Possible conversations when your best friend is Spike Jonze: “He said, ‘I want to do a fashion show for Opening Ceremony.’ And I said, ‘Great. What would you want to do?’ And he said, ‘A one-act play.’ And I said, ‘I love that idea,’” said Humberto Leon, recalling the genesis of the OC spring show. “And it was like, ‘Where would you do it?’ ‘The Metropolitan Opera House.’ ”
He and Jonze delivered: 100% Lost Cotton, cowritten by Jonze and Jonah Hill, was staged at the Met on Sept. 7, three days before opera season began.
The venue was essential. “It was the unspoken character,” said Leon, who positioned the audience on the stage, overlooking the red velvet chairs. “I would say that 90 percent of those people will probably never be able to do that again—I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do it again.”
To make it happen, Leon and his partner, Carol Lim, had to juggle the fashion-week schedule with the Met’s rehearsal schedule and the schedules of the cast, which included legitimate, lauded working actors: Catherine Keener, John Cameron Mitchell, Elle Fanning and Bobby Cannavale. They had 24 hours to load the lighting in and out.
“We have really dependable people who do a lot of different things,” said Leon, who used his in-house team of assistants and special-project managers. “Carol and I have always worked [with] logic as our guiding force. If you think anything through logically, it can happen.”