The London Olympics 2012 are fast approaching, and whilst many big fashion names have already gotten in on the act (remember the fanfare that accompanied Stella McCartney
’s kit for Team Great Britain?) there’s one label that’s bound to be more excited than most – Opening Ceremony
. This is because the brand’s name and ethos were actually inspired by the Olympic Games, or to be more accurate, the mission statement of the modern athletic event, set out by founder Baron Pierre Coubertin in 1896, when he took the traditional ancient Greek sporting tradition and transformed it into a modern business venture – creatively merging sport, business and global participation.
How Opening Ceremony highlight each store's individuality on their website
When American designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon founded their fashion company (compromising a multi-faceted retail environment of shops, a showroom and its own in-house label) in 2002 after meeting at University in California they took this foundation and applied it to the world of fashion, annually focusing on another country to add to their list of participants (so far these have included Hong Kong, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the US, Japan and Argentina).
Carol Lim and Humberto Leon
Each year the company chooses a visiting country to adopt, designers from the nation are invited into the store to ‘compete’ and the most successful labels win a permanent place in Opening Ceremony so that the brand can represent their unique commercial and cultural character in the retail environment.
And Lim and Leon practise what they preach, with the latter stating ‘When we travel, we get so into the look of a city’s people that we adapt ourselves to the environment.’ Whether they’ll have any time to do this in the English capital, where a new Opening Ceremony store will be unveiled later this month is anyone’s guess – as well as celebrating the brand’s tenth anniversary, overseeing the current individual stores in Tokyo, L.A and New York, and designing the collections for the Opening Ceremony label, Lim and Leon have also served as creative directors at Japanese-Parisian label Kenzo
for the past year - to much critical acclaim.
Shoes from Opening Ceremony's S/S 12 collection
Aside from the day jobs, there’s also Olympic themed fun to be had – and Opening Ceremony are celebrating the games that inspired the company by releasing a collection of unique pieces by Proenza Schouler, Pamela Love
and Chloe Sevigny
, as well as a sportswear line with London’s Topshop and a collection with Adidas.
The Ryan McGinley for the New York Times Magazine shots of the 2004 Olympic swim team that Opening Ceremony have pulled from the archives to celebrate London 2012
Lim and Leon have certainly succeeded in bringing an Olympian spirit to fashion – and not just for the Summer of 2012, but if they were competing what even would they choose to participate in? Lim chooses swimming whilst Leon suggests he’d like to have a go at mud-wrestling. Not in pieces from their own collection we hope, Olympic in spirit they may be, but Opening Ceremony’s collections are far too special for chlorine and dirt….