IN THE BAG: Miranda July has a knack for turning the mundane into art. On Thursday, she recruited artist Catherine Opie, actress Molly Ringwald and musician J.D. Samson to collaborate on an installation at Opening Ceremony’s Los Angeles store, where she introduced her new purse designed with Welcome Companions. Emptying the contents of their bags — a green backpack for Opie, pink tote for Samson and cream clutch for Ringwald — they each allowed for a portrait of themselves through their belongings. It was a concept familiar to Opie, who had taken photos of Elizabeth Taylor’s home in the months leading to and following the actress’ death in 2011 for an exhibition, called “700 Nimes Road,” that she plans to stage next fall at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Other guests, including Welcome Companions designer Laurel Broughton and July’s husband Mike Mills, could have the stash of their pockets and purses sketched in charcoal by artist Alice Leggett at the party.
For July, the artistic angle helped ease her conscience.
“I was a little embarrassed about having a namesake bag. I have to find a way to make it my own,” July said. “Instead of a lipstick holder, there’s a holder for a security blanket, which I really have.”
In addition to the miniature yellow blanket, each of the 10 bags in the limited edition is packed with one almond and a $20 bill that brings the price down to $1,480. July’s other projects include the premiere of a new performance called “New Society” at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis later this month and her debut novel, titled “The First Bad Man,” out in January. Of her wardrobe in “New Society,” she revealed, “I end up with half the shirt I started with.”
Ringwald, who is about to kick off a two-week residency singing jazz tunes at the Carlyle in New York, is actually in the market for a new bag. “Everything in this store, I find beautiful,” she said, before realizing the damage she could impose on her bank account. “This is a dangerous place.”