While in New York the number one store on my must-visit agenda was Opening Ceremony. I've long been an admirer of the stores philosophy to promote emerging American talent, the collaborations it does with American brands such as Pendletons as well as Robert Clergerie for shoes and even Hakaan for one dress. I especially like the way it offers a creative retail platform to designer/retailers from key global fashion cities. Chloe Sevigny's collection is gorgeous too. Humberto Leon the owner/co-founder plays an active part in the NYC fashion scene and is someone I have a lot of time and respect for.
Here's the BUT, though. (You knew that was coming, didn't you?) For all my enjoyment of its website - window shopping, reading the blog, the great Fashion's Night Out video interview with Anna Wintour - when I actually got to the shop itself, the experience was a huge disappointment.
Without meaning to sound like a princess, I expected a lot more from the stock and store environment. It just does not match the reputation. There was also a certain arrogance to the prices. The first price tag I saw upon walking in was a pair of cream silk crochet ankle socks that were more thin air than sock. Imagine large scale fishnet tights to get the picture. They were by Rodarte - American!! so no duty extras - and costs over $400.
ARE THEY JOKING??? I've interviewed the Rodarte girls and know why their work is special (though who would pay $400 + bucks for socks from them?). But most people - like those I was with in New York - took one look at the socks draped over a bar, saw the price tag, laughed and promptly left the shop to sit outside, leaving me agitated.
When you make grand claims about your fashion philosophy online, and have a stellar media reputation it really matters that your bricks and mortar shop rewards those who have made the effort to get there.
Hakaan collaboration with Opening Ceremony
1. The connoisseur knowledge the business claims to have is not evident in the shop in the way it is online. The space is not curated, the rails are as packed as a thrift store that does not know how to merchandise. How am I supposed to know where things are, and why they are special if they are crammed on a rail?
2. If you are going to charge those premium prices, give me the background to the pieces. Give me the story. Give me the staff who are not just standing there posing.
3. Think Dover Street Market, not flea market.
I still love you though. And these.
Pendleton's meets Opening Ceremony.