysles, the film chronicles New York's grand dame in a keenly felt rumination of what it means to be a true collector and sartorialist. For about a decade now, we've admired Ms. Apfel's sense of play from behind a museum case or afar, watching her fiddle with that lavender-tinged 'do and those Cleopatra-like gold bangles, and layer one flamboyant necklace over another, posing for the "pop, pop, pop" of photographer flashes. "How fey, how fun," we've said, wishing we could get inside her circle.

    The film achieves this want, flirting like an inside joke between old pals—not surprising considering Maysles, now 87, is around the same age as the former interior designer and has lived in NYC just as long, when he was making breakthrough pictures like Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter. (In fact, there are a handful of cutaway shots where you see Al filming, or his laughter and dialogue are worked in, home video style.) 
     
    As if turning over a cut gem, the filmmaker captures his friend in various degrees of "Iris." The faces we know (yukking it up with Loehmann's customers, chatting with Tavi Gevinson, posing for Bruce Weber); and the faces we don't (makeup-free and plainly-dressed, haggling at a swap meet alongside her doting, longtime partner, Carl, and the many tender moments between husband and wife).

    For the most part, Iris doles out full-phoenix splendor, with copious long shots of the whippersnapper dripping in costume jewelry and piquant wit. You get a feeling that this could be her secret to youth: the thirst for discovery and the hunt for new-old treasure (i.e. a parrot-colored knit sweater, decorated in cacti, from a Palm Beach vintage store).

    The film is also full of Apfelisms, like "life is grand doll; you might as well have a little fun when you dress," "color can raise the dead," "they have no sense of history, these kids," and "I don't like pretty." "I could feel the pulse, of her life, of her excitement about living," Weber says, and we can, too.

    Iris is part of a nostalgic, pre-selfie era—and is more than surprised by her happenstance celebrity (at a party, Kanye West introduces himself as a fan). And we love her for it. We're reminded of playing dress-up in bougainvillea-print blazers and Mom's kitten heels, unaware of what's trending or "cool," blotting our teensy, Elizabeth Arden-painted lips in front of the vanity, choking on Aquanet, and thinking... Now, this is fabulous.

    "With me, it's not intellectual; it's all gut," Iris says in one scene, surrounded by a mecca of curios and far-flung treasures in her Park Avenue apartment. The "gut" she refers to—in essence, a singular style—is one thing; her spirit is another. Combine the two and she becomes her famed moniker: "the rare bird of fashion." 

    Iris screens at NYFF Sunday, October 12, at 12:15 PM

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    “I’m thinking about Justin Bieber’s forehead lines—the calculated crease he manicures in every Instagram upload. It’s a symbol of experience, a positive masculine trait that 12-year-olds idly mimic and the most obvious sign of aging. Yet for women, it’s a sign to be cosmetically embellished, removed, and pumped with Botox…” Amalia Ulman explains at the opening night of her latest solo exhibition at London’s Evelyn Yard, The Destruction of Experience. Ulman’s diverse artistic practice spans painting, poetry, essays, sculpture, video, Instagram uploads, a confessional Facebook presence, and Skype lectures. For her latest show, it’s an immersive installation enveloping sound, scent, sculpture, and delicate wall-based works that offer a techno-social mediation on time, body clocks, and the body as a perishable asset.

    “The human body I’m talking about, of course, is that of a woman,” Ulman explains, and there’s no mistaking the calendars and time-charts regulating menstruation cycles, pregnancy, and surgical procedures. These installation objects apply to Ulman personally, both as a woman and as an artist who may or may not have had plastic surgery. Yet Ulman’s interest in body modification follows months of surgery after a life-changing car crash; “I’m standing on two very modified legs, and it’s fucked up... surgery is tough.” Though the delicacy of flesh becomes a personal narrative that orbits the symbology of the entire installation, Ulman is quick to tell me she isn’t squeamish, having grown up in a tattoo parlor where books on scarification were readily available reading material.

