In the nearly 10 years since Opening Ceremony opened on Howard Street in New York, its country-centric retail concept has fueled collaborations with Sweden, Japan and France, among other global locales. But Hong Kong is where it all began. It was a shopping-filled vacation there that inspired co-founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim to open that first store, which makes their latest project, a monthlong retail concept with Hong Kong-based Lane Crawford, a homecoming of sorts.
This story first appeared in the March 25, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For four weeks, Opening Ceremony will make a “conceptual retail extension” out of Lane Crawford’s Hong Kong IFC mall unit and Beijing store, starting on April 14 and 16, respectively, which will be subject to Leon and Lim’s eclectic sales floor stylings. “We wanted to touch on the different parts of the world that have played a big part in Opening Ceremony,” said Leon, who noted that Lane Crawford approached them a year-and-a-half ago about the project, which is Opening Ceremony’s biggest one yet with another retailer.
“It was a partnership and collaboration from the very start,” noted Joanna Gunn, Lane Crawford’s vice president, creative, marketing and communications. “Lane Crawford worked with the Opening Ceremony team to make sure every detail was a statement. We wanted to bring the DNA and uniqueness of Opening Ceremony to our customers, but not in typical Opening Ceremony format.”
Within the 82,000-square-foot Hong Kong mall store, Opening Ceremony’s stamp will be evident throughout: In Crawford’s women’s Atrium section, there will be a New York street scene and a Moroccan theme in homage to OC’s current French fixation. The accessories section will be set up like a Broadway stage, including an ode to the Rockettes’ famous legs, and the women’s Designer Lab will be temporarily transformed into a Chloë Sevigny and Rodarte for OC display. Opening Ceremony’s West Coast contingent will be represented in the men’s store, where a replica of the Hollywood sign will be installed. As for the merchandise, men’s and women’s Opening Ceremony x Lane Crawford capsule collections are planned, as well as special three-way collaboration pieces that include an Alexander Wang striped T-shirt, dresses by Carven, Band of Outsiders ties and Suno and Pamela Love skull necklaces in three colors. Similar plans are slated for Lane Crawford’s Beijing store.
Asia is a growing market for Opening Ceremony. In addition to its New York and Los Angeles boutiques, the company opened an eight-floor department store in Tokyo in 2009. While he currently doesn’t have plans to open an Opening Ceremony in China, Leon said he can track increasing consumer interest there and in Hong Kong from the retailer’s Web site, as well as in stores, where, he said, “We have a pretty good following of people who come straight to us — it’s their first stop in New York.”