    The space is like walking into a clinical waiting room, where surgery or awkward sexual health advice might be offered, punctuated by the familiar sensory aesthetics we generally associate with health care—that banal, universal graphic treatment that typifies any health-related visual material, severe lighting, and even uncomfortable chairs. The other side of the space resonates with Ulman’s previous artistic investigations, where “prettiness” remains a key aesthetic cursor, but the commentary cuts deeper. We’re guided by tiny candles, a constellation of handmade objects, embroidered pillows with religious iconography, and soft, billowing curtains that cultivate a spatial sense of serenity. “This show actually looks a lot like my first ever show in London, which wasn’t documented, and it was back when I was in my sophomore year at Central Saint Martins. I found myself going back to the the same stores to buy the same things, even the glue. It feels good to do have done this properly,” says Ulman.

    It’s at the altar where the heart-shaped framed photographs of Marijn E. Dekkers shatters any zen vibe or meditative moment. He is the CEO of Bayer (a German pharmaceutical company who manufacture Yaz, Yasmin, and Minera—all names of prescribed birth control medication) that becomes the political punchline, all dressed up. “When I came across his image in my research, I thought he was perfect—he has all the visual tropes of a callous, evil CEO figure,” Ulman declared. Her soft-toned sensibility manages a firm grip on slippery themes like social deception and consumerism in relation to the female body.

    Talking to Amalia about flesh, femininity, and near-death experiences made me realize how far removed my conception of her as a lived body was, as I’ve only ever encountered her performing her femininity in appearance and gesture through a steady leak of sourced images and transformative selfies that she routinely posts on various social networks. Her immersive installat

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    This season, platforms are making a leap across gender lines. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because platforms for men date back as far as Ancient Greece and have historically been regarded as a symbol of status and masculinity. Somewhere along the way, however, society stopped viewing shoes with added height as a “guy thing” and reserved them only for the ladies. (Oh, you haven’t heard? All clothing has to have an assigned gender or society just falls apart.) That’s all changing, however, with brand after brand opting for thick soles, regardless of demographic. Even with the trend gaining some serious momentum, some guys are still hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. If you’re still yet to fall in love with man-platforms, fear not. We’ve got a list of three simple reasons why platforms will change your life for the better.

    1. You’ll Be Taller.
    Remember Napoleon? The guy who really messed up Europe during the French Revolution by riding around and taking everything over? Some say his motivation behind it all was to make up for the fact that he was short. If Napoleon would have just taken a chill pill and thrown on, say, some HBA Centaur Boots, maybe Europe would have been a much more peaceful place. Think about it.

    2. You’ll Be Darker.
    Who is he? What is his deal? Where did he get his amazing shoes? With a long history of rock stars ranging from David Bowie to Marilyn Manson all embracing the look at one point or another, platforms for dudes contain an air of mystery and edge. With just a change in footwear, you can go from Average Joe to broody, mysterious rock star without ever having to pick up a guitar or sleep in a sweaty van for months on end.

    3. You’ll Be More Handsome.
    A well-dressed man is a handsome man. That’s basic science. A well-dressed man is also a man that can keep up with trends and be ahead of the curve. Say everyone that reads this goes out and buys all the platforms they can get their hands on. That’s still a very specific subset of society, tiny in the grand scheme of the entire population. Get a pair before they blow up and impress everyone with how much you “get it.”

    With brands like Hood By Air, EYTYS, Raf Simons x Adidas, and our own team here at OC all taking a swing at male platforms, it’s not exactly difficult to make the trend look cool. Ranging from daring to understated, there’s a platform for every situation and there’s a situation for every platform. Put on your pair of choice, stomp around, and know you’re the best-dressed guy in the room. Unless Kanye is there, but honestly, how often does that happen? The Lukas Nubuck Slip-Ons in black.

    The Opening Ceremony MG Outdoor Deerskin Classic Boots in black.
    The Hood By Air Centaur Low-Top Leather Boots in white.
    The

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